E85 energy loss

Messages
21
Location
Minnesota
Living in Minnesota, where E10 is mandatory, I find it interesting how the topic of E85 "flex fuel" engines are heavily advertised. Lots of E85 fuel stations up here. But, what is never mentioned is the drop of 21-24% in your fuel miliage when you use E85 due to loss of BTU's compared to E10 or pure 100% gasoline. Sure, less oil is purchased from OPEC, which is good; however the cost of E85 is within a couple pennies per gallon. But until the cost of E85 reflects the loss of energy, it's overpriced. Although it does save petroleum imports in a very minor way, it must be more heavily subsitized somehow. I know of nobody up here who uses it after trying a couple tankfuls, and watching how fast the fuel needle drops. Just a few thoughts I thought I'd pass on to those who think E85 is a wonderful alternative. Comments? Flames?
 
Messages
2,837
Location
MO
Comment? Sure!!!!!!! Maybe we'll have gas readily available for quite awhile. And, at a price we can either afford or at least put up with. But.... maybe the cost of gas or E10 will rise like the mushroom cloud of a megaton yield thermonuclar detonation....upwards...through the statosphere and all those other speres up there. Then, maybe E85 will be cost effective. Another possibility is a dwindling of the gass supply. Wouldn't the E85-capable owners laugh, giddy with glee, as they drove right up to the pump while those lowly commoners with their non-E85 machines sat in lines stretching down the street, around the corner, backed up for blocks, taking hours to reach the pump only to find that some governmental authority has imposed a 10 gallon limit on individual gas sales. Those with the E-85 machines will be the king of the hill (some may want to be queen of the hill) should the worst-case scenario occur. Heckaroni...even if the worst doesn't happen the E-85 machines can still burn the non-E-85 stuff. I am unsure of the extra expense of buying an E-85 machine but it may be a wise investment, even if just for peace of mind if the worst comes about. However..... has the technology been perfected, especially for the long-term? Will the E-85 machine last just as long as the non-E-85 with no extra or specialized problems due to running E-85 all or part or none of the time? I would want to know the long-term results of current technology before buying. Okay, that's my opinion with questions added. Did I win sumpthin'?
 
Messages
1,967
Location
Kitsap, WA
It's all about subsidies, politics, and tax breaks for fleet vehicles. Left to stand alone with no taxpayer help, e85 wouldn't make sense. It takes more energy to produce than it gives back so it's not as enviro friendly as they make it out to be. Why not E-100? if it's so great?
 
Messages
303
Location
Rochester, MN
Here in SE Minnesota, the price difference is usually $.30 and lately it's been at $.40 less for E85. According to our mechanics (I work for the state and all new vehicles are E85 when available) the break-even point is about $.28 per gallon. Not sure where you are Collie, but it sounds like either there isn't much market, the transportation cost is too much, or the gas stations are taking advantage of people. As long as the subsidies keep the cost of use in the black... or the market changes to make E85 more advantageous, I wouldn't mind using it for no other reason than to buy less oil from the middle east.
 
Messages
755
Location
Oshkosh, WI
The Ford and Chrysler FFVs tend to stay pretty close to their MPG ratings for gasoline. On a 3.3L '00 Caravan, less than 2-3 MPG less was noted, and a '04 Taurus actually picked up 0.5 MPG on one tank of E85! It was a fluke, as typically this car dropped about the same 2-3 MPG or less in mixed driving. Here, E85 is $1.999 per gallon, compared to the cheapest unleaded (E10) at $2.899 a/o the time of this post. The cost per mile on E85 is significantly lower than the national average using these real-world numbers for my area. Even a '02 Tahoe that takes a big nosedive in MPG running on E85 is still cheaper to run on it than gasoline just due to the huge difference in cost. The Tahoe only gets ~12-13 on E85, but 16-17 on gas.
 
Messages
2,364
Location
sebring, florida
i dont know where you get youre figures from, according to fueleconomy.gov : 02 tahoe 11mpg on e85 16mpg on gas. 00 caravan 15mpg on e85 21mpg on gas. 04 taurus 17mpg on e85 22mpg on gas. those are all 2wd versions. now if someone could be so kind to crunch the numbers and see how much cheaper e85 would have to be to get the equivalent miles per dollar, i would be gratefull. math isnt my strong point.
 

LC

Messages
536
Location
Wisconsin
300 mile trip in a Tahoe. E85 @11mpg =27.27 gallons @ 1.99 = $54.26 RegUnld @16mpg =18.75 gallons @ $2.90 = $54.37 So for the Tahoe E85 would have to be about .90 cents less to break even. From my own results in a FFV Ford Ranger my mileage went down about 3 mpg. How ever now on the west end of the state of WI. Most stations dropped there E85 pumps. Our prices here this summer for E85 were higher than RegUnleaded. (Due to the increased use of ethanol in reg-unleaded gasoline.) There are one or two more Ethanol plants being built on this end of the state which should be on line in a few months? Which should drop the price. Plus the state is considering a 40 cent gas tax reduction on all bio-fuels. As I have said many times over if the government wants us to use Bio-Fuels than they have got to keep the price down to were the consumer wants to buy it. Most states make more money per gallon by way of fuel tax, than the oil companies. (FYI) when people say that it takes more energy to make ethanol than we get out of it, they need to understand this. Ethanol plants make more than just ethanol for E85. They also make,Indusrtial Alcohol,Organic Alcohols,Distillers dried grains. All bye products of making ethanol. If the so called expert reports included these items it would show a positive gain in making this fuel. But I have yet to see a report were they were included. I don't like goverment subsitize, but the oil companies get millions more than the ethanol makers.
 
Messages
2,158
Location
Cedar Park, TX
please tell me how much diesel it takes to run the tractor to till the soil (once with a plow and once with a disc), then plant the corn. how much diesel for the combind to harvest the corn. how much diesel to transport it to the mill via truck. tractors and combinds are usually measured in gallons per hour. now, where is that vast savings again?
 
Messages
2,837
Location
MO
The Cargill plant that renders corn into multiple products that are shipped out in railroad tank cars did not locate 2 miles from a nuclear power plant for no reason. But, having a fuel supply to fall back upon in case of emergency.... even if it is just to supply farm equipment and food-to-the-consumer transportation, may be a good idea. We may be walking and out of work and huddled in our shantys with a dozen blankets wrapped around us to fend off freezing but as long as the water drips out of the tap and there is food to fend off starvation.... well, things could be worse. You could have a skunk that pops out of your shower drain or some freaky-looking dude stealing your buried boulders.
 
quote:
Originally posted by obbop: ............. even if it is just to supply farm equipment and food-to-the-consumer transportation, may be a good idea.........
If this quote is in reference to ethanol, E85, or gasahol, then it is in error. All the major farm tractors, combines, short haul trucks use, for the most part, diesel for which ethanol would have no use. I am still not convinced that growing our vehicles fuel, instead of our bellies fuel, is the smartest thing to do.
 
Messages
2,837
Location
MO
"Assuming an average efficiency corn farm and an average efficiency ethanol plant, the total energy used in growing the corn and processing it into ethanol and other products is 81,090 BTUs. Ethanol contains 84,100 BTUs per gallon and the replacement energy value for the other co-products is 27,579 BTUs. Thus, the total energy output is 111,679 BTUs and the net energy gain is 30,589 BTUs for an energy output-input ratio of 1.38:1. In best-existing operations, assuming the corn is grown on the most energy efficient farms and the ethanol is produced in the most energy efficient plants, the net energy gain would be almost 58,000 BTUs for a net energy ratio of 2.09:1. Assuming state-of-the-art practices, the net energy ratio could be as much as 2.51:1. Cellulosic crops, based on current data, would have a net energy ratio of 2.62:1." FRICTION!!!!!! Where's the adjustments for friction???!!!!! That pesky friction factor will skew all those facts and figgers' all akilter!!!!!
 

LC

Messages
536
Location
Wisconsin
Tractors,Trucks and Ships are also used to get oil/gasoline out of the ground and to the consumer. I bet those big super tankers burn a lot of low grade diesel per hour coming from the Middle-East. I feel E85 is not the answer to our fuel problems, but it is a stepping stone until other more efficient fuels can be developed.And it is creating jobs right here in the U.S.A. I find it interesting that the environmentalist don’t want Nuclear plants (because of waste) Don’t want wind power (because of killing birds and they look ugly) Don’t want more refineries (because of pollution) Don’t want coal fired power plants(because of pollution)but they all want cheaper gas and electricity. Fuel consumption for farm tractors can be found here: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/PUBS/FARMMGT/05006.html [ August 22, 2006, 12:29 PM: Message edited by: LC ]
 

LC

Messages
536
Location
Wisconsin
Assuming an average efficiency corn farm and an average efficiency ethanol plant, the total energy used in growing the corn and processing it into ethanol and other products is 81,090 BTUs. Ethanol contains 84,100 BTUs per gallon and the replacement energy value for the other co-products is 27,579 BTUs. Thus, the total energy output is 111,679 BTUs and the net energy gain is 30,589 BTUs for an energy output-input ratio of 1.38:1. In best-existing operations, assuming the corn is grown on the most energy efficient farms and the ethanol is produced in the most energy efficient plants, the net energy gain would be almost 58,000 BTUs for a net energy ratio of 2.09:1. Assuming state-of-the-art practices, the net energy ratio could be as much as 2.51:1. Cellulosic crops, based on current data, would have a net energy ratio of 2.62:1. You can view this report here: http://www.carbohydrateeconomy.org/library/admin/uploadedfiles/How_Much_Energy_Does_it_Take_to_Make_a_Gallon_.html
 
Messages
7,775
Location
Oklahoma
Taking all those comments into consideration, this just may be the start in telling OPEC to go $crew themselves. You know it's going to be difficult, no matter how you look at it. Even if we have enough coal for 300 years, you can't put coal into the gas tanks. Everything would have to be electric by then.
 
Messages
1,080
Location
Illinois
quote:
Originally posted by GT Mike: ...Even a '02 Tahoe that takes a big nosedive in MPG running on E85 is still cheaper to run on it than gasoline just due to the huge difference in cost. The Tahoe only gets ~12-13 on E85, but 16-17 on gas.
My neighbor was just telling me tonight about his FFV Suburban on vacation. He left here with a full tank of E85 and only made it to Indy, he said that tank calculated out to 12 mpg. He filled up with gas and on the rest of the trip (4 tanks I think) got 18 mpg. The price difference here isn't that much so for him the E85 just isn't worth it. It would have to be less than 2/3 the cost since he only gets 2/3 the gas mileage. I'm not sure what the price difference here is since I don't go past the one station that carries it. I think he said it's less than 50 cents a gallon cheaper. I asked my dad why he hasn't tried the E85 in his FFV Mariner. It's because the only station near him that has it charges the same price as regular gas!
 
Messages
137
Location
Milwaukee
To add a little twist to this debate: I own two Honda's with iVTEC 4cy's, and have experimented with 40-50% ethanol blends. Basically by doing math to figure out how many gallons of E85 to add to our mandated E10 already in the cars fuel tank, by knowing the amount each tank holds. No Honda is certified to run E85, and I can conform the engine light will come on for a lean condition at around 70% ehtanol content. I also got the lowest MPG numbers (4 mpg lower) during this perdiod, which would make sense. Thats about a 15-20% drop. Could I be doing damage to some componants at 30-50% ehtanol? May be, may be not. All cars are designed for E10, and there's always a safety factor. No doubt I'm skirting the limits. For me, it was a just a summer long experiment. As far as MPG's, both cars saw little effect at 30-50% ehtanol. Little means barely measurable..1-2 mpg's less if I round up. About 6k miles on each car since May, for a total of 12-13k total miles driven during this trail. I love the E85 concept, but I think the other posts here are right on. The price difference must be AT LEAST .60 less with gas @ $3 to break even.
 
quote:
Originally posted by RinconVTR: ....Could I be doing damage to some componants at 30-50% ehtanol? May be, may be not. All cars are designed for E10, and there's always a safety factor. No doubt I'm skirting the limits......
My guess is that you are going to start getting little leaks, and little nitpicky problem problems in your vehicles performance, using that level of ethaanol in a vehicle not designed for it. Good luck.
 
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