Ethanol Woes (Post #356) 6/20/2013

I was visiting the forums and a discussion about Miles Per Gallon came up.

If you follow my Twitter account you’ve seen me rail against ethanol. My main gripe is not alcohol damaging my engine. It is using food for fuel. The cost of food in America is going up. I believe some of that is due to the ethanol mandate. There are starving people in China India Africa America. (did your mom say that to you too?)

Beef prices are up, the price of corn used in cattle feed is to blame. Here in the Great State of Oklahoma we are told “switchgrass” is a good source of ethanol. Lots of research is going into that. I propose this, if switchgrass is a viable alternative would farmers plant that instead of food crops? Wouldn’t that raise the price of food too? I’ve never heard an argument for “alternative fuels” made from FOOD that makes any sense when you consider the costs of food too.

Grass Makes Better Ethanol than Corn Does
This means that switchgrass ethanol delivers 540 percent of the energy used to produce it, compared with just roughly 25 percent more energy returned by corn-based ethanol according to the most optimistic studies.

In short…for one gallon of fuel we get 1.25 gallons of corn ethanol or for one gallon of fuel we get 5.40 gallons of switchgrass ethanol. Does anyone else see a problem here?

We don’t eat any food that is made from OIL or NATURAL GAS. I say just keep making gas out of fossil fuels like oil and natural gas. If the government MUST mandate something make it tax subsidized LPG conversions and diesel conversions and call it good.

I don’t use ethanol any longer. In my tests the added cost of petrol is off-set by the added fuel mileage.
I wrote a spreadsheet that did my calculations.

I ran several tanks of petrol and ethanol. I took the values and compared them. The savings maybe small in some cases, but at least I’m not burning fuel that should have been food or whiskey.

Looking at the problems you will have with ethanol you may want to consider dropping it. I get frequent Code 43 and 44’s when running ethanol. When I switch back to petrol the codes cease. I’m not sure what else ethanol does to our motors. I’ve heard horror stories from my Jaguar friends and other ethanol haters. We may be damaging our engines, then again, maybe we aren’t, I don’t have any hard evidence.

I’ll get off my soapbox now. I encourage you to test a few tanks too. See if my hypothesis holds up.

Thanks for reading, Happy Rovering.