View Full Version : Alternate Fuel

Bo Dillingham
05-19-02, 05:46 PM
Attached is a copy of a letter that I e-mailed to every news station in Minneapolis, with no results. Perhaps someone inour group could enlighten me (and the rest of us) regarding this subject.

I did a search in CAC for E85 topics and found two; One was mine from a way back, and the other was in an article about building a race car and the sentance regarded having E85 fule available... "Whatever that is...".

This is the kind of stuff we should know about. If we properly retrofit an older car, I believe we could run high compression ratios as an everyday thing.

By the way, I already know the answers to SOME of the questions here, but not all...


Wednesday, April 10, 2002

To whom it may concern,

Do you know what E85 is? If you do, you are among the few who are even aware of this product, and it is supposed to represent one of our promising hopes for oil independence.

E85 is 85% alcohol and 15% gasoline, and it is available in gas stations all over the country, including Minnesota. Major automobile manufacturers have been building cars and trucks that will run on this fuel for years. I believe the alcohol is made primarily from corn, a renewable resource.

Now that news stations are posting the prices of gasoline on a daily basis, I wonder if your audience wouldn't be interested in the prices and some facts regarding E85. If you introduced your viewers to a fact, an/or a pro or a con regarding E85 each day along with the price, I bet that you would get a significant response and perhaps a ratings bump.

Here are a few things about E85 that would attract my attention when watching the news;

1) Since E85 and gasoline have different mileage ratings as well as different prices, what would the comparison be for miles per dollar?

2) Can an FFV (Flexible Fuel Vehicle) run on either E85 or gasoline from one day to the next, or does it have to be set up for one or the other only?

3) E85 acts like a VERY HIGH octane gasoline, so a more powerful engine set up could be used (Like a "souped up" version of your present engine, with a higher compression ratio). If E85 became very popular, would it allow for production of smaller engines with the same power due to the higher octane rating?

4) What kinds of cars and trucks are made at this time to use E85? What about the next few years?

5) What are the real truths about the pollution comparisons? For instance, corn requires fuel to plant, harvest, and distill it, and it may need chemical fertilizers. How does this compare to the production of Gasoline?

6) When I read a statistic from the corn people, they say that we are only getting about 10% of our oil from the Mid-East, and E85 could get us our independence. The oil people say it is 25%, and that E85 won't have much impact. Who's right? Or, what are the correct numbers?

7) Is there any record on the long term effects of E85 on the life of a vehicle?

8) I believe that Ethanol in various forms has been used successfully for many years in other countries, like South America. Is this true? Can we learn anything from them?

9) I think that sugar cane can also be used for the alcohol source. If that is true, perhaps one could also use sugar beets? or other such vegetation?

At any rate, I sincerely hope that you give this matter some consideration. I also hope that you take this to the airwaves and it increases your market share. I imagine that you would get a lot of input from your audience as to the pro's and con's, and proper or improper information. I'll watch for it.

Thank you for your time and interest,

Bo Dillingham

05-19-02, 11:28 PM
What answers do you know? I'm interested.

05-20-02, 07:25 AM








05-20-02, 02:54 PM
From the Owner's Manual of my (E85-capable) 2002 Dodge Caravan on peculiarities of E85 fuel:

1. E85 is not suitable for use in ambient temperatures below 0 degrees F.

2. In temperatures between 0 and 32 degrees F, you will experience longer-than-normal cranking when starting the engine, and poor driveability (sags/hesitations) until the engine is fully warmed-up.

3. Your fuel consumption will increase by at least 30%, and your vehicle's cruising range will decrease as a result, as E85 contains less heat energy than an equivalent amount of gasoline.

The high (85%) concentration of ethanol also attracts moisture (water and condensate), which is why it's not suitable for below-zero use - the moisture in it can freeze, which will damage fuel system components. Use of E85 in vehicles not specifically designed for it will result in damage to fuel system components, seals, and gaskets (E85-capable vehicle fuel system components are unique corrosion-resistant parts).

The corn lobby loves it.

Bo Dillingham
05-20-02, 09:31 PM
Silver, and anyone else who may be watching this topic,

I have looked at many E85 sites on the internet, icluding most of the ones posted by "Grumpyvet", and am not done yet. I have also posted questions on some other sites, but have recieved no response until I contacted all of you at CAC.

What I am hoping for is more responses like these from concerned but objective people like you who have helped me with my Corvette questions. When I put together some meaningful information, I will post it for all.

In the meantime, Silver, I know that E85 can be made from more than corn, and I know that the vehicles on the market now are designed so that either fuel can be used. The list of vehicles that are designed this way is available on the internet, and I already knew the ethanol was used in South America.

I asked questions in that letter to the news media based on what I thought the public might ask; not just things that I didn't know.

05-21-02, 06:39 AM
while you may have the correct idea you don,t have all the info, http://www.bgsu.edu/departments/envh/Oxygenates/
short version for those of you that refuse to read, alcohol has a much higher octane rateing but a lower btu level that means it will produce more power than gas but it requires quite a bit more fuel volume per cylinder full of fuel air mix or mile traveled, or put another way you can have your 500 plus hp and your clean air but your going to get lousy mileage and might have corrosion problems because alcohol is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from the air)

05-21-02, 06:24 PM
I haven't read any of the above EtOH/E85 links ... or anything else about the subject in a few years. I seem to recall that Brazil developed a widely-implemented EtOH program a number of years ago... and that it fell on its arse soon after implementation when oil prices nose-dived ... and that Brazil's EtOH program soon became all but history. Things change ... maybe such a program has since been re-implemented? Also, I recall that Grumpy's "short version" is 100% correct. Again, my thoughts on this are from recollection only ... I may very well have it all wrong ... don't hesitate to look into it and correct /update me.

05-24-02, 10:24 AM
This debate has been swimming around political arenas for years. Whether this is a viable source for alternative fuels is questionable because of the already mentioned higher fuel consumption. I remember reading a Hot Rod article on a guy who is developing enchanced fuel atomization capabilities. I'll try to find the article, but from what I hear, the government turned him down for research money. So much for the concern of our dependancy on oil. :(


06-01-02, 12:01 AM
I read an article last week that covered the production of this fuel. Seems like the EPA is concerned that the actual process of manufacturing causes more harmful emissions that thought previously. They're calling for more emissions screening and upgrades to bring the plants up to code. Also, the replacement for MTBE is coming from some form of ethanol. Forgot the name, but it looks like this is where it's all headed.

I for one, am completely appalled that it took the EPA so long to officially declare MTBE a carcinogen. How many Americans have been put at risk, while most science agreed that MTBE was doing drastic harm to humans and poisioning our water supply? If cancer wasn't horrible enough, we had to be subjected to potential hazards by careless research. For shame! :(