Drought, Corn and 13% Ethanol

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Fuel Economy' started by willrob, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. Jon Hagen

    Jon Hagen Active Member

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    I have 3 years and 29,000 miles on my 2010 Prius running nothing but E10. No problem at all starting / running the car in temps as low as -30F. Change oil at 10,000 miles where it still looks almost new (finally just dark enough so I can more easily see it on the dipstick). The oil level never moves off full between 10,000 mile oil changes.
    My state does not have an ethanol mandate, so E0-E10-E30-E85 is avalible at all stations with blender pumps, and E10 is avalible at most stations.

    I did careful testing when the car was new, I ran three tanks of the local blender pump 87 octane gasoline and 3 tanks of 90 octane E10. Driving the same area in the same weather conditions, the 90 octane E10 consistantly produced 2 mpg better than 87 octane regular gasoline. Since that time, I fill E10 from that stations blender pumps whenever possible.
    The prius Atkinson cycle engine is able to adjust both cylinder pressure and ignition timing to take advantage of higher octane fuel to get maximum fuel efficiency from it, It appears that the higher octane fuel add enough conversion efficiency to more than compensate for the 3% lower BTU content of E10

    I suspect my good results using E10 are partially the fact that good quality 87 octane gasoline and the several Ethanol blends are dispensed from the same blender pumo.
    This pump is connected to two fuel storage tanks, one full of good quality 87 octane gasoline and another tank filled with E85. (85% ethanol / 15% gasoline) The pump mixes these two fuels to make the blend of your choice, but always starts with a good quality gasoline.
    I have read that fuel blenders in states that mandate Ethanol in all gasoline, often cut their costs bu starting with a really poor grade of 85 or lower octane gasoline, and add Ethanol until it reaches the minimum 87 octane standard. This poor quality base gasoline often has less energy content than better quality fuel, and often add more than 10% Ethanol to compensate for the low octane gasoline, which results in poorer fuel economy.

    Considering the results I have had using blends from E10 to E30, would not expect any problems using E13 or E15 in a Prius.
     
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  2. Jon Hagen

    Jon Hagen Active Member

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    Your drinking that anti ethanol coolaid.
    USDA study shows Ethanol energy balance is quite positive, It does not take more fossil fuel BTU's to produce it than you get from the Ethanol.

    For the first time in a generations, farmers no longer need a subsidy to grow corn at a profit. The Ethanol market demand has driven the price of corn high enough so farmers can grow corn at a profit and no konger need a subsidy.
    Formerly when corn was in huge surplus and used mainly to feed livestock, it had to have a near 50%
    Government / taxpayer subsidy to keep corn farmers in business. Corn that cost $3.75 /Bu to grow, was sold to livestock producers for $1.70 bu before E fuel.

    Do you suppose the higher food prices have more than a little to do with the more than $1 per gallon increase in the cost of the diesel fuel used to grow, harvest, transport, process the corn and everything else that you find in the grocery store ?? In nearly every case, the cost of the raw food product is less than 10% of the cost of the finished product. Packaging processing and transport make up a much higher % of the cost.
     
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  3. Corwyn

    Corwyn Energy Curmudgeon

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    What number are you seeing for 'quite positive'?

    Farmers never needed a subsidy to make a profit. They needed a subsidy only when the retail price of their crop was set, by others, too low. A government that encourages a low price for corn is forced to subsidize farmers so they can afford to grow corn at that price. Remove the subsidy and price fix, the price of corn goes up until a new balance is achieved. People pay more for food, less for taxes (in theory).
     
  4. markabele

    markabele owner of PiP, then Leaf, then Model 3

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    3 tanks is no where near enough samples to draw any conclusions from, especially when the car is new and you are learning how to drive it efficiently. IMO you would need 10+ tanks over virtually the same route to have any statistical relevance. Add in the fact this is the exact opposite result that virtually everyone else gets.
     
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  5. Corwyn

    Corwyn Energy Curmudgeon

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    I don't know anyone comparing 87 Octane E0 with 90 Octane E10. Most seem to comparing 87 E0 with 87 E10. I agree that the error bars are still a bit large at only 3 tanks. Many of the aforementioned people are only doing 1 tank comparisons.
     
  6. szgabor

    szgabor Active Member

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    So you are saying vegetable oil which in quite some proportion IS COMING from corn ... but also for those who believe that food prices are growing because of ethanol used as fuel, the same argument will be made.

    The food prices are MORE effected by crude prices in general then the 10% of ethanol ...

    The most important issue with ethanol is that it is RENEWABLE source of fuel which is of course NOT true for any fuel derived from crude (coming from al-qaide land also know saudi arabia or comminst chavez land or the ever freindly canuks).
     
  7. markabele

    markabele owner of PiP, then Leaf, then Model 3

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    Just keep in mind that a pretty big percentage of ethanol is made from crude in a round-a-bout way.
     
  8. szgabor

    szgabor Active Member

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    Of course, but if you use 100% ethanol as fuel you can remade it using by capturing sun's energy .... and when "cellositic" ethanol become more common you would need less and less fertilizer which mostly come from crude right now.

    Ideally, on the longer term combustion engines could be replaced and then the issue goes away ....
     
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  9. subjective

    subjective Member

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    It has been reported, and must be true, that Willie Nelson has been using biodiesel to run his bus for years. If you could just combine his common horse sense with the genius of young MIT researcher/engineers, without politics being involved, practical solutions could be found. Innovators, not politicians, are the ones that give us a better life.
     
  10. Corwyn

    Corwyn Energy Curmudgeon

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    Biodiesel production is about 77 gallons per acre.
    US consumption of oil is 20 Million Barrels per day.
    US arable land area = 382 Million acres.

    (20,ooo,ooo * 42 gallons/barrel * 365 days /year) / 77 gallons/acre = 3.98 Billion Acres.

    Therefore, to replace dino-diesel with bio-diesel, the US would need more than 10 TIMES more arable land than it currently possesses. Note: the US total land area is only 5 times that.

    Ethanol might be able to do it with merely twice the available arable land.
     
  11. Jon Hagen

    Jon Hagen Active Member

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    Not everyone gets opposite results with Ethanol MPG. NDSU did a joint study with a Minnesota university to compare fuel economy of E blends VS gasoline. Some cars got the expected MPG drop , right in line with the 3% lower BTU content of E10, others with different engine configurations saw as much as a 7% MPG increase with Ethanol blended fuel. Some made their best MPG with stronger E blends, with E15-E20 showing the most gain.

    My Prius fuel mpg tests did not stop with those first 6 tanks of E10 and regular.
    I use the trip meters as a running tally of fuel economy, trip A is reset every tank, trip B is reset once per year at the 10,000 mile oil change. On occasion I cant find my favorite blender pump brand when on the road(Cenex for you from the midwest) I will fill with non ethanol regular 87 octane when Cenex E10 is not avalible. It is pretty consistant to see that 2 MPG drop when the 90 octane E10 is not avalible.

    What puzzles me is that more than octane level must be involved. I have run a few tanks of 91 octane ethanol free premium gasoline and find the same MPG drop I get with 87 octane gasoline. The Cenex blender pump E10 consistantly gives me best MPG ??

    Check out this video. It kind of blows away the Ethanol will ruin your engine "facts"

    Notice especially the condition of the fuel pump and the in tank fuel line, the one hose that is most exposed to ethanol It is constantly in contact with 85% ethanol both inside and out. It appears to be in better condition than one run in so called pure gasoline.
     
  12. WE0H

    WE0H Senior Member

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    I kind of wonder if 90 octane isn't E30 which could be 84.5 octane blended with E100 to get the octane number of 90. That might makes sense why Jon is getting higher mpg's running that 90 octane gas which could be really E30. E30 will give higher mpg's in certain motors, not all motors, but some. I have run blends in all kinds of vehicles and still do to this day. I filled my wife's ZX2 with a E48 blend today. That is 96 octane. The ScanGauge long term fuel trims will show what the car's computer is adjusting for when running E blends. I don't recall what a 3rd Gen does running E30, it's been a while since I ran tests :)

    Mike
     
  13. dbcassidy

    dbcassidy Toyota Hybrid Nation, 8 Million Strong

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    Video is bogus to say the least. Nothing is mentioned about the injectors or throttle bodies subjected to ethanol added to gasoline. The valve is very interesting - heavy rust, and this came out of a running engine! The rust is from moisture trapped in the ethanol ladened gasoline. Ethanol is a "magnet" for water, always has been, always will be.
    If humidity is not controlled, yep, it gets "grabbed" by the ethanol, and where does it go - right into your engine.
    I shop at my local TSC, buying Seafoam to use in me various engines, but I have a hard time getting the gallon size container. I asked the sales person why not get more gallon containers of Seafoam?
    He told me TSC is getting more shipments in, but they all get grabbed up by, are you ready for this? Farmers, thats' right, they are using the Seafoam for their use on the farm - helps the equipment start better, run smoother, and eliminates varnish buildup in the fuel systems. I was doubtful on this statement, so I asked a couple of folks shopping in the store if they use Seafoam - they swear by it, and wouldn't be caught with a balky engine, especially at planting and harvesting time. Both told me, when its' time for the crops, you can't afford to have equipment down, time is money!
    The last question I asked them was about ethanol - neither one had a kind word to say about it, especially when used in their equipment.
    Seems like the ethanol story reminds me of the old saying: you reap what you sow!

    DBCassidy
     
  14. dbcassidy

    dbcassidy Toyota Hybrid Nation, 8 Million Strong

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    If biodiesel is such a hot commodity, why are not ALL diesel stations carrying at least B10?

    DBCassidy
     
  15. dbcassidy

    dbcassidy Toyota Hybrid Nation, 8 Million Strong

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    You are missing a very important and obivous point: supply and demand. 40% of corn crops go the ethanol production, but only 36% goes to livestock feed. The drought is having a major impact on corn. Yields will be lower, so less product to market = higher food prices. If that 40% ofcorn went to livestock feed and for human comsumption, perhaps shyrocketing food prices wouldn't be skyrocketing. But, remember, there is still the federal mandate forcing gasoline producers to use ethanol in their product! So, the situation seems to be cleaning burning gasoline engines at the expense of feeding the hungry in America!

    DBCassidy
     
  16. szgabor

    szgabor Active Member

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    What moister buildup are you talking about!!! Yes if you store the car for eeveral months sure that is an issue. Then you may need to treat the fuel but most modern car has pretty much sealed tank. I fill up my car every 2 weeks or so. Do you know how much dehydrogen-oxied is produced by burning the gasoline ?? That harmful stuff eating your engine ???

    Seafoam and basically all of these fuel additives are myths and do nothing to your engine if you are lucky but they can do harm if you are not... Just tell me what magical stuff can do all what this seafoam company claims ... this seem to do wonder to all kinds of engine ... this is a modern snake oil ... There is no independent testing of any kind on their website wonder why ...
     
  17. szgabor

    szgabor Active Member

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    But USA usually have surplus to even export so please no need to panic. And again the food prices are NOT rising because of ethanol production. Also maybe it become more economical to allow sugar import and NOT using the fricking HFCS in every processed food. Sugar is bad enough but HFCS is a lot worse..
     
  18. Jon Hagen

    Jon Hagen Active Member

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    LOL, never seen the inside of a gas engine before ? That brown color is also on the exhaust valves of every engine that has NEVER run ethanol, it's a normal product of combustion, not rust.

    Ethanol will absorb water when subjected to it, but it certainly does not attract it.

    So You think seafoam is great stuff ? Good, so do I. If you google the MSDS for seafoam, you will see the ingrediants are light oil and alcohol .:)

    Have used Ethanol blends for 30 years and have yet to have a problem. As with the alcohol in seafoam, Alcohol in Ethanol / gasoline blends, clean the fuel system of sludge , gum , water.
     
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  19. WE0H

    WE0H Senior Member

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    Open up a can of Seafoam and take a wiff. I bet that stuff is 200 proof. The farmers and most other people know that alcohol cleans a fuel system and that is why Seafoam is made from alcohol. It is a very good fuel system cleaner. It also cleans up a old motor of oil sludge in the crankcase. Follow the can's directions and it is a very valuable product. I run the recommended 2 ounces to a gallon of premix in my chainsaw every winter. In 5 years of use I have never had carb diaphragm issues and I do not drain the gas out of it while it sits all summer in storage.

    Ethanol haters post non-sense as they have zero experience with running Ethanol fuels. Do some research and hands on testing then come back here and tell us your stories :)

    Mike
     
  20. dbcassidy

    dbcassidy Toyota Hybrid Nation, 8 Million Strong

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    That brown color is rust, plain and simple. Rebuilding of engines is what I do. I do get a lot of work fixing engines due to ethanol problems. Absorption / attraction of water is the same thing. Valve faces. stems are usuallt light grey to black in color, some with carbon build up. The brown is rust formation due to moisture in the fuel.

    What you are trying to promote is nothing but proproganda.

    DBCassidy
     
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