[Healeys] oh oh

Bob Spidell bspidell at comcast.net
Wed Aug 8 09:53:55 MDT 2018

I've read reports over the years on this topic and the consensus is that, AT BEST, ethanol in gasoline is a wash; i.e. the resources and energy consumed to grow, harvest, refine, transport and mix ethanol into gasoline is a break even with any 'savings' from using less oil (and probably not even that).  It does serve as an oxygenate in the fuel, hence the leaner burning, whether that is beneficial to the environment is also subject to debate, all things considered.  All studies indicate that other sources of ethanol; sugar cane in Brazil, for instance or, potentially sawgrass in the US, which is not a food source, are much more efficient or practical sources of organic material suitable for distillation. 

>From an American standpoint ethanol is a purely a political endeavor.  Iowa, where much of the corn used for distillation is grown, is the first primary on the American presidential primary calendar.  Therefore, every American presidential candidate--of both major parties--is required to pander relentlessly to Iowa farmers and their overlord, ADM (Archer Daniels Midland Corp., the major processor of corn and ethanol).  Only because it's the first primary and somehow can imbue a candidate with 'momentum'--historically, this isn't even a given, 'winners' of Iowa often fade quickly--and not because Iowa is otherwise particularly significant in the American economy, is Iowa even an issue (some states have or are considering moving their primaries earlier in order to 'compete' with the disproportionate influence of Iowa).

Also, thanks to NAFTA, the corn growers and ADM have put thousands, if not millions, of Mexican sustenance farmers out of business, many of which are now crossing our borders looking for survival.  Having put these farmers out of business, and having received some pushback against 'gasahol,' the growers and ADM must now try again to force their environmentally and ethically challenged product into our cars.


Bob Spidell - San Jose, CA

> On August 8, 2018 at 4:58 AM Mirek Sharp <m.g.sharp at sympatico.ca> wrote:
> I have read a number of articles on the energetics and burning
> characteristics of ethanol and have been frustrated that I cannot find one
> that provides a comprehensive, objective,  science-based analysis of gas
> with and without ethanol added that takes into account ALL of the costs
> (energetic, economic and environmental).  Ethanol evidently does burn
> cleaner, but produces less energy on a per volume basis (the increase in
> fuel consumption with only 10% content is negligible, but 15%??),  But the
> debate is complicated as there are varying reports on the benefits of
> reduced emissions versus the  cost of producing ethanol, including some
> reports that it takes more energy to produce ethanol (including cost to
> transport the corn to the plant and deliver ethanol to the refineries) than
> the refined product actually yields, as well as the costs related to the
> food industry (and ultimately us as consumers).   I can't find the answer in
> the credible published literature - it is inconclusive.
> I made a selfish decision  - I have two cars and several old English bikes
> that abhor ethanol gas (especially the bikes), so I only buy ethanol-free
> gas, and to support the few oil companies that still provide it, I put it in
> my BMW too, even though it does not need it.  It costs a bit more, but is
> worth it.  In Canada, all Shell 91 octane is ethanol-free and I can vouch
> for that in Guelph, Ontario as the pumps where I buy say "contains no
> ethanol" for their "V-Power" (whatever that is).  I believe Ultramar 91 and
> Canadian Tire 91 octane are ethanol-free at least in Ontario.  Check this
> North America-wide site to see where you can get it locally
> https://www.pure-gas.org/index.jsp?stateprov=ON.  BTW, THANK YOU Shell,
> Ultramar and Canadian Tire.
> Mirek
> '59 BT7
> '48 M.G. TC

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