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Pruis and E85 - Page 3

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Posted by Bill on May 25, 2006, 8:50 pm

Normally I don't top post but I didn't want to snip my post (under yours)
and didn't want to post out of sequence.  My apologies to the rest of you.

Prilosec, when I "did the math" I used the USDA figure for ethanol
production from switch grass which, I understand, has a better ethanol yield
than corn.  I live in Minnesota, the nation's leader in E85 distribution.
Three of the four stations in the small town (population 350) near me sell
E85.  Our governor speaks of E85 as the solution to our dependence on
foreign oil.  General Motors current advertising campaign, at least where I
live, speaks to the large percentage of their vehicles that burn E85.

People like you and me, who have done the math, know that E85 isn't the
answer.  In fact, I believe the E85 hype is counterproductive and should be
replaced with hyping conservation.  We know the law of supply and demand
applies because prices do drop with demand during the winter.  We know
supply cannot be increased.  In that equation, the only variable we can
manipulate is demand.  Doing the math (again) my Prius will consume some
$4,000 less gas over 100,00 miles than will my Explorer.  If everyone who
owns an SUV made the switch the price of gasoline would drop dramatically,
as would pollution, and this would buy us some time to perfect an
alternative to fossil fuels.

I don't mean to get political here, and this is an issue that transcends
political boundaries, but we have to remember that it is the U.S. consumer,
more than any other group on our planet, that drives the price of motor fuel
upward.  One of these days that fact is going to dawn on the rest of the
planet and they will like us even less than they do now.


Posted by Mr. X on May 26, 2006, 12:46 am

It's true that E85 is foolish.  (as is hydrogen)  Setting aside all
production problems, it requires new cars, seperate tanks, etc.  Such
allocation of resources would be foolish when better alternatives already
exist.  It makes much more sense to simply move existing systems to E10 and
transition new vehical purchases to high effeciency diesel and/or plug-able
hybrids where possible.

It also makes sense to transition existing diesel to biodiesel blends over
time in the same manner.  There blends up to B80 are quite realistic for new
vehicals (low sulfer diesel) and B20 is pretty transparent for existing
ones.  Classics can actually run SVO (straight vegtable oil) but it's
unrealistic to expect the average consumer to collect old McDonald's fry
grease and filter it in their garage, etc.

Now, some people think the big car companies are holding out on them.  I
wonder where they would get such a crazy idea?  :)

"129 car models for sale elsewhere at 35mpg or better for combined
city/highway purposes"

"86 or more car models that get a combined rating of 40mpg or better ... but
are not sold in the U.S"

"Most of these fuel-efficient vehicles are either made by U.S. manufacturers
or foreign car makers with extensive U.S. sales operations."



Posted by =?iso-8859-1?Q?mark=5Fdigital= on May 26, 2006, 10:45 am

I agree with you on the pollution aspect but lower prices are not in our
best interest. Planes and jets still use fuel and, as a matter of fact, are
our direct competitor when it comes to deciding what to distill from crude.
Therefore it will be the military and it's needs that will bring us around
to alternatives, not the consumer and his road vehicles.
As one guide told us at a military base, we are self sufficient to the point
we can make anything we want and repair anything we need to repair without
the help of the outside. I have a feeling he wasn't kidding.
But lets not let the cat out of the bag just yet. Let's make it a game. A
game where everyone thinks they contributed and had a good time doing so.


Posted by Bill on May 26, 2006, 3:39 pm

I used the price argument because price is foremost on the public's mind
these days.  Were it up to me, I'd add a buck a gallon tax to gas to promote
conservation.  I'd use the revenue to fund the development of alternatives.
In a perfect world, the reduction in demand would reduce the price to offset
the tax increase.

Posted by Steve Pardoe on June 9, 2006, 11:21 am


Well said!

I'm in Europe (UK as it happens), and over here that fact dawned on us some
time ago.  Hence the number of diesel cars over here, you get far more miles
to your (Imperial) gallon (or use fewer litres per 100km) and, once you get
used to the torque curve, better driving characteristics than with gasoline.

There's a big debate here too about the real fuel consumption of the Prius,
and a lot of disappointment that it's no better than a comparable
turbo-diesel car (without a battery to lug around, not to mention conversion
losses to and from electricity).  Nice try, Toyota, but it's not the answer.
Better IC engines are (if people won't reduce their driven mileages).


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