Another Ethanol Question

Greetings - I’m new, so don’t hesitate to tell me if I’ve goofed up somewhere. I drive a 1991 Pontiac Grand Am with the simpler Tech-4 engine. Using E10 fuel has been fine, so far, no troubles. I know that E85 is a BAD idea for this car, won’t use it. Now they’re discussing E15. Am I in trouble yet, and if so, how much? Thank you all.

Pre 2000 cars are not designed to run on E15. The seals and hoses are not compatible. Also, E15 provides less power and less mpg the straight gas. Ethanol absorbs water and will rust out your fuel system. It is a gift for corn producers from Washington DC. Food prices will rise and our pockets will get lighter.

Not worries…yet.
What has actually happened is that the EPA has only approved…not mandated…15% ethanol for use in over the road vehicles. Whethre it replaces 10% will depend largely on public acceptance…and who you vote for in future elections.

Sorry guys, but this one IS purely political. We’ve had this discussion.

Sounds like another play in the game of good MPG vehicles -vs- big oil getting you to the pumps as often.
The game ?
The better the mpg ( calcualtaed using pure gasoline ) on the majority of vehicles means a whole lot less visits to the gas station.

  • SO -
    Big oil convinces the US Gvt that ethenol exhaust is better for the environmet so thay should ‘‘require’’ it in fuel.
    Worsening the mpg attained per gallon AND forcing the driver into the gas station as often now as he ever used to.
  • AND -
    Creating a public outcry that their vehicles do not get the advertised mpg.
    Causing the US gvt to demand higher CAFE from the vehicle manufacturers.
    Then makes Joe Public go the gas station less often.

And the viscious game continues its circle.

This is also the game that natural gas companies play with your home .
The gvt al all the tree huggers tell you all these great ways to save on heating fuel.
So every one use much less.
So the gas company must raise the prices to meet overhead.
— After all that ‘‘saving’’ of fuel usage…we still SPEND the same dollars :((

Ken said “Big oil convinces the US Gvt that ethenol exhaust is better for the environmet so thay should ‘‘require’’ it in fuel.”

Nope, nothing could be further from the truth. Here’s what the API (the oil industry organization) has to say about E15:

"WASHINGTON, May 16, 2012 – API’s President and CEO Jack Gerard told reporters this morning that testing by the Coordinating Research Council showed that use of E15 – gasoline with 15 percent ethanol – could harm car and truck engines, potentially affecting millions of cars and trucks. Gerard said despite evidence of incompatibility problems with E15 and service station equipment and incomplete E15 testing in automobile engines, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved E15 for the vast majority of the nation’s cars and light trucks:

“EPA’s decisions in 2010 and 2011 approving E15 ethanol-gasoline blends for most American vehicles were premature and irresponsible. EPA approved E15 knowing ongoing vehicle testing had not been completed. Worse, as API noted in its press briefing two weeks ago, it approved the fuel even though government labs had raised red flags about the compatibility of E15 with much of the dispensing and storage infrastructure at our nation’s gas stations.

“Today, the results of just completed engine testing of E15 by the Coordinating Research Council confirm that EPA did not perform due diligence and moved too quickly in its E15 vetting process. The tests provide strong evidence E15 could damage the engines of many cars and light trucks. The council, known as the CRC, is a non-profit research and testing organization made up of the automobile and oil companies.

“Ironically, EPA’s decisions actually threaten broader use of biofuels. Federal law requires blending of increasing amounts of biofuels in gasoline, and most of the gasoline now sold in America has ethanol in it. Yet, if E15 is introduced and vehicle problems develop, public support for E15 and the federal renewable fuels program could erode.” "

Go after ‘Big Ag’, they’re the ones pushing E15. Not ‘Big Oil’.

aHA !
I new there was some game playin’ goin’ on there somewhere.

What bothers me most about increased ethanol is that the auto companies have said that even E15 can be bad for all automobiles, no matter the age. I’ll keep an eye out for it, although I doubt is will find early application on either the Right or Left Coasts. If you live in the Midwest, we’ll count on you to fight the good fight.

Ethanol is a product of the agricultural community. In a very real sense it’s a direct competitor to the oil producers. The best thing that the oil producers could wish for would be for ethanol to be discontinued. Their worst nightmare would be for 85% to me mandated.

Ethanol’s continued use in gasoline is a result of enormous pressure from the extremely powerful agricultural lobbies. The approval of the 15% mix is a direct result of intense pressure from the 51 member Ethanol Producers’ Lobby.

The EU was considering banning the import of ethanol containing gasoline. I haven’t followed up, but it’s just one more indication of how much of a purely political thing ethanol is.

Related to the topic at hand, what’s going to be sad to see is all of the corn around here that is so lush and green right now being converted to fried stalks with the summertime dry heat pattern coming on.

Each stalk of corn evaporates approximately 2 liters of water a day and seeing as how hardly any of the corn fields are irrigated it’s not difficult to see how that farming gamble will pan out.
Most of it will not end up as food or fuel.

@asecular, my oldest son holds multiple degrees in the meteorology/climatology/water hydrology fields.

The part about the massive amount of water consumed by corn was something that was taught to him in one his water hydrology courses some years ago.
Each stalk sucks up 2 liters per day out of the ground and sheds it through growth and evaporation through the leaves and stalks.

Figure how many stalks are in one acre and multiply by 2 liters. That’s a massive amount of water per acre per day.

The corn around here will be burnt toast very soon with much of it allowed to rot in the field. Out in the OK Panhandle a number of corn farmers out there irrigate. Around here, hardly any of them do so the odds of their crop becoming a casualty are about 99%+ when they plant it.

All plants use water. A field of corn uses a LOT.

Every land plant evaporates water, I thought everyone knew that. Cite sources? That is like having to prove the sky is blue.

I would guess that ok4450 is correct on the amount of moisture consumed by one stalk of corn. I used to gamble on the weather providing sufficient rainfall for my back yard garden of 4 rows of corn. When there isn’t enough rain, the corn becomes stressed and the tassels appear before the stalk is very tall. Since I am on city water here in my community in east central Indiana, it is rather expensive to water the corn.
I now have a rain barrel attached to the downspout of my eaves trough. A quarter of an inch of rain fills the barrel. I have a small submersible electric pump in the bottom of the barrel which provides enough pressure to run a small sprinkler. I think I have spent about $200 for produce I could buy at the store for $10, but my corn and green beans taste better.

Politics? It has nothing to do with politics, it’s all about money…Who is going to get the money, the oil companies or the corn farmers…

The oil companies had a monopoly on motor fuel and Congress broke that monopoly by mandating E-10. Today, the U.S. is a net exporter of energy products. That’s a big turnaround and E-10 plays an important part in it…

What are you complaining about? Your 40 year old roto-tiller won’t start???

E10 played a small part. The discovery and production of shale gas and oil, along with decreasing total fuel use played a huge part. The ‘net’ savings in oil use (once you deduct the oil used to plant/raise/fertilize/harvest/transport/refine/ship the ethanol) is much less than the barrels of ethanol put in the tank.

@asecular, believe what you want. I’m just telling you what my son told me as we were discussing the Ethanol thing one time. The son holds a Masters in water hydrology and his studies in that field involved any and everything to do with water on Earth; from oceans to clouds and all things in between including causes and effects.

As to the 99%+ chance of the crop going south I base that one thing; normal hot, dry summers and watching it happen every year.

As to crop insurance, who do you think is paying for that?

Based on this web site…

Corn needs from 22" of rain to yield a good crop.
1" of rain per acre equates to 27,000 gallons of water (or 102,000 liters).
Multiply that by 22" = 2,245,320 liters of water to yield a good crop of corn.

Then based on this site…Corn takes about 90 - 120 days from planting to yielding a crop.

Divide the 2,245,320 liters of water by 120 equals on average about 18,000 liters of water per acre per day.

So @OK4450’s son seems to be correct.

@asecular, it’s not my crops going south because I don’t farm. I just happen to live in a town full of them and know quite a few of them. They get paid whether the corn crop fries or not.

Until Ethanol subsidies came along only one guy around this area grew corn at all and he actually irrigated every year. Corn is everywhere now and all lush and green. Now that we’re in the dry pattern that corn will be fried in a few weeks and it goes downhill very, very quickly.

“Now that we’re in the dry pattern that corn will be fried in a few weeks and it goes downhill very, very quickly.”

No doubt the growers will be looking for disaster relief.


I cash rent about 23 acres to a farmer, this year he has corn in, guess what, corn requires alot of water, Im no scientist but I KNOW that corn draws alot of water out of the ground. I also have corn in my garden, It takes ALOT of water. Corn is made up of alot of water.

There is a country song that is popular that may break it down to your terms,

Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey…Rain is a good thing, by luke bryant. It will all make sense if you listen to the song.

Corrected post…