Where Gas is Still Around $2 Per Gallon. . .

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Newtie won’t bring you $2 gas – and forget about BHO. He wants to bring you $8 gas – in line with what Enlightened Europeans pay. But there is a way to fill your tank for about $2 per gallon – using the Fed Funny Money in your pocket, too.

Just drive across the border.

It’s what a growing number of Arizona drivers are doing, according to a March 20 article over at myfoxphoenix.com (see here).

They’re willing to brave the Mexican banditos in the border towns – in order to do an end-run around the American banditos  in Washington.

Gas prices are so much lower in Mexico for a number of reasons, including government price controls – but the point to be taken is that physical scarcity is not an issue south of the border. There is an ample supply of oil. If there weren’t, the prices would be going up everywhere, not just here.

There is plenty of oil here, too. But the difference is the (note, not our) government has done just about everything conceivable to thwart exploration and development, creating a contrived shortage. No one can say how much oil is in the ground (or under the sea) if we’re not allowed to look for it.

Let alone extract it.

The (again, not our) government also imposes Byzantine requirements that fuel in different parts of the country at different times of the year contain different types and quantities of various additives (such as ethanol oxygenates, a fancy-sounding way of obfuscating taxpayer-financed giveaways to politically powerful agricultural cartels) further bolixing up supply.

Instead of “just gas” there are multiple different types of gas, each of which must be kept separate from the others in the pipelines, tanker trucks and so on. This adds considerably to the cost and not just mechanically. Because gas has a shelf life, the refiners only produce enough at any given time to meet estimated short-term demand. The differing requirements for different regional formulations and additive packages put pressure on the refiners to make smaller batches of each type, which can lead to short-term shortfalls if actual demand exceeds projected demand. If a given refinery is making Batch X, it’s hard for it to stop the presses and make some more of Batch Y – at least, until they’ve cleared out all the Batch X.

In Mexico, there’s just gas.

Which is part of the reason why gas is cheaper there. Not just to buy – but to burn, too. Because it’s 100 percent gas – not 90 percent gas and 10 percent corn alcohol (ethanol). Your car will travel farther on a gallon of gas than on a gallon of 90 percent gas and 10 percent ethanol because gas contains more energy per volume than alcohol does. If you live in an area where it’s possible to buy real gas as well as the ethanol-adulterated stuff, try this experiment: Fill your tank with the real stuff and keep track of your mileage; then do the same with a tank of the corn lobby’s finest. You’ll discover you’re back at “empty” after having driven about 5 percent less – when you’re burning 90 percent gas plus 10 percent corn.

Thanks, ADM – and don’t forget to thank your ADM bought-and-paid-for Demopublican “representative,” too.

The Mexicans are able to provide for all their internal needs – at about half what what Americans have to pay – and still have a huge surplus available for export. Much of it goes to us – but not at Mexican prices, of course. We get it after it’s been marked up and adulterated to conform to U.S. standards.

Petroleous Mexicanos (Pemex), the Mexican version of ExxonMobil, hasn’t got to contend with the EPA – let alone Barack Hussein Obama. If there’s oil to be extracted, the Mexicans extract the oil. Apparently it strikes them as odd to decline to make use of the material resources available. The Mexicans are not nationally suicidal, in other words.

Pemex also funds the majority of the Mexican government’s operations – as opposed to the average Mexican. In Lose Estados Unidos, of course, it is the opposite. We pay at the pump – and we pay to Uncle. Which helps explain why things are getting better for the average Mexican – and worse for the average Americano.

If we want a decent, pre corn-lobby can of Coke – with sugar, not high fructose corn syrup – we have to buy it from Mexico. And if we want an honest $2 gallon of gasoline – not 90 percent gas and 10 percent something else – we’ve got to make a run for the border, too.

Aren’t you proud to be an American? Where at least you know you’re free?

Throw it in the Woods?

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eric

Author of "Automotive Atrocities" and "Road Hogs" (MBI). Currently living amongst the Edentulites in rural SW Virginia. 

  69 comments for “Where Gas is Still Around $2 Per Gallon. . .

  1. John B
    March 28, 2012 at 5:35 am

    Well I filled up my ’02 Crown-Vic for 1.88 per gallon in the US over the weekend… the catch… it is natural gas, an option the US auto manufacturers ditched after 2004. Honda Civic GX is the only factory built CNG car these days. Also, when I fill up the money stays in the US as opposed to gasoline where a good chunk of the money goes abroad.

  2. Tor Munkov
    March 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Sugar is trading at $0.25 cents an ounce. Sugar(sucrose) is one part glucose and one part fructose bonded together. I would guess it trades for $.08 or less in places like Brazil, which used to be easy to verify with any search engine. I tried different permutations of research for a half hour, but no luck.
    I did see that you can get a whole ton of HiFrucCornSyrup for $600. HFCS 42 is less sweet than sugar. HFCS 55 is similar. HFCS 90 is sweeter.
    I saw a pidgeon outside a 7-11 the other day three times fatter than a normal pidgeon. I wonder if he eats HFCS. HFCS is concocted in a giant vat by aspergillus mold.
    This mold does the work of your stomach in advance, who can be bothered to break a sucrose bond on their own these days. Yum. When you see these children of the corn (syrup), you can understand the later problems with other unnatural substances that soon follow.

    http://www.1channel.ch/watch-2242367-The-Hunger-Games

    Food talk makes me hungry. Happy Hunger Games.

  3. Luke
    March 24, 2012 at 2:50 am

    I wonder how much gas is wasted, because of the ethanol. I have to throw away all the gas in my gas cans every year due to moisture getting in there. I work at a place that has gas pumps, and no one in the industy has had one good thing to say about ethanol.

  4. mithrandir
    March 24, 2012 at 2:16 am

    Eric,

    This post has been spotted by Paul Mulshine and he agrees with your premise.

    I like how he ends his column.

    Mexico may have its problems, but are a lot of things you can do there you can’t do here.

    Like drink beer on the beach.

    And buy good gas.

    • March 24, 2012 at 10:09 am

      Yup!

      We used to mock “banana republics” but in everyday terms, Americans are more constrained and hassled and controlled by the government than in places such as Mexico. It’s corrupt there, of course (I have family members who live there; I’ve been there) but their corruption is honest. I much prefer that…

  5. Art Thomas
    March 23, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    This comment not on this particular subject but goes to the core of what this site about: The erosion of human freedom.

    A man in New Hampshire saw a thief coming out the window of his neighbor’s house. He told him to freeze and shot a bullet into the ground and held the robber until the police came. They arrested the man for reckless conduct. Here’s the link. http://thestir.cafemom.com/in_the_news/133341/grandfather_gets_arrested_for_holding?quick_picks=1

  6. kentek
    March 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Here in Southern CA we are at $4.40 /gal.
    What if:
    On every receipt for gas purchase the taxes were spelled out?
    On a $50 gas purchase I pay the State about $3.75.
    And BTW: ADM still has 6 or 8 of its executives in prison for price fixing. But they just changed the criminals at the top.
    We are so screwed!

  7. Desertrat
    March 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Border locals have long been getting gas and diesel, “otro la’o del Rio”. Roughly 50¢ cheaper for gas, nearly a dollar cheaper for diesel. Good old government subsidy.

    No diesel pickups in Mexico. Only commercial trucks. But they don’t care if you go across and fill your diesel pickup. They won’t put diesel into a drum; only into the regular tank or a slide-in tank.

    US Customs won’t allow gasoline in cans to be brought across; only in the regular tank or a slide-in. “Hazardous material” with which they do not have the equipment to cope in the event of a spill. (So they say.)

    The gas and diesel in northern Mexico is refined in the US. We have been importing 1.2 million bbl/day from Mexico and refining 0.2 million of that for sale back into Mexico. Saves building a pipeline from southern Mexico. But, true, no alky in it. And the diesel is suitable for the older trucks but not our new low-sulfur trucks (as I understand it; not positive). Works in my backhoe, anyway.

    I recommend http://www.OilDrum.com for accurate information about petroleum issues. And, of course, the Doug Casey folks.

  8. George
    March 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    “If we want a decent, pre corn-lobby can of Coke – with sugar, not high fructose corn syrup – we have to buy it from Mexico.”

    I remember when Coca Cola tried to introduce “New Coke” – the stuff with corn syrup, rather than sugar – back in the ’80s. Americans boycotted the “New Coke” and forced Coca Cola to retreat with its tail between the legs. Of course, the people that run Coca Cola didn’t forget that humiliation, and after waiting a suitable interval simply exchanged the sugar in the “Old Coke” for corn syrup without making a big to-do about it. Apparently, the interval was sufficient for the skools to work their magic by reducing the literacy rate, because nowadays few seem to read the ingredients on cans of Coke. The contrast between the fierce reaction in the ’80s to “New Coke” and the current docile acceptance of “Old Coke” re-formulated into “New Coke” is an excellent vignette of the decline of the American population.

    • March 23, 2012 at 5:46 pm

      It is – and it amazes me that so few can tell the difference in taste. Real Coke (with sugar) is available (hecho en Mexico) at some high-end grocery stores. Buy a bottle, drink it side by side with an American HFC Coke.

  9. Thorfinnss
    March 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    New Zealand in the late 1980’s provided a rebate program to encourage car owners to convert to CNG. Tax incentives for Gas stations to add CNG hookups (home CNG is not common). Still works that way as far as I know. I borrowed a friends\’s RV to drive around the South Island. It was dual fuel with a switch to change fuels without needing to stop. CNG for the long haul flats, petrol for the uphill grind. Hey Toyota! where’s the Prius that uses CNG to charge the batteries? And while you’re at it, where are the convertible and stretch limo Pri(n)us smugmobiles?

  10. Mark T.
    March 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    At an 90 minute endurance road race last fall a friend of mine ran out of “gas” and lost the race. He couldn’t understand why, he could run the race at his home track on the same amount of fue. I asked him what gas he was using and he said the stuff from the track(Sunoco 93 Unleaded). I pointed out that at his “home” track they sell pure, unadulterated gas BUT, the Sunoco has “up to 10% Corn”. You don’t want to know what words he used at that point.

    • March 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm

      Live and learn!

      As an experiment, I filled up one of my bikes with cornholio fuel, then (when empty) with gas. I got close to 60 MPG with the real stuff; about 54 with the cornholio….

  11. March 23, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    The government is actually going to bump up that “something else” to 15%. Isn’t that great?

    • March 24, 2012 at 11:00 am

      Yes, I’ve heard about that. One effect – possibly deliberate – will be the accelerated “retirement” of older vehicles whose engines and related systems were not designed to deal with alcohol fuels. These fuels are extremely corrosive to fuel lines, seals and so on not made to withstand them. The Clovers may have figured out that this end-run is more workable than an outright ban.

  12. March 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Your car will travel farther on a gallon of gas than on a gallon of 90 percent gas and 10 percent ethanol because gas contains more energy per volume than alcohol does.

    Not quite. It’s because of that lower energy density combined with engines that aren’t optimised for it but for petrol. But engines optimised for ethanol blends fare worse with plain petrol even though they perform about as well as today’s engines running on straight petrol, so there’s no point in making the engine improvements while both sorts of fuel are around and might end up in the engine. Either way, blends lose out on a cost basis.

    If we want a decent, pre corn-lobby can of Coke – with sugar, not high fructose corn syrup – we have to buy it from Mexico.

    No. You can get it in New York at certain times of the year when Jewish law forbids leavened bread and products like high fructose corn syrup considered equivalent to it. At those times, the bottlers switch to the old, sugar based formulation to avoid losing sales.

    And if we want an honest $2 gallon of gasoline – not 90 percent gas and 10 percent something else – we’ve got to make a run for the border, too.

    Well, you could get what you wanted just by stirring in a little water to draw out the alcohol, then filtering the liquid or carefully decanting it after it had settled to clear out the water/alcohol part. But you’d still be paying for what you weren’t using unless you found a way to use it for something else, and there are lots of risks with working with liquid fuels at home.

    Aren’t you proud to be an American? Where at least you know you’re free?

    I’m not one, and I’m proud of that.

  13. Ray
    March 23, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Eric how about doing an article on CNG for vehicle use. I’am currently useing a home refueling appliance to fill my vehicle at a cost of less then a dollar per gallon. Lack of a CNG infrastructure is the downfall here, but not so in many other countries.

    • March 23, 2012 at 11:48 am

      I did – a couple months back… should still be in the archives… I will try to dig up the link for you…

  14. Gail
    March 23, 2012 at 8:55 am

    This comes from an article on a separate subject (the highjacking of nutritional supplements by Big Pharma), and the writer proffered it as an example of tactics used by big business to manipulate prices and availability:

    “A similar consolidation effort was made in the retail gasoline market when California required small independent filling stations to dig out their old underground storage tanks and replace them with double-lined tanks. This was too costly for the independent stations and they folded. Gasoline prices then rose dramatically in California without the price competition.”

    • Rooney
      March 23, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      It seems to me that many of the laws and regulations that are so detestable today had their origin in California. I wonder why that is?

  15. Dave Webb
    March 23, 2012 at 5:06 am

    The answer right now is natural gas. We can convert a gas engine to natural gas fairly inexpensively. Not sure of the exact numbers but I have heard it is under $500.
    The problem is distribution. I visualize taking away the gas tank and adding cylinders that you pop into a unit and keep going. I figure natural gas would be about half what gasoline costs.
    Several major truck companies are converting over with a savings of over $250,000 a year from diesel fuel. The polution is fairly low if not at zero.
    The only losers might be the oil companies.

    • dom
      March 23, 2012 at 5:10 am

      No doubt. It is not hard to do, couldn’t be. When I moved to Okinawa back in 1991 all the taxi cabs used it and I’m pretty sure they still do. As I recall they ran pretty clean and strong. Shoot! Might have been LP gas. Not sure. Same concept though, required pressurized cylinders.

    • March 23, 2012 at 9:52 am

      Or propane –

      If you did this now, you’d be among a very few who have such a set-up, so it would probably be easy (as well as cheap) to just obtain refill tanks down at Home Depot or True Value as needed. Keep a few at home, pop in replacements as needed and motor on…

  16. Joe
    March 23, 2012 at 4:19 am

    The Global Political Terrorists want their tax livestock to get used to $8 gas – the proceeds of which will fund the New World Fascist Order. There are quadrillions of barrels of crude under the ocean floor and trillions of barrels of the stuff are created naturally everyday.

    • dom
      March 23, 2012 at 4:24 am

      You’re right! We need to learn government is right about all. Eating $8 a gallon gas is good for us and the rest of the herd. Yum

  17. Tor Munkov
    March 22, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Funny money is right. Soon we’ll all die laughing.

    How much gas could you buy with the silver content in 8 quarters from 1960, before the Great Devaluation of the 1960s you ask.

    $46 doll hairs worth. Thats what.

    It reminds me of that song by some illegitimate descendants of Thomas Jefferson’s slave girls, who were bequeathed an airplane as hush money on the down low.

    FEED YOUR FED!!!

    One Silver Franc makes you larger
    And one Steel Euro makes you small
    And the Greenbacks that Uncle gives you
    Don’t do anything at all
    Ask Nanny Alice, when she’s ten feet tall

    And if you go hunting rabbits
    And you love to watch them fall
    Tell ‘em a hookah smoking caterpillar
    Has sounded the bloodfeast call
    To Call Nanny Alice when she was just small

    When mass men on the chessboard
    Get up and tell you where to go
    And they’ve outlawed every kind of mushroom
    And your mind is moving slow
    Ask Nanny Alice I think she’ll know

    When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead
    And the Chickenhawks are talking backwards
    And the Welfare Queen’s “off with her head!”
    Remember what Dr. Jekyll Island said;
    Feed your FED
    Feed your FED

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WANNqr-vcx0

  18. Brad Smith
    March 22, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Inflation of course is also a huge part of it, F the FED. Speculators play a short term role as well, but that’s the name of the game as long as it’s not crony capitalism. Tax is a huge burden, it’s supposed to go for the roads and I don’t have a problem with that. But we all know that it doesn’t all go to roads.

    On the wayback machine. Ever remember snaking out your CAT so you could run regular gas and having bb’s coming out for a week? I hated paying extra for worse gas. Kinda the same today only it’s getting worse.

    Oh and if they want something that doesn’t pollute why not go with natural gas? How many billions have they extorted from us for failed projects. People driving around in crunch boxes that cost four times what they are worth, come on!

    Ps. the new freon bites the big one. The Air Force, NASA, Navy and Army still get to use the good stuff. It’s a ten thousand dollar fine if I get caught putting in real freon.

    Just might make a good article on that alone.

    • Larry
      March 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      > Oh and if they want something that doesn’t pollute why not go with natural gas?

      Brad, we won’t go with natural gas because natural gas is a fossil fuel and the BHO administration is hell bent against fossil fuels.

  19. Doug
    March 22, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Eric,you should know better than most, you can’t believe everything you read in newspapers.
    As of yesterday, the price of Pemex Super was 10,90 Pesos/Liter. This is a Country wide price which does not vary from region to region. At the official exchange rate (today at 14:00hrs) of 12,79 Pesos/Dollar, that equals ca. $3,16/Gallon US. Of course, the official exchange rate is not what one can get if he wants to purchase Pesos. This rate is about 12,30 which works out to be ca. $3,27/Gallon US.

    • Chuck
      March 22, 2012 at 10:05 pm

      Tell me where Californians can get gas for that price and there will be lines miles long. Prices around San Diego are ~$4.10/gal reg & $4.35/ gal premium. Of course those people probably don’t realize that if they spend 1 hour waiting in that insane line they’ll be making the equivalent of $1 per hour for each gallon in their tank. Would not be worth my time (or life) to go to Mexico.

  20. BAJ
    March 22, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Keep in mind the effect of dollar debasement on the price of gas. When Ron Paul was an intern, he claimed he was paid $3/hr. At that time (1961), coins greater than pennies and nickels were 90% silver and thus had intrinsic value. Hence, when he claimed he was paid $3/hr, he was paid $3/hr * 40 hr/week * 10 dimes/$ = 1200 dimes * 2.26 debased dollars/dime = 2712 current FRNs/week. When Dr. Paul talks about having a gallon of gas worth about 2 dimes, he is referring to REAL money and not the fiat dollar we operate under today.

    • March 22, 2012 at 6:25 pm

      Absolutely. If you adjust for inflation, gas is still about the same now as it was 30 years ago. But it feels more expensive because our “money” is worth less (soon to be worthless, probably).

      • Joe Milligan
        March 23, 2012 at 5:34 pm

        Of course you need to remember that the overall trend of a good or service provided over time is usually to DECREASE in price – as with computers or LASIK surgery. They’re pumping out refined gasoline using far fewer resources than they were 40 years ago. So that gas adjusted for inflation has “stayed the same price” is actually an indicator that all the other factors have INCREASED its price.

      • April 3, 2012 at 2:42 am

        that it could also be that the alcohol has asoked up more than the allowable amount of water, and the engine is trying to run on water part of the time. They suggested letting it sit for at least a day, then siphoning off the bottom third or so of the tank, top up with premium, and try that, repeat as necessary.I’m going out to my boat tonight, so I’ll just stop at the marina and get a couple of jugs of boat gas to put in, but take enough jugs to DRAIN the tank into. Total replacement of the fuel. The yacht club can use some accelerant for their burn pile, it gets pretty soggy this time of year.Rivrdog

  21. Chris
    March 22, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Eric,

    Mankind’s technology always develops at a rate that outpaces the consumption of a so-called limited resource.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if in thirty years, a respected authority on energy or petrochemicals issued a report stating that with the then-available drilling technology, and even after a century-and-a-half of ever-increasing oil consumption around the world, mankind hadn’t even TOUCHED 95% of all recoverable oil in the earth.

    I’ll bet there’s a million years of oil and gas under our feet, just waiting to be extracted and burned.

    Certainly enough to power civilization until some brilliant nut finally builds a working fusion reactor in his garage and makes the technology so cheap and commonplace that we lose interest in petrochemicals and start burning seawater instead.

    • March 22, 2012 at 6:28 pm

      Indeed.

      The not-much-noticed fact that liquid hydrocarbons have been found in vast quantities on other worlds in our solar system is very interesting.

      • Chris
        March 22, 2012 at 7:02 pm

        Eric,

        Yeah, just look at Saturn’s moon Titan. Several hundred times the amount of hydrocarbon liquid that can be recovered on Earth just RAINS from the sky and collects in pools the size of the Great Lakes.

        I wonder what the economics of running a two-billion-mile continuous loop of tanker ships would look like?

        Certainly a better way to spend money than Obamunism, that’s for damn sure.

        • Jason
          March 23, 2012 at 6:06 am

          “Let us create man in our image, and let HIM HAVE DOMINION.” Here’s my view, rightly or wrongly. God created man to have dominion and gave him the tools to do so. Communism, which failed, was an anti-western (anti-Christian) ideology, the diabolical purpose of which was to curtail the biblical dominion mandate. Because communism failed, now we have environmental extremists. Their real objective is the same as that of communisits, to curtail the progress of the (Christian) west. If you like non-fiction, read “The Case for Mars”, but Robert Zubrin. Man will have dominion. Mars is rich in natural resources. The whole universe is loaded with natural resources necessary to exercise dominion. Satan doesn’t want to go to hell. Progress implies an end. Communism failed. Environmentalism and Statism will fail. Whatever is next will have the same purpose and it will fail too.

          • LK
            March 23, 2012 at 7:36 pm

            I don’t recall any of that in The Case for Mars. A fine book regardless.

    • Dave
      March 23, 2012 at 3:51 am

      Exactly right. Look at the BP blowout, that oil was under enough pressure to overcome a mile of water on top of it. I wouldn’t be surprised if the sea floor fractures down there. As far as new technology goes, I’ve had ideas(I’m one of those nuts) for years, but feel that with our current corrupt government and patent laws, they’d never make it to ‘Prime Time’ in the USA, maybe somewhere else.

      • Chris
        March 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm

        Look, the reality is that for the foreseeable future, civilization will continue to run on petrochemicals. The infrastructure already exists and hydrocarbons are our fuel of choice because they’re energy-dense, portable and easy to obtain.

        So-called “renewable” or “sustainable” energy sources aren’t mature enough to be economically viable yet.

        Solar power works, TECHNICALLY, but has next to no energy density. Automotive NiMH battery packs can only carry 1% of the energy inherent in gasoline by weight and hydrogen is an energy carrier that takes more energy to make than it will ever yield through combustion.

        Hydrogen works just great as reactant mass in a thermonuclear reactor, but nobody’s been able to achieve a self-sustaining reaction yet, to say nothing of the size and cost. And I’m sure one day, solar power systems will work great for powering houses and such, but they’re not ready for prime time TODAY.

        So these people who talk about running out of energy, just remember that the demise of the V8 has been predicted for years as well, and today we have the best ones ever designed.

        What I’m saying is that optimism is justified.

        • March 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm

          And:

          People forget that it’s not just energy per se. Oil is in everything – from agricultural chemicals to plastics. Solar/wind – not gonna help you there…

          • Chris
            March 23, 2012 at 4:03 pm

            Yeah, thanks. I forgot about the polymers.

  22. john
    March 22, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Too bad we can’t use all that hot air coming out of Washington to power something………..we’re paying enough for it!

  23. Tom
    March 22, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    This is insane,we use less gas ,refineries shut down inefficient refineries and broker excess gas on world market and that drives up price of gas . Just wait ’till their end of year profits soar in!

  24. Brandonjin
    March 22, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Nice one Eric.
    Doesn’t ethanol “clean our engines” or something?

    It’s BS because it’s so fucking obvious. Free, guarenteed business for the agricultural companies. And they don’t even give us a product. I have no gas stations around without 10% of something, but I wish we could just keep things simple and go 100% gas. That’d be nice, but then it wouldn’t be america.

    • Martin
      March 24, 2012 at 1:48 am

      When I read the ethanol bashing, I wonder how much else on Lew Rockwell is hogwash. If you folks are getting less mileage with E10, then it is probably because of the sub-octane gasoline it is blended with. Check the octane of your E0 and E10. If the gas portion is the same, then the octane rating will be 2 to 2.5 points higher for the E10. I’m using E30 in some older cars and go just about as far on a tank. You see the computer can detect the 93 to 94 octane vs the 87 of the pure gas and I get similar mileage—no kidding. Ethanol by itself is around 110 octane. E30 is where we need to head—little bitty engines with high compression ratios that would be destroyed if using 87 octane.

      • March 24, 2012 at 10:19 am

        Martin,

        Higher octane fuel is only a benefit in an engine designed to burn high octane fuel. Most car engines are designed to burn regular unleaded gas. Not high octane alcohol-laced gas. Use high octane fuel in an engine built to burn regular (lower octane) and the result will be reduced mileage and economy. Modern engines have computers that adjust for octane; so if you use lower octane fuel in an engine built for high octane fuel, parameters such as ignition timing will be adjusted to compensate – but your mileage and performance will likewise be reduced.

        Not hogwash – just the facts.

        Alcohol is less energy dense than pure gasoline – meaning you have to burn more to get the same power out of it. Which means, you go less far on a gallon of it relative to a gallon of gas.

        • Martin
          March 24, 2012 at 5:14 pm

          That’s why I said little engines designed for the higher octane of ethanol fuels. ICM, and ethanol plant designer has been working with Detroit doing research that shows E30 has the octane characteristics of 100 octane. Combined with a small highly stressed engine, it is the easiest, cheapest way for Detroit to meet the coming higher fuel efficiency requirements. Here is some quotes

          “We are in the final stages of reviewing data in which we simply took 3 each, 2011 vehicles to Mercedes Benz and complied with certification. It is a very complex issue but E30 did very nicely.”
          “I am seeing that the standard EPA procedures to change from fuel to fuel doesn’t allow vehicles to fully adapt, primarily the ignition. Emission control takes priority in short fuel trim and long term fuel trim can take over 40 miles. This is why many who contend a btu is just a btu don’t recognize mileage benefits with ethanol. People need to run two or three consecutive fills to make any judgment on mileage. We had two of three vehicles get equal mileage with E30 for the heavier of the three drive cycles. Driving habits do matter in all of this.”

          • Martin
            March 24, 2012 at 6:35 pm

            Wish I could edit—I see a couple of mistakes in my grammar.

          • March 24, 2012 at 10:31 pm

            Right – but that’s a side issue. The relevant issue is that most current mass production engines are not optimized to burn high octane (or ethanol) fuel. They are designed – optimized – for regular 87 or so octane unleaded gas. So…

            If you use high octane, ethanol-laced gas in such an engine, the result will be a loss of efficiency. Which is what I stated in the article.

            Now, if the “solution” is to refit everyone with a “small highly stressed engine,” that’s fine – but it’s not free, either.

            Ethanol is a loser for everyone except the corn lobby. It takes more energy to produce than you end up with; it’s corrosive and doesn’t store as well; in most engines you get poorer mileage and performance relative to straight/unadulterated gasoline.

            Corn is for flakes, not fuel!

          • Martin
            March 25, 2012 at 12:08 am

            Eric, I just got done driving my 1992 Toyota 4×4 with 22RE again. It has had mostly E50 in it since April 2001, Also, a 1995 Ford Aspire has had E30 since August 2002—-it must not be very corrosive or these unmodified vehicles should have had problems by now, don’t you think? I’m an Iowa farmer and it is nice not getting a gov’t subsidy check to offset dirt cheap corn. It does bug me that a bag of Doritos chips has about 8 pennies worth of corn(assuming $6.50 per bushel) and they charge over $4 a bag. The Buick Turbo Regal is a perfect example of what should be—-turn the boost up when you have E85 in the tank and get good mileage and extra power out of a 2.0 liter engine and if you have to resort to 87 octane, it turns the boost down and you kind of limp along down the road without a smile on your face.

            • March 25, 2012 at 10:05 am

              Martin,

              Brent already explained that ’90s-era cars were designed with ethanol-laced fuels in mind; problems such as corrosion/damage to seals and so on apply to older vehicles (more below). But, even so, note: Those ’90s-era cars had to be upgraded at the factory with new-design parts made to withstand the ethanol (another expense). And again, the primary point made in the original article: Ethanol fuel itself is more expensive to produce and more expensive to run because it’s less energy dense than pure gasoline. So, you – and everyone else except those benefiting from the subsidies – get to pay more for your “gas.”

              In your original post, you questioned the points I made. I think I’ve substantiated them factually, viz:

              * The higher octane ethanol-laced fuel you referenced is no advantage in an engine designed to burn regular octane unleaded – indeed, it’s a negative, because the engine will operate less efficiently when fed higher octane, ethanol-laced fuel.

              * Most passenger cars in service have engines that were designed to burn regular unleaded – not high octane.

              Therefore, for most drivers, ethanol-laced higher-octane fuels are a negative.

              * To see an advantage, one would either need to modify an existing vehicle’s engine to be optimized for higher-octane ethanol-laced fuel or buy one of those “high stress” high-compression premium-wanting, ethanol-optimized new car engines (such as MB engines) you mentioned.

              Both involve another expense – big ones!

              Then there are the peripheral issues (not my opinions, just facts):

              * Ethanol is energy inefficient to produce.
              * Ethanol is heavily subsidized by taxpayers.
              * Ethanol fuels can be damaging to older vehicles with systems built without tolerance for high-alcohol-content fuels or computer controls to adjust for them.

              Points made?

              I’m not going after ethanol because of some irrational dislike I harbor. I’m going after it because of rational objections to another government-created boondoggle that causes numerous problems – and does so for the benefit of a small minority of politically connected businesses/interests at the expense of the general public.

          • BrentP
            March 25, 2012 at 2:11 am

            Both vehicles are pre-OBD2 so it’s less sensitive computer control wise. However both are recent enough that I would expect the MIL to come on.

            Given that you run different ethanol percentages in each I think that you experimented to find the upper end of the O2 sensor’s range and/or the volumetric limits of the fuel injectors.

            By doing so you would be keeping the fuel within the control system’s ability to adjust for it. At least for the driving you do.

            Now as to ethanol resistance. Both are new enough to have been made resistant to E10. Materials usually resist ethanol or they don’t. Now the steel lines, fuel pump, etc tolerating the water content and so forth has a lot of different variables involved. If the ethanol you are using has little water in it and the fuel system can’t bring in any from the air, you would be mostly ok, especially with 90s vehicles.

            Your vehicles are still not optimized for ethanol contents beyond what the manual says so you would have reduced power and at some speed would find difficulty as you reached the limits of component’s ability to deliver or measure higher volumes of fuel. This very well be well faster than you drive.

            Also, without government subsidy corn ethanol makes no economic or energy sense. sugar cane ethanol is a different story.

          • Martin
            March 25, 2012 at 3:59 am

            Brent, there is no gov’t tax credit for blending ethanol anymore—it expired the last day of Dec. The Toy has a Split Second mixture meter tapped into the O2 sensor. One other vehicle is a 2000 Buick LeSabre that has had E30 for a little over 2 years—25 to 27 mpg. None have had a check engine light—-I’ll admit, I take my time getting up to speed.

          • BrentP
            March 25, 2012 at 4:21 am

            Corn ethanol has government subsidy. The direct subsidy expired but there are still the indirect subsidies. Certainly the import tariffs on sugar cane ethanol have not expired nor have the mandates that create a market for ethanol vanished.

            Also there still exists the direct subsidy of ethanol produced from non-food crops.

          • Martin
            March 25, 2012 at 12:42 pm

            Brent, I think you need to research further, the tariff on Brazilian ethanol expired also— ethanol is on it’s own. The only thing that could be construed as a subsidy would be the RFS(renewable fuel standard). That forces the oil companies to blend so they can’t sell as much gasoline which in turn makes gasoline cheaper. What is interesting is that a couple of the ethanol plants I’m in actually exported ethanol to Brazil in 2011. Because corn fructose sugar is a no-no, Brazil ramped up the sugar production and couldn’t produce enough ethanol for their own use. Then something else, California has a Low Carbon Fuel Standard that locked out most midwest ethanol, the USA exported to BR and they in return exported some to Calif. By the way, the ethanol plant I’m in at Jackson Nebraska is using methane from the adjoining landfill for part of their energy requirements—enough to make California happy.Check out the test where the 2007 Toyota Camry got better mileage on E30 than E0. I think you can google and find it. Eric, just remember that engines won’t do well on sub octane fuel that is designed for ethanol blending. Oil companies can produce more fuel,cheaper, from a barrel of crude by making sub octane—84 I think.

          • Martin
            March 25, 2012 at 12:52 pm

            http://green.autoblog.com/2007/12/06/study-non-flex-fuel-cars-get-better-fuel-economy-on-ethanol/

            There are many people that say you can get better mileage with ethanol and you can even use blends higher than E10 in non flex-fuel cars. While controversial and only proven in tests done by mechanics or culled from impressions from truckers, there are finally some government and university studies to back up these amazing claims. The American Coalition of Ethanol has details and results from a study co-sponsored by themselves and the U.S. Department of Energy and conducted by The University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) and the Minnesota Center for Automotive Research (MnCAR).

            They study was done with four 2007 model vehicles: a Toyota Camry, a Ford Fusion, and two Chevrolet Impalas (flex-fuel and non). The cars took the EPA Highway Fuel Economy Test (HWFET) on ethanol-gasoline blends and normal gasoline. The results found “fuel mixtures with more ethanol than E10 but less than E85 – can in some cases provide better fuel economy than regular unleaded gasoline, even in standard, non-flex-fuel vehicles.” In fact, along with three out of four actually traveling further on ethanol, “all of the vehicles got better mileage with ethanol blends than the ethanol’s energy content would predict.” The study even showed there was no engine fault signs when normal cars used blends up to 65 percent.

            These are initial results and there will be more studies but can you imagine a day when ethanol blended fuels (cellulosic, naturally) actually get better mileage than regular gas? Not in special flex-fuel cars but normal every day cars on the street right now? Imagine reducing the pollution levels in all cars by simply changing the fuel blends while saving money in the process? Dare I hope?

            • March 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm

              “many people say” … ?

              That’s not evidence; it’s an anecdote.

              The American Coalition of Ethanol says? Seriously…?

              That’s like referencing a Brady Center study supporting gun control.

              C’mon!

              The characteristics of ethanol are what they are. Just as the characteristics of pure gasoline are what they are.

              The “cons” of ethanol are a function of ethanol’s characteristics; e.g., lower mileage as a result of less energy per volume as well as the problems in re older cars’ engines – corrosion and so on.

              These aren’t made up things. They just are.

              Why screw with ethanol at all? It costs more to make it than you get out of it. Meanwhile, there’s ample oil (and thus, gas) available. But because of government subsidies, direct and indirect (such as the fact that most gas is now 10 percent ethanol) the money keeps pouring into the coffers of those who make the stuff. And out of the pockets of those who are forced to use the stuff.

              It’s of a piece with the way sugar taxes provide a “market” for HFC – more goddamn corn scheisse.

              Feed corn to livestock; eat some on the cob. But making it into fuel and sweetener is just another example of big business reaming out the average guy – and leaving him with an inferior product, too.

          • Martin
            March 25, 2012 at 5:08 pm

            Eric, you really should visit an ethanol plant that is operating TODAY and educate yourself instead of being locked in the past. Was just at the annual meeting and the plant in Nebraska is spending more money to become even more efficient since we are on our own—no subsidies. By the way isn’t interesting how ethanol is a little over a dollar a gallon cheaper than RBOB on the board of trade and we’re still operating but not getting rich. Thanks for the point counterpoint.

            • March 25, 2012 at 5:54 pm

              Martin –

              Visiting a plant does not obviate the points I made.

              You accused me of peddling “hogwash” about ethanol; I replied, point-by-point, with factual rebuttals. You respond by bringing up things that have no bearing on those points – digressions and non sequiturs such as urging me to visit an ethanol plant and accusing me of living in the past.

              I wish you’d stick to the points we’ve been discussing.

          • dom
            March 25, 2012 at 6:01 pm

            If it looks like one, talks like one, it just might be one!

            CLOVER

            • March 25, 2012 at 6:25 pm

              Or this:

              Cornholio

          • Martin
            March 25, 2012 at 7:26 pm

            Eric, I thought I was done but must ask. Tell me what subsidies you know about that I don’t. Please show me the info. The main subsidy I see now is our military trying to dominate the oil fields in the Middle East and protect the Strait of Hormuz. Also the plants I’m in use about 25,000 btu’s of energy to produce a gallon of ethanol (76,0000 btu’s). Then don’t forget the distillers grain( high protein)—-the cattle feedlots and dairies are booming in the midwest and the nutrients from the manure are being put back on the field to grow more corn. Not wasted in West Texas desert that can’t grow corn.

            • March 25, 2012 at 7:55 pm

              I’d prefer not get sidetracked. Again, the original criticism you made had to do with my statements about the performance of ethanol – not subsidies. But in any case, here’s a start:

              Since the 1980s until 2011, domestic ethanol producers were protected by a 54-cent per gallon import tariff, mainly intended to curb Brazilian sugarcane ethanol imports. Beginning in 2004 blenders of transportation fuel received a tax credit for each gallon of ethanol they mix with gasoline.[60][61] Historically, the tariff was intended to offset the federal tax credit that applied to ethanol regardless of country of origin.[62][63] Several countries in the Caribbean Basin imported and reprocessed Brazilian ethanol, usually converting hydrated ethanol into anhydrous ethanol, for re-export to the United States. They avoided the 2.5% duty and the tariff, thanks to the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) and free trade agreements. This process was limited to 7% of U.S. ethanol consumption.[64]

              As of 2011, blenders received a US $0.45 per gallon tax credit, regardless of feedstock; small producers received an additional US $0.10 on the first 15 million US gallons; and producers of cellulosic ethanol received credits up to US $1.01. Tax credits to promote the production and consumption of biofuels date to the 1970s. For 2011, credits were based on the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, and the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008.[29]

              A 2010 study by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that in fiscal year 2009, biofuel tax credits reduced federal revenues by around US $6 billion, of which corn and cellulosic ethanol accounted for US $5.16 billion and US$50 million, respectively. A 2010 study by the Environmental Working Group estimated that the cumulative ethanol subsidies between 2005 and 2009 were US $17 billion. The same study estimated the future cost to taxpayers at US$53.59 billion if these tax credits were extended until 2015, yielding 15 billion US gallons (56.8 billion liters).[65]

              Since 1980 the ethanol industry was awarded an estimated US $45 billion in subsidies.[66]

              From Wikipedia; bolds added.

          • Martin
            March 25, 2012 at 9:05 pm

            Eric, one last post on this subject. I think this is 2012,which equals no subsidies or tax credits that ended in 2011. I’ll still stick with E30 gets the same mileage as E0 in some cars( the Mercedes test mentioned before,proved that 2 out of 3 times under heavy load) and at today’s ethanol and RBOB wholesale prices should be about 30 pennies a gallon less at the pump. The 2000 Buick is going to get over 400 miles on this tank at the rate I’m going.

            • March 25, 2012 at 10:12 pm

              You asked me to substantiate the fact that ethanol has been heavily subsidized. I did so.

              Even assuming I accept your claim that all ethanol subsidies ended in 2011, we’re just supposed to disregard the $45 billion in subsidies received prior to that?

              That 12 weeks (2012 to date so far) of “no subsidies” cancels out the preceding 30-plus years of billions in subsidies?

              Are you serious?

              Clover

          • dom
            March 26, 2012 at 2:20 am

            The problem is you’re too kindhearted.

          • BrentP
            March 26, 2012 at 2:45 am

            There are many issues with using ethanol in vehicles not intended for it. Now I am not going to go study the particulars of the vehicles chosen and the total lack of details of the testing, not even indicating the blend used, rather I will stick with the issues I mentioned previously.

            Ethanol is an oxygenate and has lower energy per unit volume. For a car designed on gasoline to take advantage of ethanol it must be able to use the higher octane. This means knock sensors, wide band O2 sensors, high volume fuel injectors, etc for hardware. For software it must also have software that would permit adjustments of spark advance, and other factors depending on the engine to get the advantage from the improved knock resistance.

            By choosing models carefully the result of the test would be given. One way is to use a car that comes as both flex fuel and non-flex fuel. There would be a number of shared parts and capabilities. Essentially if the test is real what we are seeing is taking advantage of unadvertised abilities of the engine management system.

            What happened in the 70s, that’s what happens when ethanol is put into cars that weren’t designed to handle it. Where control systems were mechanical and could not compensate for widely different fuels.

            As to making fuel in manufacturing plants, why don’t we just make oil out of waste? http://www.changingworldtech.com/

            Real oil. So light and clean it can be put directly into diesel vehicles. Can be refined into gasoline. Real gasoline. It comes from the food processing waste stream so it’s a bio fuel. Yes that’s right. Manufactured renewable oil and gasoline.

            But this system can’t get special subsidy, it must latch on to general renewable fuel etc subsidies. Wonder why?

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