EPA Mandates How Much Gas You Must Buy

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The government can force you to buy health insurance – so why not gas, too?

The EPA has just issued another mandate – this one requiring that people who buy gas at stations where E15 (15 percent ethanol content) is sold buy at least four gallons of fuel. (See here for the news story.)

Why, you ask?

Because EPA knows that E15 – which it is pushing aggressively (because of aggressive pushing by the corn lobby, which makes billions off the force-fed “sales” of its product) is extremely bad news for any vehicle made before model year 2001 – and nearly all outdoor power equipment such as lawn mowers and chainsaws and so on that were not designed to deal with high alcohol-content fuels. Alcohol-laced “gas” is extremely corrosive and – in older vehicles (and power equipment) that lack the ability to automatically adjust their air-fuel ratios to compensate – it causes a lean-running condition that can quickly overheat and destroy the engine.

So: On the one hand, EPA knows ethanol-laced fuel is bad news. On the other hand, it is pushing for ever-higher ethanol content fuels like E15. And in order to prevent what EPA surely realizes could be a potential PR disaster – and spoil its goal of mandating widespread use of E15 – it has decided to force us to buy at least four gallons of fuel at any station where E15 is sold, so that (for the moment) the damage caused by high-alcohol content fuels is minimized.

Here’s the deal: Many stations have multi-fuel pumps. You have probably used them. You select whatever payment method you’re going to use, then you select the type of fuel you want: regular, mid-grade or premium. It flows from the same nozzle. Which means, if the person before you bought E15, some of the backwash is going in your tank (or your lawnmower’s gas jug).

By forcing people to buy at least four gallons, the EPA is trying to make sure that enough real gas (or at least, “gas” with relatively low ethanol content) gets mixed in with the 15 percent ethanol E15 it is trying to cram down our throats at the behest of the agri-business cartels, under the guise of “renewable” and “clean” energy ( which, of course, it’s not) in order to avoid potentially embarrassing mass carnage of older vehicles and power equipment… at least, for a little while. Here it is, directly from the horse’s ass… er, mouth:

“EPA requires that retail stations that own or operate blender pumps either dispense E15 from a dedicated hose and nozzle if able or, in the case of E15 and E10 being dispensed from the same hose, require that at least four gallons of fuel be purchased to prevent vehicles and engines with smaller fuel tanks from being exposed to gasoline-ethanol blended fuels containing greater than 10 volume percent ethanol.” (Italics added.)

This is going to be fun for motorcycle owners  – because many bikes have tanks that don’t hold four gallons of fuel. Bikes with larger tanks only have slightly larger tanks. Most would have to be on the verge of running on fumes, in most cases, to take on four gallons of fuel. What happens when they can only take on 3.5 gallons? Or two? Will they be arrested? Tazered? What?

Gas is also heavy. It weighs about six pounds per gallon. This matters when you’re filling up a gas jug for outdoor power equipment. It’s why most jugs are 1 or 2/1/2 gallons – manageable. The next-up size is five gallons. It weighs 30 pounds – not quite so manageable. Will people be arrested – fined – or Tazered – for filling up gallon jugs instead of five gallon jugs?

But, all this is merely preliminary. A temporary inconvenience. The purpose of EPA’s four gallon mandate is to grease the skids for the bet-your-ass-it’s-coming mandate of E15 “gasoline.” Once E15 replaces E10 (the current mandate) then the problem is solved. No more need to fret the backwash – because all the “gas” will contain 15 percent corn piss.

And the reason for that, if you’re “paranoid” (read: someone who notices trends) is – beyond the obvious rent-seeking of the agri-business cartel – the EPA’s determination to end-run exterminate older (especially, pre-computer) vehicles. This serves several purposes. First, it “helps” another corporatist cartel –  the auto industry – since it de facto forces people to buy new cars – once their old cars have been rendered kaput. The corporatist state wants everyone on the monthly payment plan. Debt-free is anathema to its workings.

Second, killing off older vehicles eliminates the problem (for the government and its corporate cronies) of people outside the control grid. If you own an older, pre-computer car it is a threat to their plans because it is not subject to easy monitoring and control in the way a new car – fitted with mandatory Event Data Recorder black boxes and (almost always) a GPS receiver tied into its operating systems – is. When, for example, it becomes “the law” for all vehicles to be fitted with real-time data transponders that record everything you do behind the wheel (see Progressive Insurance; voluntary… for the moment) no vehicle not capable of being so monitored will be allowed.

Rather than the old frontal assault – an overt ban or even restrictions on their use – the subtler solution is to poison them to death. Feed them caustic fuel – and the “problem” takes care of itself.

Once E15 is mandated – and it will be mandated – the die will have been cast. Within a handful of years, anything not built to tolerate the alcohol-swill will be “retired.”

It’s devilishly clever, I’ll give them that. But it’s the work of the devil, nonetheless.

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. 

  110 comments for “EPA Mandates How Much Gas You Must Buy

  1. Ben Anderson
    September 30, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    “…in older vehicles (and power equipment) that lack the ability to automatically adjust their air-fuel ratios to compensate…”

    I imagine someone with DIY instructions for manually adjusting older engines to work better with E15 fuel would become very popular. Anyone?

    • dom
      September 30, 2012 at 6:43 pm

      Yeah, you’ll have to change out your jets in the carburetor. I have a buddy down in Brazil that has been doing this for years. Top fuel dragsters have been running it forever. Not E15, but an alcohol fuel.

    • September 30, 2012 at 8:51 pm

      It’s mostly a matter of swapping out jets (pilot and main, typically), adjusting air screws, and so on. Not technically difficult, but it does require some mechanical ability because you’ll need to at least partially disassemble the carburetor.

      Another problem – in some cases – is finding larger (richer) jets. For some types of carburetors (for example, carburetors used on performance-minded car engines or motorcycle engines) it’s usually easy to buy a “jet kit” with various sizes, to fine tune for a given application. But it may be harder to find a jet kit for an engine that was never originally intended to be “tuned” by the end user….

  2. RealityBites
    September 30, 2012 at 3:00 am

    The EPA needs a 10 gallon Ethanol enema then a lighter to light their flatulence, would probably burn the strings tying them to the big 1% rich parasites.

  3. Anon
    September 29, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Of course, the other playa here is the Big Vehicle industry… If the old vehicles become obsolete, do to only one kind of gas being offered, and it destroys those vehicles from the inside out, then everyone has to buy new. there goes used car dealers too.

  4. Chuck
    September 27, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Ethanol is ANY motor is bad! I have worked on engines for over 30 years and we need E0… ZERO, anyone who wants to save their motors for the long term needs to ALWAYS add a fuel additive to negate the impact of the ethanol. There are plenty out there, I use Lucas and Royal Purple in all of my cars (have 5 cars from the ’60’s, big V8’s!) and power equipment, sure adds to the cost per gallon, but a lot cheaper than a new motor or rebuild. This insanity has got to stop!

    • Chris
      October 2, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      If you haven’t put new heads with hardened valves seats in those cars, then you’re going to have to use an additive anyway. You probably think we should go back to leaded gas.

  5. jhstevens3
    September 27, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Lots of us know that this is just another vote buying give away scheme. Its criminal of course. But how do you stop this? The criminals are running the country. They de-fanged Organized Crime and replaced it with their own oligarchy.

    The oligarchy really likes to use the “indirect” approach to do their social meddling.
    Like what was done withh the 55 mph speed limit. Ok States – you can make the speed limit whatever you want but if you want some of the tax money we took from your citizens back as highway funds then 55 mph please. Ditto on the .08 Blood Alcohol limit.

  6. September 27, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Great piece as usual and some great commentary!!! We are buying increasingly from a station that sells non ethanol fuel. While marketed for recreational vehicles and mowers, it is increasingly being bought by motorists of all ilks. I have found I get better mileage and better running in my 2003 vehicle with it versus the E10 premium. This is with it being only 90 octane versus 93 with premium. It is also typically cheaper than mid grade fuel here.

  7. Desertrat
    September 27, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Here’s an article with a comment on the effects of gasahol (Page 3) on the world’s food supply. Long, but it shows how big the picture really is.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/2012/0923/How-rising-food-prices-are-impacting-the-world

    Shame that the Indy car folks are sucked into this phony baloney.

  8. Tim
    September 27, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Up in the outer Midwest, where everything is bio-diesel, a lot of local truck drivers meet on the weekends to buy non bio-diesel fuel. I am a truck driver, and when I am up there, I can hear them on the CB. The place and time is not set till the last minute. Then they meet on private property, and get pure diesel from the tanker truck. This is illegal, but ethical, and necessary. Bio-diesel means tens of thousands of dollars per year per truck in extra costs (repairs and breakdowns, lost MPG, and on cold days, it just won’t start). Anyway, the practice is illegal, but common. Just my thoughts here.

    • September 27, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      That makes my heart glad, Tim –

      It’s always good to hear about some Americans willing to give the big FU to the state….

  9. September 27, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    So what do you think of the possibility of a clever engineer or mechanic finding a way to bypass the electronic monitoring system? Bypassing the Black Box, the GPS, and the Progressive Plug?

    • Pete
      September 27, 2012 at 9:16 pm

      You mean we’ll have to jailbreak our cars too?

      • September 29, 2012 at 8:13 pm

        Yes, jailbreak the cars. Call it what you will, I think there’s a future in it. A highly illegal future, once the clovers figure out that people are doing it, but a future that will take a LOT of work for the clovers to figure out how to ban.

        I’ve though a few steps out on this. 1 – bypass and disable these devices. 2 – police start using GPS detectors. 3 – people install dummy GPS emitters to fool the detector. 4 – police start doing remote black-box readings. 5 – people start putting phony data in the dummy signal. Etc.

        As an electronics engineer, I welcome the challenge, but the problem is I am not a mechanic. As a monkey-wrencher I see this as an amazing opportunity on par with RFID.

  10. September 27, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Reminds me of the unleaded fiasco, in fact you could simply edit the relevant words and this could be an article about that.

    Same thing, a messing around of the fuel, forcing expensive refitting of engines and in many cases forcing the early retirement of otherwise fine vehicles.

    Next will be some other impractical ‘adjustment’ we must make, such as impossible miles per gallon or… oh, wait!

  11. Chris
    September 27, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Here’s a website that has locations of stations that sell pure-gas.

    http://pure-gas.org/

    It isn’t just older cars that are affected by this ethanol stuff, even the newer cars which are built with ethanol in mind will be affected as well. Case in point, the Flex-Fuel Ford Escape’s manual says running it on E85 is ok for one tank, but use regular gas for subsequent fill-ups to avoid damaging the fuel system and engine…you have to use regular gas to flush out the system; why bother with this corn-crapola in the first place? It’s only cheap (relatively speaking) due to subsidies and incentives, else this crap would cost over $7-10/gallon or more.

    I think the gummit wants an ROI for all the money they shoveled into GM, and since the Chevy Trabant (err Volt) isn’t selling very well, they need regular cars to rot out from within. I’d love to see the Volt being used as a presidential limo.

  12. Wilhelm
    September 27, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Is there any difference in the degree of damage by ethanol achieved by using gas with a higher octane rating? I have three old Mercedes Benz, two of which we use for daiy drivers, and while the manuals all recommend premium fuels, I run regular most of the time. I have been wondering whether an octane rating could make any difference in the performance or potential dame of ten-percent ethanol fuel. Any opinions?

    • September 27, 2012 at 11:35 am

      If the car is modern (computer, 02 sensors) it can self-adjust for the octane of whatever fuel you’re using. You won’t hurt the engine by using a lower-than-specified octane fuel (e.g., 87 octane regular vs. 91 octane premium). The computer will simply dial back ignition timing and so on to safely operate on the lower-octane fuel. However, you may notice a drop in power/performance – and mileage.

      It’s therefore a good idea to use the octane fuel specified by the manufacturer, to get the highest efficiency and performance out of the engine.

      Now, older vehicles without 02 sensors and computers should always be fed the specified octane fuel. If you use 87 octane regular in an engine designed to burn 91 octane premium, the result can be premature ignition within the combustion chambers – the explosion happens as the piston is still traveling upward, with the resultant force of the explosion trying to push the piston down when it is still coming up. Bad news for the engine – and you!

      Ethanol has been used as an octane-enhancer; it’s one of the reasons why higher-octane “gas” (E10, 10 percent ethanol) is now common.

      • BrentP
        September 27, 2012 at 5:54 pm

        They sense octane with knock sensors. O2 sensors allow mixture adjustment for the oxygenate (ethanol, etc). Most cars that recommend or require premium fuel do have knock sensors. Most of those that don’t have knock sensors are fine on 87 ((R+M)/2) octane.

      • jhstevens3
        September 27, 2012 at 9:28 pm

        Probably true for most cars but I would not try putting 87 octane in a Subura STi with turbo for example unless I could keep it below 3500 rpm to avoid boost.

  13. tolemo
    September 27, 2012 at 5:42 am

    Unfortunately here in the middle of the West Texas oil boom the last pure gasoline station in town went to ethanol a year ago. I didn’t do the right thing to prepare and I am now trying to repair damage and prevent any more. The 4stroke weed eater had steel washers in the gas filter that corroded to an awful mess and the fuel lines and primer bulb were destroyed. I didn’t drain the tank and carbs as I usually do on my 1966 Honda cb160. The tank is a rust bucket and the carbs are ruined. Now I am on a mission to coat all my vintage steel and fiberglass bike tanks and I have been using Stabil in all the gas I use in them and my weed eaters. Swapping fuel lines on all of ‘em too.

    • September 27, 2012 at 9:49 am

      Hi Tol,

      Yup – been there/done that. Sorry to hear about your old Honda. I have several old bikes, so I feel your pain. It’s a very good idea to have the tanks cleaned, then coated. Then do your best to make sure they don’t sit for extended periods with fuel (any fuel) in them. I always treat the fuel with stabilizer and make every effort to run each bike at least twice a month during the off season. Of course, this gets to be a chore when you have five bikes, an antique car – and a bunch of power equipment, too!

  14. Downrange
    September 26, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    I go several miles out of my way on a regular basis to procure ethanol-free fuel. On the Prius, which has extensive metrics for calculating actual and real time consumption data, I find ethanol-free fuel is usually good for 5-10 per cent better fuel economy. Not to mention avoiding all the problems ethanol causes. It’s worth the extra 15 cents per gallon, for sure!

    • September 26, 2012 at 8:30 pm

      Yup – same here.

      There’s one station in town that sells unleaded regular (no ethanol). I see 3-5 MPG improvement on my ’83 Silverwing when I use it vs. E10. Very noticeable. Ditto the Trans-Am.

  15. swamprat
    September 26, 2012 at 11:36 am

    I am waiting for additives that you can add to the E15 ethanol for older vehciles to minimize the damage to the engine and fuel lines that will be peddled by someone. There will always be some kind of technological workaround. I wish I could find a gas pump that delivers real gas. I never thought we’d be in this position that we almost can’t buy real gas in the US.

    • September 26, 2012 at 11:42 am

      I don’t see how an additive would deal with the problem – the high concentration of alcohol in the “gas.”

      Run alcohol fuel in a fuel sytem not designed for it, and you may end up with an auto da fe – a catastrophic fire. Or the lines may just corrode and give you problems that way. Or the engine may run too lean and hole a piston.

      For new (and recent vintage) vehicles, it’s not an issue – leaving aside the reduced fuel economy. But the widespread force-feeding of high ethanol-content fuels is going to wreak havoc on older stuff.

      • Tor Munkov
        September 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm

        The -oh on the ethanol is strongly acidic, everything else in there is inert. The gasoline is a mix of ethanes up to octanes {2 carb chain with hydrogens up to 8 carbon chain} all those should be a lot more volatile and boil off first. The problem of course is its all so flammable. Bastards.
        If a junkyard has a newer brazilian car in it, they are set up to run on e00 – e100. They can buy whatever fuels cheaper. They have 2 tanks. When cold starting they use pure gas and then switch over to ethanol when its warmed up.
        They like it when all we have is consumer goods. ANY MACHINES OR TOOLS THEY CAN RENDER OBSOLETE THEY WILL.
        Shit. Random caps lock strikes again. Wierd keypad. You can’t ennjoy a moments peace you’re constantly on a treadmill of faux progress.
        Very important lessons in this article, I think.

        • BrentP
          September 26, 2012 at 2:21 pm

          Brazil’s sugar cane ethanol is actually a good alternative fuel. That’s why it doesn’t need mandates and people buy vehicles and fuel as they see fit.

          However here in the USA political lobbies and friends have to make a buck by the political means so we have corn ethanol forced on us.

      • methylamine
        September 26, 2012 at 7:27 pm

        Agreed Eric–anything modern with a lambda sensor will just rich-up the mixture to compensate for the ethanol–which, with its hydroxy (-OH) group, is already partially “burned”–has a lower energy content.

        Older carbureted cars–that’s the excuse they used for the ethanol in the first place, to “reduce emiiiiiiissions”…by forcing it to run leaner, since carbs are volumetric–not qualitative.

        For modern cars it does exactly NOTHING except reduce mileage, and increase corrosion.

        That said, I can see an additive fixing the problem. The ethanol which is (CH3-CH2-OH) can give up that terminal “H” on the hydroxy…so it’s a mild acid. On top of that, it’s hygroscopic, so it’s pulling moisture into the tank from the humidity in the air.

        If I were compensating, I’d add a detergent to keep the ethanol/water in solution with the gasoline and keep it off the bottom of the tank. And I’d make the detergent basic to compensate ethanol’s slight acidity.

        I’m going to research that new Sta-Bil anti-ethanol additive.

        • methylamine
          September 26, 2012 at 7:27 pm

          Crap. Sorry all; I forgot to close out the <b> tag. Did not mean the last half of the message to be shouting in bold!

        • September 26, 2012 at 8:13 pm

          Yup!

          And, consider: The last new car to come with a carburetor was made in 1987 – more than a quarter century ago! The number of 25-plus-year-old cars in regular use is so minuscule as to be irrelevant – yet the ethanol mandate persists. Can’t let go of some profitable rent-seeking….

          I’ll check into the Stab-Bil as well. It’s getting to be that time of year, so could be a good little experiment…

          • Blake
            September 27, 2012 at 8:12 pm

            Eric:

            Still valid point, but my 1991 Isuzu pickup had a 2 barrel carburetor (2.3L). Not sure what model year they stopped putting carbs on the Isuzus, but in ’91, carbs were still present.

            • September 27, 2012 at 8:16 pm

              Might be that cars stopped being fitted with carbs in ’87!

        • Tor Munkov
          September 27, 2012 at 7:15 am

          Good info.The 1908 Model T could run on gas or alcohol via an adjustable carb.

          John D Rockefeller and Republican cronies made it illegal for farmer to have stills so his Standard Oil Co could have monopoly. Republican Teddy Roosevelt broke up big trusts to line Govs and cronies pockets.

          FDR brought full blown fascism authoritarianism but ony after all business was crippled and gangs were the only ones able to make a profit.

          The zealot twobit twofaced moralists made this one broke nation under the jackboot of their god, with poverty and collectiveness for all.

          • Chris
            October 2, 2012 at 1:22 am

            Model T running on ethanol grown on the farm. How are we going to tax that? I’m going to have to fire up some moonshine!

            Brent,

            “Chris, I cannot tell if you’re talking CO or CO2. I am assuming by the numerical answer you are talking CO. The reason doesn’t have to do with fuel, something is wrong with the carb settings. The ethanol provides extra oxygen.”

            I did absolutely no modifications to my 2001 Jeep Cherokee, and it runs great on e85.

            The number I was talking about is hydrocarbons, I just dug out my smog papers.

            Where in the world are you getting you’re info? Fox News? Ethanol improves emissions of everything except acetaldehyde, which is emitted when ethanol is not burnt properly. Usually in cold weather.

            http://www.afdc.energy.gov/vehicles/flexible_fuel_emissions.html

            “Tailpipe emissions result from fuel combustion in a vehicle’s engine and are emitted from its exhaust system. Emissions of primary concern include hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), air toxics, and CO2. Numerous studies have compared the emissions of E85 and gasoline. Although E85 increases the emissions of acetaldehyde in vehicles, it has been found to reduce emissions of CO2, as well as the emissions of many harmful toxics, such as benzene.”

          • BrentP
            October 2, 2012 at 4:45 am

            I didn’t say it didn’t run great. However if it is not designed for E85 you’re likely causing damage. If it is, then the ECU adjusts for it likely advancing timing and doing other things.

            The numbers you are quoting didn’t make sense. You wrote ‘carbon’. Elemental carbon is not an exhaust component.

            Hydrocarbons difference of 10 ppm on a state sniffer test can simply be catalyst temperature, current atmospheric conditions, ignition timing, etc. It’s nothing significant. The sniffer test is designed to spot gross problems, not much more. IM240 is a bit different but you stated at 3000 rpm, which isn’t relevant to IM240, but rather the basic sniffer at idle and elevated no load throttle.

            As to your fox news crack, I am going to let it slide this time. It’s pretty clear you don’t have a clue about this stuff already. Furthermore your government is doing something funny. Because there is simply no way it can reduce emissions of CO2. If you remember highschool chemistry you can see you’ve been BS’d.

            The reason it can’t is because of the basics of hydrocarbon combustion. Just look at the molecule structure. Ethanol replaces an H with an OH. That’s it. Additional oxygen. Still a carbon chain. If CO and HC go down, then CO2 must increase, because that’s where the CO and HC went, they were fully burned.

            The additional oxygen acts to trick the fuel system into running leaner unless it has an O2 sensor which in case it adjusts itself. The leaner condition, if not corrected, allows for more complete combustion driving CO to CO2 and left over H-C to H2O and CO2.

            You can’t get less HC (hydrocarbons, now called VOC, Volatile Organic Compounds)and less CO2 by adding oxygen. You get less HC and more CO2, because the carbon has to go somewhere.

            What the government is likely doing is not counting the CO2 from the ethanol, because it’s ‘green’ or some such nonsense. It takes more volume of E85 to go the same distance in the same car than gasoline. This is due to lower energy density. (small carbon chains) In the end, more carbon molecules should end up in CO2.

  16. September 26, 2012 at 5:51 am

    Check out this website: http://journeytoforever.org/ethanol.html and this book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0979043778?ie=UTF8&tag=jourtofore-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0979043778

    There is another side to ethanol. I’d be the first to agree that the way it is currently done is the wrong way, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a right way. It isn’t any harder to put together an engine to run on home-brew E96 than any other home engine build – to answer PikePizzo’s question. Personally I like the idea of pegging static CR around 14:1 without recourse to electronickery.

    But I do see a concerted campaign to denigrate ethanol in the eyes of the uninformed left and the uninformed right alike. The left see food issues and the right see big-corn issues, neither of which necessarily pertains to ethanol production as such. Ethanol produced on a local and organic basis in response to a level of demand much lower than what is current would be both ecologically sustainable and perfectly consistent with the personal liberty of a car nut like me.

    I don’t think TPTB really want ethanol. It is too easy to devise ethanol-based solutions that could readily slip from their control. Hence, I suppose, the emphasis on E15 rather than E96. They really, really don’t want local communities making their own fuel. So, they’re trying to kill it in a way that it’ll stay dead. Mark my words, unless there is an unforeseen epidemic of common sense future generations will see the “E15 era” as a strangely anachronistic peculiarity of the first decades of the 21st century, much like that odd steam-car revival the USA experienced in the early to mid-’20s.

    • September 26, 2012 at 5:55 am

      Ooh. Spello. Mike, not Pike :)

    • September 26, 2012 at 9:35 am

      Hi Nedd.

      No issue here as far as people producing “home brew”(of whatever type) and using it for whatever reason – to power their cars or lift their spirits. I agree that’s consistent with the freedom philosophy – and so, opposed by the state.

      But agri-business ethanol at gunpoint, that’s something else. It not only raises the cost of fuel (both the fuel itself as well as via reduced operating efficiency in the vehicle) it also increases the cost of food (because of diverted production to fuel – plus the last two things).

      There’s also the problem of being forced – or at least, hard-nudged – to buy this corn piss when you own vehicles withe engines made to run on gas.

      Thankfully, there’s a station not too far from me that still sells 100 percent unleaded gas – which I stock up on each fall so that my idled old bikes/equipment don’t have gummed up carbs come spring. But it’s still a PITAS – a government-mandated pain in the ass!

      • jeff
        September 26, 2012 at 12:03 pm

        So for older vehicles (and lawn gear) with their pre-ethanol design assumptions, we’re talking about $3-$5K per vehicle for retrofitting engine and fuel system components? Is there any difference in component choices for E85 and E96? Seems like with this crap, its in for a penny, in for a pound.

        Over the next twenty years, gasoline prices are going to see some serious upward pressure, methinks, regardless of the silly E10 or E15 standards. Biofuels produced locally seem a good option to relieve this pressure. Having to do a fuel conversion and think about home brew makes me unhappy because its work (and arguably theft in the form of policy), but its better than the clover alternative. Which would be trading in one’s old ride (at extreme loss) and buying the new overpriced ride with whatever dumb components they want to force you to buy along with it.

        • September 26, 2012 at 12:15 pm

          The cost depends on the vehicle. It would probably not cost all that much to, for example, retrofit a small lawn mower engine with ethanol-compatible lines, gaskets and so on – and make the necessary adjustments to the carburetor. But if we’re talking an older car, the cost might prove prohibitive. For example, who is going to spend $1,500 to retrofit an early ’90s car that’s worth maybe $2,500? These cars will simply get thrown away. Which will mean, higher prices for the remaining inventory of used cars – as well as pressure to “buy new,” which will tend to drive up the price of new cars as well.

          It’s my understanding that 40 percent of US corn production goes to ethanol production – and this is one of the big reasons for the surge in the cost of food, especially meat.

          • Tor Munkov
            September 26, 2012 at 1:43 pm

            I think the food producing nations will win. Muslims nations have to buy a bushel of corn even if its $1000/bu. Their best bet is Indonesia. The biggest muslim country has a big upside to grow more food, but it’ll take a while.

          • Texas Chris
            September 27, 2012 at 1:46 pm

            Funny thing is, hemp produces 10 times more alcohol than corn per acre, yet hemp is illegal in the US.

            Also, porkpacalypse 2013. There’s a shortage of pigs due to the high price of feed, but we liquify 40% of our pig feed every year to make a crappy gas additive? Really?

          • The Bobster
            September 27, 2012 at 2:49 pm

            Funny how the potheads always bring up hemp as the answer to everything, even though bamboo works better in a lot of the cases. But you can’t smoke bamboo….

            • September 27, 2012 at 2:50 pm

              Bob,

              Why the (apparent, based on your comment) problem with “potheads”? Are people who drink beer “hopheads”? Wine-drinkers, “grapeheads”?

              If I sound as though I’m jumping all over you, it’s because I am sick of the idiot double-standards so many people have. I mean this whole business of being OK with arbitrarily legal drugs like alcohol, but not ok with arbitrarily illegal drugs like pot.

              What people choose to recreate with is their business – no one else’s.

              Moreover, it does not follow that because someone smokes pot, they are a “pothead” (i.e., addled/addicted). No more than it follows that a person who enjoys a beer or some wine every now and then is an alcoholic.

          • BrentP
            September 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm

            The reason hemp is mentioned is because hemp is a suitable crop for much of the lower 48 states. A big part of why hemp is illegal is because it is a useful crop. It was widely used for many of the purposes it’s touted for in the USA in the 18th and 19th centuries. However hemp farmers lost the political battle so now it is banned.

          • Boothe
            September 27, 2012 at 9:16 pm

            Quite right BrentP; hemp competes exceptionally well with trees for paper production (better than 4:1 acreage wise as I recall and it’s annually renewable). You can produce high quality oil from the seeds. Excellent rope, methanol (wood gas) and even plastics from it. So, “Bob”, being the typical knee-jerk prohibitionist apparently doesn’t understand that Cannabis Hemp is virtually free of psychoactive components and people can’t use it to get high. But it will cross pollinate with the “recreational” Cannabis strains and actually dilute their potency (which is why a lot of the growers and “potheads” don’t want to see it re-emerge as widespread agri product).

            Unfortunately there a lot of “Bobs” out there. Hence, the one crop that grows well practically everywhere in the continental U.S. will remain dead and buried. And that’s right where John Randolph Hearst wanted it so, he didn’t have to compete with hemp with his less efficient / less profitable pulp wood forests and paper mills. I suspect that if “Bob’s” walking through the secured area of an airport, he’ll “freeze” when he’s told to and will then thank the blue shirted goons for protecting him from terrorism. Oh and Bob, I’m not a “pothead”, I’m a realist with a technical job in the private sector. In other words, I have to think and perform root cause analysis on complex systems daily. Based on your comment, one might suspect that you’re a dumbass on the gun-vernment dole. What do you do for a living “Bob”?

          • Douglas
            September 27, 2012 at 11:47 pm

            The greater reasons for the upsurge in stood priced are (1)rise in fossil fuel prices, and (2) debasement of the US dollar by the Fed going hog-wild in printing money (a significant part of reason #1, BTW)
            E15 for the masses, like the E85 “alternative fuel”, is yet another Government scam to prop up big Agra, especially the highly-influential Archer Daniels Midland Corporation.

        • BrentP
          September 26, 2012 at 2:17 pm

          Corn ethanol comes from oil. Oil based fuels to plant and harvest the corn. Oil based fertilizer so the corn grows. Oil based fuels or natural gas to turn the corn into ethanol. Then we get less energy out of the corn than was put in to it.

          Doesn’t work out too well if the idea is to avoid increasing oil prices.

          Then again increasing oil prices are mostly due to decreasing dollar value.

          • DD
            September 26, 2012 at 8:42 pm

            Ethanol production requires 25% more energy input than you get from it. The Terrorists profit hugely from their Ethanol Terrorist Act(ETA). Try to get a Publik Skewl/TV-watching/Fluoride Alcohol Aspartame Carbohydrate-guzzling weak mental retard Clover to understand this!

          • rEVOLutionary
            September 27, 2012 at 1:44 pm

            agreed – this was demonstrated by a group of High School students as a class science project. And they weren’t even home schooled! Their teacher is probably in deep yogurt (or some other vile smelling organic compound).

          • Texas Chris
            September 27, 2012 at 1:47 pm

            Ethanol CAN be produced with less energy than it releases when burned.

            Just not with corn.

          • BrentP
            September 27, 2012 at 5:58 pm

            I know it can be… with sugar cane. It’s a much better way and the energy balance works. However the sugar and corn lobbies are against it.

          • September 29, 2012 at 1:46 am

            No! (And no to all the comments backing it up, too.)

            That is only true of the cack-handed, stupid way that the powers that be are currently doing it in the U.S.A. and a few other places, but it is entirely practical to do it a different way – as the Brazilian experience is showing. That’s not simply because they are using sugar cane rather than maize, either, though that does increase the output they get.

            Here’s the sensible way to get ethanol, supposing you had a real need for it, properly made engines to burn it (e.g. higher compression), etc.:-

            Don’t use fertilisers made with hydrocarbon energy, use crop rotation to regenerate the nitrates (adding back the crop waste to conserve phosphates) or use green manure (see below), or if you absolutely must use artificial fertilisers, make them with coal energy – or better still hydro-electric or nuclear.

            Don’t use farm equipment and ethanol processing that burns hydrocarbons, run those by burning crop waste. The Brazilians do that for their ethanol processing right now, which is why they get so much better EROEI numbers. And it is quite practical to run engines off producer gas made by (incompletely) burning crop waste, provided you don’t have the logistical issues of collecting and distributing the fuel – so it’s realistic for farm equipment, e.g. tractors.

            – To replace artificial fertilisers, you don’t have to use crop rotation that would mean lower total output because of all the tied up land. You can simply tip all the ash you get from the burning and all the other waste into ponds to grow nitrogen fixing pond weeds, then spread those on the fields to rot down as “green manure”. The ponds don’t take much space, so that doesn’t tie up much productive land, and green manure doesn’t blow away like recycled ash on fields.

            It’s probably still not worth it, but you can easily get ethanol production with no energy inputs apart from sunlight, and easier still to get it with no hydrocarbon inputs but only other sorts of energy. Doing it the stupid way is what gives you the problems, so either they are doing that to further a hidden agenda, or they are simply just that stupid. Or both, maybe?

          • methylamine
            September 29, 2012 at 7:11 am

            @PMLawrence:

            Good stuff, PM, thank you! That’s a thread-ender right there.

            I didn’t know the Brazilians were being that clever about it–using syn-gas from anaerobic burning etc.

            I also didn’t know about nitrogen-fixing pond scum; that’s an awesome trick! I’ll have to incorporate it in my organic gardening efforts. Right now my nitrogen comes from my neighbor’s grass clippings…obviously not a sustainable* practice.

            * “sustainable” has been corrupted by the Agenda 21 control freaks to mean “living in Soviet-style housing blocks and acting like a serf”. But I use it to describe REAL sustainability.

          • September 29, 2012 at 8:00 am

            Sorry, it looks as though I wasn’t clear enough about how crop waste could be used, as against how it is currently being used in the real world.

            If you burn it incompletely in gasifiers, you get producer gas (or the even richer semi-water gas or water gas, if you use certain tricks, but those are only practical on a large scale, not on vehicles). You can run power equipment off that, using fairly conventional internal combustion engines, and it has other uses that aren’t relevant here. That means you can run vehicles that way – though you can’t readily convert the modern, computer controlled sort to do it. They will run “inefficiently” in terms of fuel tank to wheel numbers, but very efficiently in “well” to wheel terms, since that crop waste is in ample supply and free at point of use (there is no marginal cost to getting it, as it is a by-product – for farm use). But as far as I know, the Brazilians haven’t bothered to do any of this, no doubt because of the capital cost of new equipment or of converting old equipment.

            As well as that, you can just burn the crop waste to provide heat for processes that can use that. The Brazilians are doing this, burning the sugar cane waste (“bagasse”) to run the stills that concentrate the ethanol. They could use it to keep the fermenting vats warm too, but in their climate they don’t need to. They have a lot left over, so they could still use the gasifier trick on top of that for the other stuff, but so far they aren’t being reported as doing that, at any rate that I’ve heard of.

            So there’s no real world gasifier stuff after all, yet. But it’s a low-tech thing, and it has often been used in times of petrol shortages in places where plant matter can be scrounged, even on regular vehicles where getting the fuel took more time and trouble than in farm situations; it was quite common here in Australia during the Second World War, and I remember my father telling me about seeing a bus in Algeria then that had a gasifier on the back with a native stoker perched on it.

          • Chris
            September 30, 2012 at 8:14 pm

            I’m not for mandates, and you’re right that the way we currently produce ethanol uses a lot of oil.

            My Jeep went from emitting 17.5 ppm of carbon at 3000rpm at my previous smog check(on regular gas) to emitting 7.5 ppm on e85. I don’t care if you believe we are affecting climate change, no one wants to breathe smog.

            The way we should be producing ethanol is by using solar, wind or small hydro power to power the boilers, using methane off of the fermenting tanks for co-generation, and gasifying the agricultural waste.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasification

            Then feed the left over mash to some hogs, use the excess fat from the hogs to make bio-diesel, and the manure and bio char to grow new crops. The whole thing can be an efficient enterprise. Why aren’t we currently doing all this? Because oil is cheap, due to our government subsidizing it and running up our national debt.

            Yes, you’re all right about the Monsanto gangsters and the raw milk hating thugs, but that is no reason to bash ethanol. Bash the mandate all you want, but converting cars to run it isn’t all that bad and is not going to cost you $1500. New jets are less than $100. Ethanol has been added to fuel since the early nineties, so any car ’91 and later can run ethanol. The earlier cars just need re-jetting.

            And yes, like Uncle Sam said in WWI, “Hemp For Victory!”

            I guess old Uncle Sam is getting senile, or maybe Hearst beat him to a “Pulp”.

          • BrentP
            October 1, 2012 at 5:29 am

            Chris, I cannot tell if you’re talking CO or CO2. I am assuming by the numerical answer you are talking CO. The reason doesn’t have to do with fuel, something is wrong with the carb settings. The ethanol provides extra oxygen.

            If you converted to e85 I would say it was the work that was done correcting a problem with the fuel system.

            Ethanol was introduced to the gasoline with the excuse that it would improve emissions of cars with carburetors that haven’t been adjusted since Reagan was in office and fuel injection systems with broken sensors and other issues.

            Otherwise ethanol does nothing after the first carb adjustment or after the first few seconds so the computer in a fuel injected system adjusts all the parameters.

      • methylamine
        September 26, 2012 at 5:17 pm

        Eric what about the new ethanol treatment from the makers of Sta-Bil?

        Have you heard anything about its effectiveness?

        At 10%, so far our cars are OK. But 15%–I won’t run that in the M5.

        God I hate government. And I despise with white-hot passion the pinch-faced little tyrants and their endless do-gooderisms. Why can’t they at least ACT the part and look like Hitler, instead of hiding behind their foppish little trendy mannerisms?

        • September 26, 2012 at 6:33 pm

          I haven’t tried it yet –

          I’m still very, very leery of the stuff (ethanol) in my vintage vehicles. I once made the mistake of leaving a tankful in an old bike… for about eight months… it turned into this greyish gloop in the carb bowls. Had to boil everything out to get rid of it….

        • Glen Litsinger
          September 27, 2012 at 5:45 pm

          I’ve used Sta-Bil in my fuel for lawnmowers and other small engines. All I can tell you is now they start with E10 gasahol, before they didn’t. It’s still a ridiculous added expense, but as long as I can only get E10 at any nearby station, it’s my only option.

          • Buzz
            September 28, 2012 at 2:29 am

            I understand all the raging against the government and there evil plans, but I have a lawnmower, a leafblower, a weedeater, a snowblower and an edger that are all almost twenty years old and run just fine. And I live in Illinois where we went to E-10 over ten years ago. So, I’m not sure what the hell you guys are talking about when you talk about these old small engines just falling apart when you put ethanol in them. Just sayin’.

            • September 28, 2012 at 9:24 am

              Hi Buzz,

              E10 is 10 percent ethanol; the main issues with it are reduced mileage (less energy in the “gas”) and reduced shelf life (doesn’t store as well).

              E15 has more ethanol content – such that the manufacturers of engines not designed specifically to burn it specifically state that it must not be used in them – for the reasons mentioned in the article.

    • BrentP
      September 26, 2012 at 1:39 pm

      The problem is corn ethanol. It cannot live mass market without government subsidy and/or mandate with protection from overseas sugar cane ethanol.

      • Texas Chris
        September 27, 2012 at 1:53 pm

        Yeah. Totally true.

        Shell is refining 96% from Brazilian sugar cane. That fuel releases 45% more energy when burned than it takes to make. It’s less efficient than gas, and slightly more expensive, but it IS a viable alternative to petrol (for Brazil).

        In the US we could grow hemp, which is only slightly less efficient than sugar cane. You’re talking $5/gallon pure, and it’ll get 1/2 the MPG of real gasoline. Which means, to be viable, gas would have to be about $10/gallon consistently.

        • methylamine
          September 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm

          Chris,

          Ethanol from hemp–how does that work? Is it from the hemp seeds, or are you assuming cellulosic ethanol from the fibrous parts? Last I checked, nobody is making commercial quantities from cellulose. It’s been a tough nut to crack; and when they do, feedstocks like switchgrass will be the first candidates.

          That said, I 100% support hemp. It’s another example of not just pure tyranny, but the utter stupidity of tyranny not to grow hemp. OTOH it might not be stupidity if the Elites’ goal is to destroy our self-sufficiency; if we returned to hemp farming we’d be self-sufficient in a dozen different ways.

          Also: ethanol is not 1/2 the energy content of gasoline, it’s exactly 2/3

          One more observation: diverting 40% of our precious food to make an inefficient fuel is NOT stupidity, it is a STRATEGY designed to ultimately starve us into submission. It sure worked for Stalin against those pesky, self-sufficient and independent-minded Ukrainians.

          And starvation will work here, too; as war criminal Kissinger said, “Control the food, control the people.”

          • Boothe
            September 28, 2012 at 4:48 am

            Yeah Methyl, from everything I’ve read about hemp it’s good feedstock for methanol not ethanol. You can extract high quality oil from the seeds and I know it was used commercially for paint and varnish production as late as 1937. I don’t know if the plants would produce enough seeds for a viable source of bio-diesel though.

            I actually did extensive pre-startup testing and mods on a midwest “closed cycle” ethanol plant. The basic theory was as follows: The distillery would use locally grown corn to make the mash for their ethanol production. The process would start on natural gas. As it got going they would feed the spent mash to cattle on local feed lots. The cattle would produce manure they would feed into a digester to produce bio-gas (about 50% methane by volume). The boilers would switch from natural gas to bio-gas as soon as it was available to supply steam to the mash pots, digester and distillery.

            It all sounded great in theory, but like a lot of wonderful “green” ideas it turned out to be a multi-million dollar Charlie Foxtrot (for you non-military types that starts in Cluster and ends in K). The investors lost their shirts, the management team tried to sue the company I worked for at the time (we did the biogas system) and finally it all folded. That was in spite of the tax incentives. It was kind of like a bio-gas version of Solyndra…

          • methylamine
            September 28, 2012 at 3:34 pm

            @Boothe–

            As always interesting stuff, Boothe, thanks.

            And your experience proves for the eighteen billionth time what we all know, but the useful idiots can’t seem to figure out–only market-driven solutions work, and government-driven projects do one of two things:
            1) fail and waste money
            2) fail, waste money, and further enslave us to our would-be masters

            That whole cycle you describe sounds idyllic. In a free market, somebody would try it on a small scale and gauge success; then they’d get some investors, whom they’d have to convince to risk their venture capital on a scale-up plant. The investors don’t like losing money…unlike government. So they’d vet the project thoroughly. The moment it failed, that message would be communicated clearly–money was lost, this doesn’t work.

            I’m betting though that rather than a shoestring operation, because of Uncle’s generosity they used top-notch stuff all the way?

            BTW there are many small farmers that use closed-cycle techniques, like hog farmers that use biogas from hog poop to generate their electricity. It can work. Just not if gov does it.

          • BrentP
            September 28, 2012 at 5:08 pm

            One place I worked gave me a very interesting perspective on the way executives behave and how government works.

            What I learned about technology start-ups is that the principles aim to get rich off the investor money and have the company bought up by a giantganto corp. Now where I worked did this in the free market and failed to get bought out.

            It failed to get bought out because of the product, which went into a very government controlled area, where technology is frozen in 1962 and no giant corporation has any interest in changing that because they want it that way. That’s where the principle players thought wrong. So no buy out. The executives still did well for themselves however.

            Essentially it doesn’t matter if the company fails, it’s about how the executives are compensated, what’s best for them. High ideals, good ideas, doesn’t matter except to the little people. It’s a political system. Follow the money as they say…

            Whatever happened IME was the best the executives could make it for themselves and their friends. I assume it applies elsewhere.

            Well that’s the short version of how I learned it.

          • Chris
            September 30, 2012 at 8:28 pm

            Yeah, you’re right, hemp isn’t good for ethanol, the whole hemp conversation is of topic, but it does compete with a lot of powerful industries, and that is the only reason it’s illegal to grow.

        • Mike_A
          September 27, 2012 at 4:36 pm

          Hold up a second here. I’m no scientist, but I think there’s a little bit of an issue with your math in this statement: “That fuel releases 45% more energy when burned than it takes to make. ” Can you break that down for me?

          • methylamine
            September 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm

            I think he’s excluding the solar energy input the plant used to make the sugars in the first place.

            I.E., it’s a net gain of 45%, subtracting all the energy put into planting, fertilizing, harvesting, and processing.

          • Buzz
            September 28, 2012 at 2:30 am

            Yeah, that 45% more energy out than put in would rock, wouldn’t it!

    • Chris
      October 1, 2012 at 2:06 am

      Thanks for the links Ned.

  17. September 26, 2012 at 2:07 am

    Is it reasonably feasible to retrofit pre-2001 cars to run on E15?

    • Brad Smith
      September 26, 2012 at 5:45 am

      @Mike

      It’s feasible but not reasonable.

    • September 26, 2012 at 10:15 am

      Depends on how you define that!

      You might need to replace many of the fuel system components with ethanol compatible components. With older (pre-computer) cars, this will involve a lot of work – and money. My Trans-Am, for example, would likely need to have the engine torn down and all seals/gaskets replaced with ethanol-compatible parts. Plus the fuel pump, all rubber fuel lines (and regular steel lines, too – I am pretty sure – due to the threat of corrosion) the tank… The carburetor would need to be disassembled and many internal parts replaced with ethanol compatible parts – then re-jetted and so on to handle the leaner fuel. It might even be necessary to change pistons (or heads) to maintain the engine’s performance. Bear in mind these cars were designed to run on gasoline – 100 percent pure gasoline. Compression ratios, cam timing and so on assumed gas – not alcohol.

      The other money-sucker is outdoor power equipment. We, for example, are small-scale farmers. I have several chainsaws, two push mowers, a riding lawn tractor, weedwackers, a generator and some other stuff besides. Probably a few thousand dollars’ worth of stuff. None of it is ethanol-compatible. Who is going to send me a check to replace (or retrofit) my equipment?

      • bill
        September 27, 2012 at 12:32 pm

        For your power equip, if real gas becomes unavailable, go to the airport and get some 100LL avgas. I run it in my saws and pumps, grass cutter is diesel so that is covered. If the Feds try putting ethanol in avgas it gets really complicated. There will likely be a avgas w/o lead in the future, but I doubt we will see ethanol because of some additional problems that cars do not face, vapor pressure and vapor lock, FAA regs, fuel system construction materials and lawsuits from any crashes that the fuel suppliers and engine mfg.s would be involved in. All STCs for auto gas prohibit ethanol use.

        • Glen Litsinger
          September 27, 2012 at 5:34 pm

          Bill, what happens when tens or hundreds of thousands of people per day start showing up at airports to buy avgas? I assume you’re talking about small private airports, correct?

      • Thomas
        September 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm

        I have an ’09 370Z. I get pretty good performance – on Premium, of course, at $4.19/gal in my area. It’s obviously designed/tuned to handle E10. I do fear for what might happen, however, with an E15 mandate. Certainly performance will drop, and there will also be some internal damage long term. Sickens me. A car like that is a not-insignificant investment. There are still places that sell “real gas”. I may have to stock up and occasionally mix it in to get the percentage back to 10% or less. WTF is WRONG with this country?

        • NotApplicable
          September 27, 2012 at 7:25 pm

          What’s “wrong” is you mistaking a criminal cartel for a country. ;)

          I like to use ethanol as one of my primary teaching examples of “them” working against “us” while pretending to do the exact opposite. Even if people don’t understand (or believe) the resulting engine damage story, anyone who goes into a grocery store cam see it’s effect on corn, and all its derivative products. Then I shift the conversation to countries such as Mexico, where food riots have occurred due to corn being such a large part of their diet, pointing out, that in reality, ethanol is but subsidized genocide, using our wealth as a weapon to enrich criminals while pricing food outside the reach of the poor.

          And if that doesn’t do the trick, I follow up with a question. “What exactly, is so smart about burning off the last few inches of remaining topsoil in our vehicles?”

          I’ve yet to get an answer to that question.

      • Chris
        September 29, 2012 at 9:07 pm

        http://e85forum.net/forum/

        Lots of good info on converting to e85 in the above forum. I run e85 in my 2001 Jeep, and yes it has an adaptive ECU, but you do not need a computer to run ethanol. Cars have been running on ethanol since the days of moonshiners and prohibition. It’s not as involved as you think. Older engines tend to have higher compression ratios, and if you don’t have hardened valve seats, then you’re not going to be able to run unleaded gas anyway. Your power equipment will run fine on ethanol with some bigger jets in the carb. Most power equipment uses plastic tanks and lines, so corrosion is not an issue, and if you’re worried about corrosion in the carb, turn the fuel valve off and let it run out of fuel if you’re not going to use it for a while. Ever seen what gasoline turns into after a year in the shed?

        I was diagnosed with Acute Meyloid Leukemia, which is almost exclusively caused by benzene.

        http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCauses/OtherCarcinogens/IntheWorkplace/benzene

        I for one would make any change to get rid of gasoline, or at least add some ethanol to the gas (for an anti-knock additive) so there can be less benzene in the gas.

        Race cars and motorcycles have been running on methanol for years, with no computer, and people find many low tech ways of dealing with the corrosion, (methanol is much more corrosive than ethanol). Racers do this so they can take advantage of the “lighter” bio-fuels’ greater horsepower yield.

        Why do so many conservatives hate bio-fuels? Are you more loyal to the Saudi King than to American Farmers? No one’s kids had to fight and die for my American made bio-fuel.

        • September 29, 2012 at 10:52 pm

          Chris,

          The Saudi Kings don’t point guns at our heads to make us buy their product – the corn lobby does.

        • methylamine
          September 30, 2012 at 4:35 am

          Chris,

          It takes 1.3 gallons of petroleum to make 1 gallon energy equivalent of ethanol.

          So if you’re loyal to American farmers, do two things:

          a) use gasoline, it gives LESS money to the Saudis
          b) boycott ADM, Monsatan, and Cargill–because today, they’re the “American Farmer”, not the real American farmer.

          The real American farmer is under total assault; he’s being essentially forced to use GM crops. If he doesn’t, he gets sued by Monsatan when GM pollen drifts into his non-GM field…for, get this, copyright infringement.

          If he sells his product on the consumer market–like raw milk, or pasture-raised chicken–he gets SWAT raided.

          Those companies are working together to Sovietize and then Ukrainize our food supply.

          Ethanol, which uses 40% of our corn crop, is just a subsidy to those evil companies–and a drain on our lifeblood.

          • September 30, 2012 at 5:05 am

            No, it does not take “1.3 gallons of petroleum to make 1 gallon energy equivalent of ethanol”, it takes none at all – see my earlier comment. What does take that is, using petroleum to do it instead of doing it a more sensible way – but that’s as stupid as lifting with your back rather than your legs. So it’s an accurate and sound criticism of current policies, but no criticism at all of ethanol fuel as such.

            You can get very sound criticisms of ethanol fuel all the same, just by looking at the problems it gives vehicles that aren’t suited to it and the problems it makes for food production (Nassau Senior anticipated those, in his 19th century work on wages, as one special case in which mechanisation could harm wages), but those are other issues, and others have already brought them out here; quite simply, the EROEI (energy return on energy invested/input) issue is a red herring for ethanol as fuel.

            I suppose the most you could say is, if it ever became cheap enough to make ethanol fuel the stupid way, using petroleum products, it would be even cheaper just to turn them into fuel grade petrol anyway and skip the ethanol.

          • methylamine
            September 30, 2012 at 5:23 am

            Yes PM–this criticism is aimed purely at the stupid (by normal logic) and unproductive way ethanol is made today.

            It could be a viable source, done correctly. But the PTB have no interest in doing it correctly–as someone pointed out, it’s not in the PTB’s interest to have energy independence at a local level.

            It makes the serfs uppity and difficult to control.

  18. BrentP
    September 26, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Meanwhile, given appearances, one might say (and Alex Jones does), that they are poisoning us through our food too.

    • September 26, 2012 at 10:17 am

      Yeah.

      I trust the agri-cartels about as much as I trust the government – because they’re on the same team (and I’m not on it).

      We try to avoid GMO food. We buy local – and trade with neighbors, eggs for vegetables.

    • methylamine
      September 26, 2012 at 5:10 pm

      There’s no question we’re being poisoned through their “food”, too.

      The more I research it, the more horrifying it is. For example, it’s recently become known that our old model (still taught in medical school, at least when I was there) is that anything you eat is broken down to inactive component parts and absorbed, then rebuilt.

      WRONG.

      Turns out, we actually absorb a decent bit of RNA and DNA from what we eat; and that many plants affect our genome quite directly through RNAi-type effects–epigenetic changes. We’re evolved for it and the plants we eat are generally beneficial.
      Moreover, the bacteria in our gut–which outnumber our cells 10:1–can and do take up GMO genes and produce what they prescribe. So the bacteria in your gut can produce Bt toxin engineered into Bt crops, secreting poison continuously into your intestines!

      Fluoride–IQ reduction, complacent/placid mental attitude, bone cancer (osteosarcoma), dental fluorosis, damage to the pineal gland, etc.

      Aspartame–try finding a gum on the shelves that doesn’t have aspartame. A known neurotoxin.

      MSG–now deceptively labeled “yeast extract” or a number of other monikers. Another neurotoxin.

      The neurotoxicity of these, and other compounds like aluminum in the vaccines, is not debatable; it’s basic science. But if the government says it’s OK, it must be safe, right?

      Scary stuff. They’re literally crippling us to pave the way for a takeover.

      • MoT
        September 27, 2012 at 4:57 pm

        Of course the “they” you’re talking about is the United States as most of the rest of the world doesn’t engage in active “medication” of their population through fluoride. The GMO argument is even more disturbing as it can enter the food cycle almost anywhere you purchase factory foods. Whether it’s the feed for the chicken or the breading used to coat it to the sugary poison in your soda. But, like the classic line above, “It’s got what a body “craves” (or better yet been programmed to want). And then these sick vessels are then shoveled into the industrial medical establishment. Just like Monsanto developed GMO’d soy product to be resistant to it’s herbicide RoundUp is it any wonder that the resultant illnesses as a result of being exposed to these toxins are not keyed for pharmaceutical drugs to play their part later on down the road? You are in effect, like the factory farm cattle, being bred, raised, fattened and slaughtered.

        • September 27, 2012 at 5:04 pm

          The wife and I avoid processed food. I drink soda (and sugary drinks) extremely rarely – as in maybe five or six standard-sized bottles of Coke (with sugar, not HFC) per year, as a treat.

          We eat locally grown (as in, next-door neighbor grown) vegetables; buy meat from local, small-scale operators who grass feed their beef – etc.

          I feel very good, physically – and have no health problems, as far as I know. Normal BP and blood sugar; low (under 200) cholesterol.

          Maybe it’s the food – maybe it’s that plus generally good habits and good genes.

          Regardless, it seems like the right way to go…

          • MoT
            September 27, 2012 at 5:22 pm

            It’s cliche’ but you are indeed what you eat. Dialing back our processed food intake has resulted in noticeable weight loss and better health. While the food may at times be more expensive, and we are ramping up our garden production, the back end health benefits balance out the up front costs. You can pay now or pay later but either way you’re gonna pay somehow.

            • September 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm

              Agreed –

              I’d rather pay more for food - than much more for “health care.”

              I’ve already decided to have no part whatsoever of ObamaCare. I will not pay the mandatory fee – nor partake of their “care.”

              Come and get me, peckerwoods.

        • DD
          September 27, 2012 at 9:22 pm

          You are their tax livestock….

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k67_imEHTPE

      • MoT
        September 27, 2012 at 5:01 pm

        I find it obscene that food is taken off the marketplace, thus raising prices, just to satisfy the argument that it’ll “save” some pennies at the pump. That’s sick.

    • September 27, 2012 at 3:15 am

      aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand the water (fluoride).

      You guys see the latest study on GMOs? http://naturalsociety.com/gmo-study-rats-fed-lifetime-of-gm-develop-mass-tumors-die-early/

      • Phil
        September 27, 2012 at 5:59 pm

        The reasonable approach would have been to have the test group and control group mentioned, PLUS one test group with “traditional” food laced with roundup, and one test group with GMO food not laced with roundup.

        The way this was done, it is only clear that something is bad there, not what. I’d bet my bottom dollar the roundup correlated much more than the GMO.

        So at best, this is a poorly written article, and at worst intentionally misleading “science” that is being used to push an agenda.

        I could use the same setup to make all manner of things look bad. Lets say, given the article, I maintain a test group that consists of an 87 corvette with a 383 stroker running on “more traditional” ethanol free gas with lead additive and octane booster, and a test group of an 87 corvette running ethanol gas and no lead additive or octane booster. The test group is going to suck, and I get to point my finger at whatever factor I want. That is what they did above.

        • methylamine
          September 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm

          It’s a valid objection to the design of the study, Phil, but the glaring fact remains–there’s something horribly wrong there.

          Glyphosate aka “RoundUp” has been implicated in dozens of previous studies with everything from teratogenicity to mutagenicity to hormone disruption. It’s nasty stuff.

          And GMO isn’t the clean-cut technology it’s advertised to be. They’re not cleanly inserting a new gene or two, which the organism obediently produces. The genome is a finely-balanced computer program, which we are far from fully understanding. The raw gene sequence itself is a small part of the picture; there’s a huge component of epigenetic control, variable expression, self-reinforcing feedback loops, etc. that we really don’t understand.

          And forget all that complexity; just apply some reason to the idea that your food is now designed to produce its own pesticide internally. The pesticide, derived from bacillus thuringiensis, disrupts the gut of the caterpillars that feed on the corn.

          But what does it do to our guts?

          No human safety testing of more than 90 days’ duration has been done.

          I won’t touch the stuff. I’m NOT opposed to the technology; it has wonderful potential. I just won’t be a guinea pig (or rat) to Monsatan.

        • September 28, 2012 at 2:26 am

          Phil,

          While I certainly agree with your critique, there is another problem at work here (aside from what meth already mentioned about there clearly being something wrong).

          Look at the way this research is funded.

          Most often, research labs are in universities, which get state money. And the states get money from corporations. I’m not saying that they couldn’t do better, but part of what I wonder is how much of this kind of research is under-funded to where they just haven’t gotten to that detailed portion of the research yet. Maybe they didn’t have the money for the various methods of testing?

          I’m not suggesting that full comprehensiveness shouldn’t be the goal, but on a practical level, I’m not sure this kind of research (anti-establishment) gets very much funding, and it might have had a limited window.

          I’m not saying any of this for certain, and you are right about the abstraction of the conclusion, I’m only trying to think of it in context of government/ag-lobby funded research.

  19. Brandonjin
    September 26, 2012 at 12:43 am

    Well, this fucking sucks.

    Are diesels forced the ethanol too? If not, we’ll need to stock up on older diesel powered cars.

    Grim looking future Eric.

    • September 26, 2012 at 10:23 am

      Diesel is dispensed via a separate pump – because it has to be. You cannot mix diesel and gas – bad news!

      So, diesel’s safe… well, sort of.

      The new stuff (“low sulfur”) is shit compared with what diesel once was. It’s why we don’t have nearly as many diesel vehicles to select from, too.

      • Tor Munkov
        September 27, 2012 at 6:36 am

        Deisel burns much cleaner than gas, but it’s perception that matters. The aromatic chains in its exhaust are visible (gasp!). Because they’re less artificial we can smell them as well.

        • Texas Chris
          September 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm

          My ’94 Jeep Cherokee with 4BT Cummins smells like french fries, if you know what I mean.

          And let me tell you, that pisses off the DPS State Troopers more than a truck full of illegal Mexicans rolling down I-10 dispensing bales of pot like Mardi Gras beads.

          Because lets be honest, it’s more about revenue and less about “safety” for the Department of Public Shakedown.

      • Phil
        September 27, 2012 at 5:24 pm

        I’ve seen stations with “x percent bio diesel” pumps. While not as bad as ethanol laced gas, it’s not ideal either.

      • Olaf Koenders
        December 15, 2012 at 7:01 am

        Here in the good ol’ US of Oz, we have only regular unleaded, E5 and E10 (octane 91, 95 and 98 respectively. We also have regular unleaded 98 octane, which they claim offers a performance boost, which is bull except in any car that’s tuned for it. It’s probably full of turps or toluene to retard the flame front. High octane almost never means high performance.

        In every motor I’ve tried, the 91 and 95 octane get the same fuel economy. The 95 I can bump up the timing a bit without pinging, but EVERY kind of 98 octane kills fuel economy by a full 10%! I wonder how crap the E15 has to be before people will refuse to buy it at all.

        There goes Obama’s 56MPG mandate.. :)

        • December 15, 2012 at 10:40 am

          E15 is going to be a problem. Well, a problem for most of us.

          Very few late model cars are “E15 compatible” – and virtually no power equipment.

          Older vehicles – classic cars, bikes, etc. – cannot use the stuff without risking potentially serious damage.

          I suspect that is the point, though.

          They want to accelerate the retirement of pre-computer, pre-black box, pre-GPS transponder vehicles. It is easier to just render them impractical to use as opposed to passing a law forbidding their use.

          • Olaf Koenders
            December 15, 2012 at 1:22 pm

            My ’87 Nissan EXA (the NX to the US I think) uses black box injection and many sensors, but 98 octane is still fubar on the economy.

            My ’90 CBR1000 with ’95 carbs does worse with ’90 carbs, but the 98 octane – oh dear on every level. The shit just burns too slow.

            I remember some of my mates back in the late ’80’s used to think 130 octane aircraft fuel would give them more power. That’s even worse than the crap fuel economy from LPG. Fools really. Only for high compression engines I’m guessing, let alone lower freezing point at altitude. But who drives their car at 10,000 feet anyway :)

  20. DD
    September 25, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Sherrr hope themthere political terrorist scum ain’t usin turlet water on therrr crops….

    • Tor Munkov
      September 27, 2012 at 6:29 am

      It’s got what plant’s crave: electrolytes.

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