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Thread: Something other than a tiger in your tank?

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Something other than a tiger in your tank?


    At the dawn of the automobile age, gasoline was the up and coming "alternative fuel" -- vying with electric batteries and steam power. Gas (and diesel) ultimately won out, of course. But now that we're running out of distilled dinosaur juice -- or at the very least, getting sick of being at the mercy of OPEC price manipulations and Middle Eastern politics -- a variety of 21st century alternatives to petroleum-based fuels are entering the pipeline.

    One of them is E85 -- a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.

    General Motors, Ford and Chrysler have committed to E85 in a big way and now offer several passenger car, truck and SUV models that are "E85/flex-fuel capable" -- including the following:

    I. Trucks and SUVs:

    * 2007 Chevy Avalanche (base price $32,335) -- Chevy's full-size, crew cab pick-up/SUV combo comes in both short and long bed forms, with either standard 2WD or optional 4WD. Its signature feature is a unique, removable "midgate" that when opened up creates a large pass-through from the bed to the vehicle's interior. For 2007, the standard 5.3 liter Vortec V-8 has been up-rated to produce 320 horsepower (vs. 295 previously). This engine also features Displacement on Demand technology that automatically shuts down four of the V-8's cylinders under light load/part throttle conditions to improve fuel economy. Towing and payload capacity have been increased slightly to 8,200-lbs. and 1,387-lbs., respectively -- vs. last year's 8,00-lb. towing and 1,337-lb. maxes. E85/flex-fuel capability is a no-cost option on this vehicle. (The Chevy Tahoe SUV and Silverado 1500 series pick-up are also available with E85/flex-fuel capability.)

    * 2007 Ford F-150 (base price $18,275) -- America's best-selling large truck now offers no-extra-cost E85/flex-fuel capability with the optional 5.4 liter Triton V-8. This engine produces 300 horsepower and can pull up to 10,500-lbs. and carry a 3,050-lb. payload. One of the F-truck's big selling points continues to be the wide variety of bed lengths, cab styles and body/trim styles buyers may choose from -- ranging from the basic "contractor special" regular cab work truck all the way up to a King Ranch Super Cab Lariat long bed with baseball stitched leather accents and rear-seat DVD entertainment system. For bikers, there's also a Harley-Davidson package that dresses up the truck with 22-inch rims and "black out" paint treatment.

    * 2007 Chrysler Aspen (base price $30,745) -- Built on the same platform as the Dodge Durango, the Aspen is an eight-passenger luxury SUV designed to compete against models like the Lexus GX470 and GMV Yukon Denali. Its standard 4.7 liter Magnum V-8 can also be ordered (at no extra charge) with E85/flex-fuel capability. While not as ostentatious as some of its rivals, the Aspen offers similar interior roominess, capability and power for a lot less coin. The base price of a Lexus GX470, for example, is $46,635. And the Lexus does not offer E85 capability, even as an extra cost option. (Chrysler Corp. also offers E85/flex-fuel versions of the Dodge Durango, Dakota and Ram 1500-series pick-ups, as well as E85 versions of the Jeep Commander and Grand Cherokee SUVs.)

    II. Passenger cars

    * 2007 Chevy Impala (base price $20,945) -- This large, traditionally-styled family sedan can seat six, has a huge trunk (almost 19 cubic feet) boasts top scores in government and insurance industry crash testing -- and now offers a no-cost E85/flex-fuel version of the standard 3.5 liter V-6 engine. It produces 211 horsepower -- and can knock down as much as 31 mpg on the highway, which is excellent economy for a full-size family car. All models include full-row curtain air bags, 16-inch wheels, air conditioning and keyless entry. (GM also offers E85 versions of the Chevy Monte Carlo coupe and other models.)

    * 2007 Ford Crown Victoria (base price $24,620 ) -- The big Vic is built the way American cars used to be -- body-on-frame, rear-wheel-drive and a standard V-8 under the hood. For '07, the Crown Vic's 4.6 liter, 239-hp V-8 offers E85/flex-fuel capability as a no-cost extra. The Vic is very popular with law enforcement because it is endlessly tough, simple -- and easy to be in for hours at a time. (You can even order most of the police-spec handling and performance upgrades, including dual exhausts, HD cooling and more aggressive 17-inch wheels and tires, etc.) It is also one of the few remaining large cars with a standard V-8 and rear-wheel-drive that's available for less than $30,000. (Ford also offers E85 versions of the Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car.)

    * 2007 Chrysler Sebring (base price $18,320) -- Just redesigned, the mid-sized Sebring sedan is larger than its predecessor and features dramatic art-deco inspired styling similar to the Crossfire coupe. It also offers E85/flex-fuel capability with the optional 2.7 liter, 190-hp V-6 engine. The E85/flex-fuel package includes ABS, stability and traction control, power driver's seat and stain-resistant YES Essentials seat fabric. A multi-function MyGIG GPS system may be ordered optionally.

    III. Minivans/vans:

    * 2007 Saturn Relay (base price $21,570 ) -- This full-size van offers a number of unusual features, including a 40-gigabyte "PhatNoise" digital media system that can store and play thousands of MP3 audio files, as well as DVD movies. (Just make sure you pay attention to the road.) E85 capability has been added to the standard 3.9 liter, 240 horsepower V-6 engine. However, last-year's all-wheel-drive option has been dropped. Still, the Relay manages to make driving a minivan a not-so-bad experience for the adults -- as well as safe and practical for the kids. (The SUV-looking Chevy Uplander minivan is also available with E85/flex-fuel capability, as is the upscale the Buick Terraza.)

    * 2007 GMC Savana (base price $25,760 ) -- If you need a large (eight passengers -- or more) van that can also pull a heavy trailer or carry weighty cargo, the rear-drive Savana fills the bill. It's also popular as the basis for conversion vans and RVs. 2007 models equipped with the 5.3 liter V-8 may be ordered with E85/flex-fuel capability for an additional $995. This engine produces 295 horsepower and (properly equipped) allows the Savana to pull up to 6,300-lbs., or roughly twice the max capacity of the typical front-wheel-drive minivan. (The Savana's Chevy cousin, the Express, also offers E85 capability.)

    * 2007 Dodge Caravan (base price $18,705 ) -- A great family van with an affordable price tag, the Caravan now offers no-cost E85 capability if you order the optional 3.3 liter V-6 engine in place of the standard four-cylinder. Standard equipment includes dual sliding doors, AC and bench seats for the second and third rows. Stand-alone options include Bluetooth wireless connectivity, power adjustable pedals and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

    For information on E85 fuel in your area of the country, see www.e85refueling.com online.

    For more information about '07 model year GM flex-fuel/E85 vehicles, see: www.gm.com/company/onlygm/energy/flexfuel.html# online.

    For more information about '07 model year Ford flex-fuel vehicles see: http://www.ford.com/en/vehicles/spec...al/ethanol.htm

    For more information about '07 model year Chrysler flex-fuel vehicles, see: http://www.chrysler.com/flexfuel/

  2. #2
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    Re: Something other than a tiger in your tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    One of them is E85 -- a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
    Ethanol is nothing more that a farm subsidy program.

    Photosynthesis is about 1% efficient. Plants capture about 1% of the solar energy. Then these plants have to be harvested, trucked, and converted (using more energy) into ethanol. Solar cells are about 11% efficient.

    The total amount of energy required to produce the ethanol, is greater than the energy in the ethanol.

    Additionally, if you planted the entire US food crop with ethanol producing plants, it would only generate 8% of our current energy needs.

    The government is scamming us, and the car companies are scamming us. Which is no surprise to me

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Something other than a tiger in your tank?

    Yes, but ethanol can be produced from other material, such as sugar cane, or barley, for that matter.

    The Brazilians have achieved virtual energy self-sufficience using the stuff.


  4. #4
    mrblanche
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    Re: Something other than a tiger in your tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by dBrong
    The total amount of energy required to produce the ethanol, is greater than the energy in the ethanol.
    That depends on whose figures you use. Those who think we should go completely to battery-powered cars, for example, usually believe that argument. But there is some tweaking in their figures that doesn't bear out in the real world.

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Something other than a tiger in your tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    Quote Originally Posted by dBrong
    The total amount of energy required to produce the ethanol, is greater than the energy in the ethanol.
    That depends on whose figures you use. Those who think we should go completely to battery-powered cars, for example, usually believe that argument. But there is some tweaking in their figures that doesn't bear out in the real world.
    The Brazilians seem to be managing rather well...

  6. #6
    mrblanche
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    Re: Something other than a tiger in your tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    The Brazilians seem to be managing rather well...
    Well, the opponents of ethanol have some good arguments, but then they support them with bad assumptions, including such things as "wasted sunshine" in their figures. And they want to ignore that after it's used to make ethanol, the corn is as good as ever as animal feed.

  7. #7
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    Re: Something other than a tiger in your tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    Quote Originally Posted by dBrong
    The total amount of energy required to produce the ethanol, is greater than the energy in the ethanol.
    That depends on whose figures you use. Those who think we should go completely to battery-powered cars, for example, usually believe that argument. But there is some tweaking in their figures that doesn't bear out in the real world.
    The Brazilians seem to be managing rather well...
    That is because they have about the same auto ownership rate as we did in 1930. Give them 1 car per person and they will end up being a net oil importer as we are.

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    Re: Something other than a tiger in your tank?

    http://zfacts.com/p/63.html

    You'll see that we subsidize ethanol production at about $.51 a gallon.

    Add to that you get 20% lower gas mileage, but same the same tax/gallon - it's a net tax increase of 20%.

    I maintain it's a ripoff.

  9. #9
    mrblanche
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    Re: Something other than a tiger in your tank?

    And I can (and will, if you want me to) show you research that says that the use of ethanol in gasoline actually improves our economy more than it costs. Some claim that the production can be self-sustaining; there are already plants that use only what they produce, or the waste therof, to produce ethanol.

    We subsidize lots of things; I'm not sure ethanol production is something we shouldn't subsidize, too.

    And farmers are finally getting more for a bushel of corn than they did when I was in high school, 40 years ago.

  10. #10
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Something other than a tiger in your tank?

    "That is because they have about the same auto ownership rate as we did in 1930. Give them 1 car per person and they will end up being a net oil importer as we are."

    Well, that's a hypothetical objection, first of all. It may - or may - not be accurate. Besides, the point isn't really whether the U.S. can replace petroleum imports with ethanol production; rather, it's whether a significant chunk of what we import could be replaced with domestically produced ethanol.

    Is there a subsidy involved? Perhaps. But would you rather pay to support energy independence (and American farmers) ... or Middle Eastern cartels?

  11. #11
    XRocketman1967
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    Re: Something other than a tiger in your tank?

    This is where the ACTION is:
    HYBRID SALES

    Hybrid sales
    U.S. hybrid light-vehicle sales from January through May
    CAR 2007 2006 % Change

    Toyota Prius 76,747 38,460 99.6
    Toyota Camry 20,540 3,118 558.8
    Honda Civic 13,895 13,153 5.6
    Honda Accord 1,702 2,849 ?40.3
    Lexus GS 450h 863 435 98.4
    Honda Insight 3 412 ?99.3
    Total car 113,750 58,427 94.7
    TRUCK 2007 2006 % Change
    Toyota Highlander 11,909 15,404 ?22.7
    Ford Escape 9,252 8,948 3.4
    Lexus RX 400h 7,095 10,003 ?29.1
    Mercury Mariner 1,694 1,163 45.7
    Total truck 29,950 35,518 ?15.7
    TOTAL HYBRID 143,700 93,945 53

  12. #12
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: Something other than a tiger in your tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by dBrong


    Additionally, if you planted the entire US food crop with ethanol producing plants, it would only generate 8% of our current energy needs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Yes, but ethanol can be produced from other material, such as sugar cane, or barley, for that matter.

    He didn't specify which crop. Any alcohol-producing crop, if all the arable land in the 48 states were devoted to growing fuel alcohol crops, it wouldn't be enough.

    Alcohol is a scam. Hybrids are a scam. Neither stand any chance of being more than stop-gap solutions.

  13. #13
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Something other than a tiger in your tank?

    "Alcohol is a scam. Hybrids are a scam. Neither stand any chance of being more than stop-gap solutions."

    That's what they're intended to be, though. No one seriosuly believes either hybrids or ethanol will replace gas. The idea is to diversify the portfolio, so to speak.

    Hybrids - esp. high efficiency ones designed for mileage, not performance - with "plug in" technology can deliver a realistic 100 mpg. That does not strike me as a "scam." The technology is proven and workable; as the cost comes down, these plug-ins will become more commonplace.

    Ethanol/alcohol has some potential to put a significant dent in our use of foreign oil - and I'd say that's a good thing, wouldn't you?

  14. #14
    XRocketman1967
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    Re: Something other than a tiger in your tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    "Alcohol is a scam. Hybrids are a scam. Neither stand any chance of being more than stop-gap solutions."

    That's what they're intended to be, though. No one seriosuly believes either hybrids or ethanol will replace gas. The idea is to diversify the portfolio, so to speak.

    Hybrids - esp. high efficiency ones designed for mileage, not performance - with "plug in" technology can deliver a realistic 100 mpg. That does not strike me as a "scam." The technology is proven and workable; as the cost comes down, these plug-ins will become more commonplace.

    Ethanol/alcohol has some potential to put a significant dent in our use of foreign oil - and I'd say that's a good thing, wouldn't you?
    Let me say this about Hybrids:

  15. #15
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Something other than a tiger in your tank?

    That's an issue, of course - but not insurmountable. We could easily have plenty of cheap, emissions-free electricty... if we got over our irrational opposition to nuclear generating capacity.

    Given the energy situation, the standstill on building new nuclear plants is inexplicable and unconscionable.

  16. #16
    XRocketman1967
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    Re: Something other than a tiger in your tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    That's an issue, of course - but not insurmountable. We could easily have plenty of cheap, emissions-free electricty... if we got over our irrational opposition to nuclear generating capacity.

    Given the energy situation, the standstill on building new nuclear plants is inexplicable and unconscionable.
    Sooooooo why doesn't the US Govt. say, damn the EPA etc and lets build more nuclear generating and drill offshore because we are too dependent on foreign oil which we all know is true.
    They could call it a National Emergency and this is why it HAS TO BE DONE.
    Hell they said the same thing about getting us into Iraq!
    Makes you wonder who is running the Country.........the EPA, Green Peace etc.

  17. #17
    mrblanche
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    Re: Something other than a tiger in your tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Hybrids - esp. high efficiency ones designed for mileage, not performance - with "plug in" technology can deliver a realistic 100 mpg. That does not strike me as a "scam." The technology is proven and workable; as the cost comes down, these plug-ins will become more commonplace.

    Ethanol/alcohol has some potential to put a significant dent in our use of foreign oil - and I'd say that's a good thing, wouldn't you?
    But the use of "plug-in" cars only shifts the energy to coal. Which, of course, we have a lot of, if anyone will let us burn it in the years to come.

    Cellulosic ethanol shows good promise, but none is being produced here, right now.

    We COULD use some of our excess sugar intake to make ethanol. That might be a good thing!

  18. #18
    XRocketman1967
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    Re: Something other than a tiger in your tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Hybrids - esp. high efficiency ones designed for mileage, not performance - with "plug in" technology can deliver a realistic 100 mpg. That does not strike me as a "scam." The technology is proven and workable; as the cost comes down, these plug-ins will become more commonplace.

    Ethanol/alcohol has some potential to put a significant dent in our use of foreign oil - and I'd say that's a good thing, wouldn't you?
    But the use of "plug-in" cars only shifts the energy to coal. Which, of course, we have a lot of, if anyone will let us burn it in the years to come.

    Cellulosic ethanol shows good promise, but none is being produced here, right now.

    We COULD use some of our excess sugar intake to make ethanol. That might be a good thing!
    Their are a lot of alternatives but $(big oil talks) and BS walks..........as we all know.

  19. #19
    XRocketman1967
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    Re: Something other than a tiger in your tank?

    Ok here is the deal.........
    I just finished talking to the Powers To Be( ;D) and they told me the idea is to use their oil first(Middle East)and keep ours as the Trump Card so to speak.
    Within 10 years we will have exhausted all of their oil and we will still have ours to use.
    Sounds good to me I said.
    But in the mean time we sure are paying a BIG HIDDEN cost at the pump given what it has been costing us in lives and tax dollars for the defense fund so we can drive
    around our gas hogs.........

  20. #20
    mrblanche
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    Re: Something other than a tiger in your tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by XRocketman1967
    I just finished talking to the Powers To Be( ;D) and they told me the idea is to use their oil first(Middle East)and keep ours as the Trump Card so to speak.
    I worked for a miniscule oil company back in the '80's, when a lot of wells were capped because they just flat became uneconomical. We couldn't produce oil for $12 a barrel in a lot of the fields we explored. We figured most would cost 3 times that.

    I say burn the Middle East oil until they run out, then pay the big bucks to Americans for their oil.

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