Saturday, September 25, 2010

EPA advised to wait on ethanol decision

Dependence on foreign oil is a hot topic, however it isn’t a new one. Each and every president since Jimmy Carter has said something about yet. Ethanol is one of the many substitute fuels that have been suggested. Most gas stations use E10, or a 10 percent ethanol mixture, within the gas they sell already. The new mixture contained 15 percent ethanol, or E15, is about to be released as well as the Environmental Protection Agency has determine whether to approve it for use in older vehicles. Since the amount of evidence is not ample enough to really decide, automakers are urging the Environmental Protection Agency to hold off. Article source – EPA urged to mull over ethanol by automakers by Car Deal Expert.

E15 and the EPA

Currently, the EPA is finding out what it can concerning the launch of E15. E15 means a 15 percent ethanol gas mixture. Currently, it is being tested by the Department of Energy, according to Popular Mechanics. The idea is find out if it works in cars no older than 10 years old. That is not an incredibly realistic testing range. About 88 percent of all vehicles in use in the United States are over 10 years of age. The Auto Alliance, a consortium of car manufacturers, has urged the Environmental Protection Agency not for making any ruling on E15 until Auto Alliance studies have been completed. At least one study, by engineering group Ricardo, Inc., found that E15 has no harmful effects on vehicles older than 10 years.

Ethanol as gas

Ethanol is a portmanteau of the name of the compound ethyl alcohol. In other words, ethanol is booze. It is a flammable and combustible chemical. That said, ethanol has 34 percent less energy per unit of volume than gasoline, according to Wikipedia. As result, an ethanol-only engine uses 50 percent more fuel than a gasoline engine. With greater compression, ethanol engines can produce more power and become more efficient. Even with a larger engine at higher compression, ethanol fueled vehicles can’t get better mileage than gas engines.

Unintentional consequences

Use of ethanol is not likely to be totally curtailed. Grain has been a fuel crop for a while, and will continue. However, ethanol will never be able to supplant gasoline as a fuel. Grain will become more scarce, and therefore increase in price should much more of the grain harvest be converted to fuel. Cheap grain is more significant in the long run. Civilization itself is only made possible with cheap and abundant grain.

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