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  1. #1
    Trans-Urban Velocommando ax0n's Avatar
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    Foopinion: E85 Fuel

    A few weeks ago, we finally got our first E85 fuel station. I went ahead and filled our Explorer up with E85 last week just to see how it runs (It's a V6 Flexible-Fuel Explorer).

    I have my own foopinion on E85, but I'd like to hear some others. Let's not turn this into P&R. What do you think about E85, and why?
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    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    I don't think it's the answer....actually it's now jacked up the price of corn.....WTF?
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  3. #3
    Trans-Urban Velocommando ax0n's Avatar
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    You're getting close to my foopinion. Also consider that while it costs less than plain old gasoline, it gives you less miles per gallon, while still requiring a lot of energy to produce it from the raw materials.

    For selfish reasons, I'm going to see how the Exploder runs on E85 and break it down by "Miles per dollar" instead of "Miles per gallon". If the miles per dollar is higher with E85, I'll be surprised. It'll take a while to get my numbers, though. I actually filled up over a week ago. Since then my wife's driven it to work (12 mile RT) a few times, and to the hospital last night for a sleep study. It'll probably be late April or May when it's time to fill it back up, but there might be a camping trip in there somewhere. It's starting to get nice out!
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  4. #4
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    Exactly what my stance is....I knew it was less efficient per gallon beforehand.

    I'm a huge car-geek, and I keep up on stuff like that....plus I've killed a car by accidentally putting E85 into it (long story)
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  5. #5
    Trans-Urban Velocommando ax0n's Avatar
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    I'm also a fuel-head (who happens to love my bikes as well!) - Look at the URL of any picture I've posted and you'll see what I mean.

    I put straight, pure ethanol in my '81 accord when I was visiting family in Nebraska. It used to be that a lot of farmers had it, I don't know about that anymore. They also had anhydrous just laying around in tanks. Sheesh.

    For what it's worth, my Accord ran, but not well, on the stuff. I was at my uncle's grain elevator outside of Blair, NE. I only put about 2.5 gallons in a tank that showed empty, so I was probably running 60-85% ethanol anyways. No ill effects, but I did fill it with unleaded once I got into town. That was almost 10 years ago, though, when no one had heard of E85, just "Gasahol"
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  6. #6
    N_C
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    I love it, though I don't have a flex-fuel vehicle, yet. I love it because it helps my states economy. If you want to know what state I live in look at my info. My state is the number one producer of corn in the country. Because of the E85 we have a lot of ethanol plants being built in my area. It means jobs, a strong tax base, etc. We are also ranked high in soy bean production too, we also have a lot of soy based bio-diesel pumps at gas stations & bio-diesel plants.

    If you can not use E85 then at least use the E10, that is the 10% ethanol fuel. My vehicle loves the stuff.

    So please buy all that you can.

  7. #7
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    There are many problems with E85. First is that it requires more energy to produce it than you get out when combusted in your car. With gasoline, the energy to produce it came from millenia of sunlight and billions of tonnes of geological pressure, which was free to us. But to make E85, we have to expend more energy from somewhere. It's like burning 100-gallons of E85 to create 90-gallons.

    And there's simply not enough corn being grown in enough supply to be used as a fuel-source. That's caused corn-futures to skyrocket and that'll come back as higher costs for the stuff at the pump.

  8. #8
    N_C
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    There are many problems with E85. First is that it requires more energy to produce it than you get out when combusted in your car. With gasoline, the energy to produce it came from millenia of sunlight and billions of tonnes of geological pressure, which was free to us. But to make E85, we have to expend more energy from somewhere. It's like burning 100-gallons of E85 to create 90-gallons.

    And there's simply not enough corn being grown in enough supply to be used as a fuel-source. That's caused corn-futures to skyrocket and that'll come back as higher costs for the stuff at the pump.
    There is enough corn, in fact there is more then enough, in some area more then they know what to do with right now. But right now there is not enough production plants. They are being constructed as we speak. In my area alone, within a 40 or 50 mile radius, there are going to be about 4 or 5 of them. It only takes about 6 to 9 months to build one of these facilities, that is pretty fast considering. Once there are enough plants producing the fuel the price will lower & stabalize. Just be patient & give it time.

  9. #9
    explody pup
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    Petroleum-based fuel is still the most efficient source of transportation-fuel we have. It'd be interesting to see just how much petroleum is used to make a gallon of E85 vs. a gallon of naphtha. I don't think E85 is the answer, partially because any combustion-based energy is going to produce CO2, at best, and any number of hazardous byproducts, at worst. It's good we're trying something else, but I think E85 is more an effect of influencial lobbyists rather than a genuine concern about the environment or freeing ourselves from foreign energy supplies.

    Nuke energy would be great if people weren't so frightened of it. Solar would be even better. But that's going to require a pretty significant breakthrough in solar panel efficiency and as well as storage capability. Storage seems to be on the way, though, with the development of nano-technology. I've read a couple articles about carbon nano-tubes that basically act as millions of tiny capacitors. Theoretically, they can hold a charge as long, if not longer, than your standard rechargable batteries today. On top of that, they can build a full charge in less than a minute since you're only putting a charge into a bunch of capacitors rather than reversing a chemical reaction.

    When something like that comes about, then I'll have a hard-on. E85, not so much.

  10. #10
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    E85: medium full bodied, quite floral in character, with good depth and balance, and a very long, persistent finish. It tastes of apple, honeysuckle, peach, lime, and cherimoya.

    Regular 87 octane: supple in texture, full bodied, moderately rich, and fruity in style (apple, lime), with overtones of lemon grass and herbs. Great value. Unwooded.

    I would drink either on a regular basis, but I am a bit of traditionalist so I am gonna stay with 87 octane for the immediate future.
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  11. #11
    explody pup
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    87 Octane has too many impurities for my tastes. I usually just get some naphtha from the hardware store and keep my old Mountain Dew bottle half-way full of it. A quick stop and a couple deep huffs and I'm right as rain!

  12. #12
    Parts Guy Gravity Worx's Avatar
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    I don't like the E-85 fuel.
    The ethonal content eats the fuel lines and seels out of my snowmobiles, Higher alcohal content makes a false lean condition (lean is hot and this can equal catastrophic engine failure)
    It doesn't produce the same energy out put when burnt and this equals less MPG along with less power making it a much less efficiant fuel.
    The price is higher than regular gasoline causing a much higher cost per mile and this will hurt the economy far mor than the corn and E-85 production can help.

    I think alternative fuels and the like are a great thing.
    Just not E-85 as it is right now. I'd say to work on it more and come back next year with all of these issues taken care of.

  13. #13
    Cat3.*....Cat2 asmallsol's Avatar
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    E85 is a load of political redoric and great for votes, horrible for the environment. Plain states love it because it means more bussiness for them, and the 4 biggest swing states love it because E85 uses about 1.2 units of energy to produce to yeild 1 unit of energy. The 4 biggest swing states are also the 4 biggest Coal producers. Because of the energy required to make the corn into usable fuel, tons of coal needs to be used. Coal emitts more C02 emissions then oil, so your actually producing more C02 then burning straight oil/gas in your car. In addition, the e85 also breaks down to C02 so your now emitting even more c02. Finally, the actual energy storage of ethanol is less then gasoline per unit volume, so your going to need more volume to yeild the same mileage. So allthough it is slightly cheaper per gallon, your fuel consumption is going to be higher, so you may even spend slightly more for gas in the end.

    E85, good for Votes, Bad for the Environment/practicality.

  14. #14
    N_C
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    IMO if you use 87 or lower octane then you are either a cheap skate or hate your engine. You should be using at least 89 or 90 octane if it is available. Yes 2 or 3 more octane does make a differance.

    Most car manufacturers building cars after 1990 recommend no less then 89 octane. Most gas stations have a selection of 87, 90 & 93 Octane fuels, some have no lower then 89 octane. Typically the 87 & 89 or 90 Octane are the same price & the 89 or 90 Octane is usually the E10, or 10% Ethanol where it is available, which is in most areas of the midwest. In some areas the 89 or 90 Octane is less expensive then the 87 Octane as well.

    Bottom line if it is available use 89 or higher octane. You may be spending a few cents less a gallon right now. But the repair costs later will more then eat that up because you didn't use it now.

  15. #15
    N_C
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravity Worx
    I don't like the E-85 fuel.
    The ethonal content eats the fuel lines and seels out of my snowmobiles, Higher alcohal content makes a false lean condition (lean is hot and this can equal catastrophic engine failure)
    It doesn't produce the same energy out put when burnt and this equals less MPG along with less power making it a much less efficiant fuel.
    The price is higher than regular gasoline causing a much higher cost per mile and this will hurt the economy far mor than the corn and E-85 production can help.

    I think alternative fuels and the like are a great thing.
    Just not E-85 as it is right now. I'd say to work on it more and come back next year with all of these issues taken care of.
    You're only supposed to use it in an engine designed for it. You should know whether or not your engine can handle it. Right now as far as I know only passenger vehicles can use the E85 & only if it is a flex-fuel engine. Things like lawn mowers, snow throwers, snow mobiles, motorcycles, etc probably can not & therefore should not use the E85 fuel. So of course it will damage your engine. if it not supposed to be used in it. That is your fault if that happens.

  16. #16
    Up on the Down Side CyLowe97's Avatar
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    IMO if you use 87 or lower octane then you are either a cheap skate or hate your engine. You should be using at least 89 or 90 octane if it is available. Yes 2 or 3 more octane does make a differance.
    ^^ BUNK^^

    In fact, some cars run better on 87 and most manufacturers will state that you should use 87.

    It varies, depending on the car, of course.

    And apropos for this thread.... YMMV

    The E85 debate is a good one, by the way. Just as the Hydrogen potential is a good debate. The more they are used, the more technology will catch up to make them viable. Also, the more that alternate energies will emerge to challenge and replace them as better resources.

    The geopolitical and natural viability of traditional gasoline make the alternatives attractive, but with many technologies there needs to be a profit for the producers/sellers before they will truly take off.

  17. #17
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N_C
    IMO if you use 87 or lower octane then you are either a cheap skate or hate your engine. You should be using at least 89 or 90 octane if it is available. Yes 2 or 3 more octane does make a differance.

    Most car manufacturers building cars after 1990 recommend no less then 89 octane. Most gas stations have a selection of 87, 90 & 93 Octane fuels, some have no lower then 89 octane. Typically the 87 & 89 or 90 Octane are the same price & the 89 or 90 Octane is usually the E10, or 10% Ethanol where it is available, which is in most areas of the midwest. In some areas the 89 or 90 Octane is less expensive then the 87 Octane as well.

    Bottom line if it is available use 89 or higher octane. You may be spending a few cents less a gallon right now. But the repair costs later will more then eat that up because you didn't use it now.
    Just not true. Modern cars have sensors that will detect knock and ****** timing. Run whatever octane the car maker says. Higher octane than required gives no benefit.

    What's the benefit of higher octane?

    Higher octane fuel has only one beneficial feature - it allows an engine to run at higher temperatures with more advanced ignition timing under higher levels of compression witout detonating / knocking. Higher octane fuel does NOT have more potential energy and will not make an engine perform better unless that engine is knocking. On modern engines with knock sensors, higher octane fuel may make the engine run better if the knock sensors are retarding the ignition timing, which hinders performance. High octane fuel does not burn cleaner, it does not clean your engine, it does not increase horsepower or torque (unless you are experiencing knock), it does not smell better, it does not increase fuel economy (unless you are experiencing knock) and is not better for the environment. If you buy higher octane fuels for any of the above reasons, STOP!

    When should I switch to a higher octane fuel?

    First off, never run lower octane fuel than is recommended by the vehicle's manufacturer. If the vehicle manufacturer recommends 89 octane gasoline, this means that the engine has been tuned to perform optimally without detonation on 89 octane fuel. Once you've done some modifications to your engine, the manufacturer's recommended gasoline may no longer suffice. Obviously, if you can hear detonation inside your engine in the form of pinging or "knocking", try a higher octane fuel. You will also need to run a premium grade fuel (91+ octane) if you have a supercharger, turbocharger, or if you have an ignition programmer that advances your ignition timing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
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  18. #18
    N_C
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyLowe97
    In fact, some cars run better on 87 and most manufacturers will state that you should use 87.
    Every vehicle I have ever driven, owned, rented, etc. where I had to put fuel in required no less then 89 octane fuel. I actually look at the sticker in the drivers door. The one that says what octane & how much pressure to put in the tires. I have been driving for the better part of 20 years.

    I suppose next you're going to tell me not to follow the recommended tire pressure & it is ok to put less in.
    Last edited by N_C; 03-30-07 at 08:46 AM.

  19. #19
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    My Ford owners manual tells me to run 87 octane. It goes on to tell me that if "I experience starting, rough idle, hesitation or driveability problems to change brands of fuel. Premium unleaded gasoline is not reccomended for vehicles desgined to use regular unleaded gasoline because it may cause these problems to become more pronounced." So Ford is telling me not to go up in octane grade. That is straight from teh owners manual of my 2005 Ford Freestyle.
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
    Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

  20. #20
    Up on the Down Side CyLowe97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N_C
    Every vehicle I have ever driven, owned, rented, etc. where I had to put fuel in required no less then 89 octane fuel. I actually look at the sticker in the drivers door. The one that says what octane & how much pressure to put in the tires. I have been driving for the better part of 20 years.

    I suppose next you're going to tell me not to follow the recommended tire pressure & it is ok to put less in.
    If you're going to quote me, please feel free to not quote me in full context.

    Quote Originally Posted by CyLowe97
    It varies, depending on the car, of course.

  21. #21
    explody pup
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyLowe97
    please feel me in full
    Weirdo.

  22. #22
    N_C
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyLowe97
    If you're going to quote me, please feel free to not quote me in full context.
    I edited it, is that better? A little sensative about it are we?

  23. #23
    Up on the Down Side CyLowe97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N_C
    I edited it, is that better? A little sensative about it are we?
    Just keeping you honest in your attempts at knocking others down on the playground while maintaining your amazing perfection at the game of life.

  24. #24
    Up on the Down Side CyLowe97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by explody pup
    Weirdo.
    You feel free to misquote me anytime, my lovely asterisk avatared plaything.

  25. #25
    Trans-Urban Velocommando ax0n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravity Worx
    I don't like the E-85 fuel.
    The ethonal content eats the fuel lines and seels out of my snowmobiles, Higher alcohal content makes a false lean condition (lean is hot and this can equal catastrophic engine failure)
    Well duh! Don't use it in an engine not designed for it! FFVs have corrosion resistant coatings, and fuel lines, o-rings, and seals that won't get eaten or degraded by exposure to alcohol.
    It doesn't produce the same energy out put when burnt and this equals less MPG along with less power making it a much less efficiant fuel.
    With proper stoichiometry, the power loss and the aforementioned false lean condition are not as big of a deal. This requires the engine control and fuel management systems to "know" you're running E85. On a carbureted engine with mechanical timing (dynamo and/or coil with mechanical distributor), the needle valves and spark timing will need to be adjusted for proper combustion.
    The price is higher than regular gasoline causing a much higher cost per mile and this will hurt the economy far mor than the corn and E-85 production can help.
    $2.06 for E85 vs. $2.56 for 87 Unleaded. I do believe that part of the lower cost is due to government subsidization, however.
    I think alternative fuels and the like are a great thing.
    Just not E-85 as it is right now. I'd say to work on it more and come back next year with all of these issues taken care of.
    I don't really think there's much that can be done with E85 to make it a "great thing". Human powered transportation for short trips, efficient vehicles for longer trips, combining errands, car pooling, and buying locally grown and made goods/food will go a lot further to reduce our foreign oil dependancy than E85 could ever hope to.
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