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Old 12-06-2007, 02:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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[Article] Better Fuel Economy with Ethanol?

Here's the first bit of the article, read more here:
Quote:
Research findings released today indicate that mid-range ethanol blends—fuel mixtures with more ethanol than 10% (E10) but less than 85% (E85)—can in some cases provide better fuel economy than regular unleaded gasoline, even in standard, non-flex-fuel vehicles. The new study, co-sponsored by the US Department of Energy and the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), also found that mid-range ethanol blends reduce harmful tailpipe emissions.

Previous assumptions held that ethanol’s lower energy content directly correlates with lower fuel economy for drivers. Those assumptions were found to be incorrect. Instead, the new research suggests that there is an optimal blend level of ethanol and gasoline—most likely E20 or E30—at which cars will get better mileage than predicted based strictly on the fuel’s per-gallon Btu content. The optimal blend varies with the vehicle, according to the findings.

The University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) and the Minnesota Center for Automotive Research (MnCAR) conducted the research using four 2007 model vehicles: a Toyota Camry, a Ford Fusion and two Chevrolet Impalas, one flex-fuel and one non-flex-fuel.
Certainly not a large sample size (only using 4 cars), but it is interesting. Another thing to be wary of is the fact that it is sponsored by an ethanol business association.

However, it is interesting to read and I think lazarus has done some of his own testing that shows something similar.

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Old 12-06-2007, 02:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Something tells me that the engine management is a factor here... Mostly because the optimal point varies from car to car... Perhaps not completely, but something worth controlling.
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Old 12-06-2007, 02:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I know that when I ran 3 gallons of E85 along with ~7 gallons of 87 octane (up to 10% ethanol here in MN), I got worse gas mileage in my VX. So I was basically running 32.5% ethanol in that tank (somebody correct me if my math is flawed). Maybe I'll try running only 2gals mixed in this next tank and run like that for a few tanks. Right now, E85 is ~$2.15/gallon and 87 octane (e10) is $2.75/gallon. If anything it will help clean my combustion chamber, valves, fuel system and save me a little money.
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Old 12-06-2007, 02:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Math Checks Out
It would be 25.5-32.5%

2 Gallons would be:
17-24%

The range because we really can't know if there's Ethanol and if so, what percentage up to 10 :/
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Old 12-06-2007, 03:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yeah, aren't those stickers great when they say "contains up to 10% ethanol"?

I'll try two gallons next time...I'm at a half tank now (~250 miles) and will fill up next week when I hit ~400 miles. I do have a longer trip planned this weekend though that may make that fill up happen sooner.
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Old 12-06-2007, 03:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trebuchet03 View Post
Something tells me that the engine management is a factor here...
I'm in agreement there.

I would venture so far as to suggest that if you're driving an older car with no knock sensor tied to dynamic ignition timing, you will in fact see a decrease in mileage from the lower energy content of the blended fuel.

Going to read up a bit on it now, to see if my hot-headed initial response has any merit...
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Old 12-06-2007, 03:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I've had good luck with ethanol in 2 different car(2.0L and 1.6 L). I saw increases with E15 (give or take since we don't know the % of the source) of about 3%. I have run varying mixtures of ethanol from E0 to E85. A mixture of E50 only decreased my FE by 7%. I took a huge hit at E85 almost 26%. I think that a mixture at E50 with the car tuned to run on it and you might get it down to 5% loss or so. Here's
a link that I think that article came from. It's from the ethanol folks so take it with a grain of salt but I have had experience along the same line.

GHG are down, (15-25%) depending on how they make it, with ethanol but there are some nasty small particle stuff to deal with. E85 increased acetaldehyde
(1250%-4340%) and formaldehyde (7%-240%), two important ozone precursors. So pick your poison.
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Old 12-06-2007, 03:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The comments at GCC are typical high-quality. I recommend going through them.

My favourite:

Quote:
So what they found can pretty much be described as
"It depends on the car model whether or not you won't get a mileage decrease. And no single blend fits the bill."
On top of that, you can be sure that the co-sponsor American Coalition for Ethanol is acutely aware of the fact that it is next to impossible for the average motorist to distinguish any effect on their fuel economy (outside of normal tank to tank variation) by fuelling their vehicle with an ethanol blend.

In the LABORATORY they were able to discern a 1% and 3% improvement in the non-optimized vehicles. By its nature, fuel additive testing is really difficult to do outside of a lab.

Joe Public has no hope of discerning a change of that size over the course of a tank in real world conditions, never mind understanding the concept of wishful thinking and experimenter bias.

Yet ACE knows that if they can get media coverage, Joe Public is going to pick up on this story and go try it.

It's almost as if they watched the whole acetone debacle and said, "hey we can do that too, but on a corporate scale!"
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Old 08-25-2009, 12:04 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Better mileage? Hogwash.

It's nearly impossible for the "average Joe" to discern effects of fuel mixtures by driving around town in their daily lives. Only by doing the same route under similar atmospheric and driving conditions can any basis in fact be shown. I have something almost as good...a biweekly trip up the length of California on Cal. 99 from Lancaster to Chowchilla and return. This happens on Sundays, and traffic is minimal, allowing cruise control operation. This is a very old car, a Chrysler M-body with California emissions package and the 318 "P" engine. Since the state banned MBTE (itself a corporate scam that turned out to be both insidious and carcinogenic) I've been able to screw around with various fuel mixtures on a vehicle in excellent condition with baseline tuning settings.

Basic timing was set at 8 per factory specification, and all parts of the Chrysler SCA-II system are in operating condition as tested. Here's the verdict. At a near-constant 65 MPH except for departure and arrival times, MBTE-laced 89 octane fuel would reliably yield 25.2 MPG overall. These cars were well known in their day for being stingy with fuel (and with power) and high road mileage was common, as long as they had the 2 bbl. 318, lockup Torqflite and the 2.21:1 rear end. E10 showed up, and the mileage instantly plummeted to 21. Inspection of all three catalytic converters showed them to be in fine condition, with no appreciable extra back pressure, and all facets of ignition and carburation were checked and rechecked. The mileage stayed anchored at around 21. Then, after hearing the baloney that ETOH has a higher octane than regular gas, I switched to 87. The car barely made it to 18 MPG, as the knock detector was working overtime retarding the timing under load to prevent ping. Disconnecting the sensor yielded dangerous levels of detonation. For further runs, I switched to 92 octane, and ping is STILL a problem, which it never was before. Only by using premium E10 and jacking the basic timing up to 10 was I able to get up to 22.5 MPG average, and detonation on a dry day is a continual problem. That goes away for the most part on more humid days, proving that the fuel is the problem, not the engine.

WAKE UP! This ethanol scam showed up under the guise of "helping farmers" thanks to the constantly corrupt Bush Administration. Surely, something had to be done about MBTE, but this was a reward directly targeted at Bush's (and the right wing Republicans') corporate base. The great San Joaquin Valley of California, formerly "America's Breadbasket", used to planted on both sides of Cal. 99 with vegetables and table fruits. Now, acre after acre, even in the current drought, are being planted in feed-grade corn. There's a reason for this...screw people, let's make MONEY! Food prices and scattered shortages are already being reported. This isn't Brazil, people...we don't have enough arable land to replace our crop growing farmland with ethanol producing, water wasting corn!

On the upside, emissions are down even further than before, with the 25 year old catalytic converter still working as intended and CO and HC levels even further below California limits than before. CO is a paltry 5% of allowable! The cats are devoid of any deposits whatsoever, as are the plugs an piston crowns. MBTE used to, among other things, leave nasty little hard deposits all through the combustion and exhaust tracts, which just isn't there anymore. We won't even get into the damage MBTE did to synthetic rubber parts! Engine oil stays even cleaner than before, as well.

Bear in mind, this is a carbureted vehicle with only perfunctory engine management technology based mostly on single O2 sensors varying a solenoid controlled main jet, but the answer is clear and backs up the experiences of many others. E10 is responsible for a 15-25% DECREASE in fuel economy on these vehicles. Just to prove the point, I did as others have and made my own "E30" as a test of the octane and mileage "optimized mixture" claims. They're bull. Octane goes DOWN with further addiction of ETOH, and mileage on it was down to 17.8 MPG for that particular trip, worst of any.

America has once again been bamboozled by the powerful oil lobby (who controls the ethanol cartel) and used Dubya and his much smarter criminal VP to foist this scam on the country. Of course, the Republican farm lobbies are rolling in dough...YOUR dough! Note, however, that cars with modern engine management equipment MAY experience less of a loss in economy, but most likely at commensurate loss of power production.

More later on a 2008 Dodge Avenger with the 2.4L Itsachitty engine and CA tuning. Early tests there show less of a loss, but the unavailability of "E0" in California is complicating matters considerably.

Oh...part of what's happening to your "E10"? A LOT of it is winding up in your evap cannister on a hot day. My Chrysler has a hard time running after that thing purges, something never experienced with MBTE-laced gasoline.
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Old 08-25-2009, 12:23 AM   #10 (permalink)
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i just used 89 octane with 10% ethanol (it was cheaper than pure 87). i got 36mpg, same as the last 2 tanks of 87 with no ethanol. same driving conditions. not much to go on, but i didn't see any increase.

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