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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Corn Ethanol--Big Power and Big Savings!

Jo Borras posted what is essentially an infomercial in sheep's clothing over on gas2.0 biofuels, oil, a revolution, about a company that soups up cars to get more horsepower. It's just another pro-corn ethanol blog article but it's also an example of what is becoming more and more obvious. People can be amazingly impervious to evidence, not that Obama was actually born in the United States or that global warming is real. I parse out his post below.

We’ve covered the numerous benefits of ethanol-based fuels over and over on this blog,…

I'm hard pressed to find anything that does not have some kind of benefit. Corn ethanol is like deciding to never wear clothes. The negatives overwhelm the benefits (whatever they might be).

If you’ve spoken to this bunch [ignorant, shallow-minded, self-absorbed, NASCAR enthusiasts?], you already [know] that most talk of climate change and Peak Oil concerns fall on deaf ears. What matters is power, everything else is irrelevant.

The irony in the above statement is that corn ethanol is worse than gasoline in almost every respect so it's actually a good thing that these gear heads have been ignoring Jo.

Of course, it’s easier to simply ignore this group, but the (sad?) truth …this group, more than any other, is a group that must be reached for the “green car” movement to really take hold.

Actually, it would probably be best if we did ignore this group. Very few people buy cars based on their drag racing potential. And the sad truth is that a car burning corn ethanol is anything but "green" making this whole article a reality twisting exercise.

In a nutshell, this hot rod shop has, like every other company in the world, jumped on the green wash bandwagon to hawk their products. Their gimmick is to tune turbo-charged car engines to take advantage of the higher octane rating of corn ethanol. This isn't anything new. This isn't rocket science. A higher octane rating simply means that the fuel can be compressed harder before it explodes. By monkeying around with the engine timing and turbocharger boost pressure, you can increase a car's power output by staving off the ignition spark until later in the compression cycle, allowing more fuel and air to get jammed in above the cylinder. Big whoop. But now try to put regular gas into this tuned engine and watch what happens. The fuel will pre-ignite (knock) to beat hell.

Rich cites another benefit to the E85:

100 octane race gas costs about $7.99 a gallon here. Even 91 octane costs over $3.00, easily, while the E85 averages about $2.79. Over time, this is a huge savings…

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that we can also safely ignore all of the people out there paying $7.99 a gallon for racing fuel when looking for alternative fuels and solutions to global warming. And look, he forgot to add 84 cents to the cost of that ethanol to account for the lower mileage and the 45 cent blending subsidy as well, making the real cost per gallon of the ethanol about $3.90 equivalent.

You won't get better mileage than gasoline with this tune up kit, but that fact is glossed over as well. You should get more miles out of your E85 however, not that these guys give a hoot about mileage.

Like it or not, the enthusiasts need to be reached for a universal change to happen (whether that change is to cleaner-burning bio-fuels, fuel cells, or full electric) and offering them more of what they want (power) in a more environmentally responsible package that doesn’t punish their pocketbooks is a great way to start

He made that all up. Enthusiasts are few and far between. They can safely be left out of the loop. They will compete with each other with whatever technology is handed to them, like these guys setting land speed records in a Prius and this guy with the 72 Datsun running A123 batteries (like the ones on my bike) thumping every high octane car that crosses its path. It's all relative, which is why there are so many classes of racing and types of fuel. Corn ethanol is not more environmentally responsible. This whole article is a fairy tale.

Down in the comments Jo praised some goofball a concerned commenter for parroting the standard Renewable Fuels Association talking points his unique insights on ethanol:

AWESOME stuff, Dan! Thanks for reading through and posting the thoughtful response - I’d love to read more!!

If you want to read what Dan said that Jo thought was so AWESOME go here

And if you want to see this AWESOME stuff debunked, go here, paying particular attention to myths 7, 12, and 13.

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