Skeptical look at ethanol as a fuel.

worth a read

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1 Response to Skeptical look at ethanol as a fuel.

  1. splante says:

    I’d thought I’d read that the higher octane meant that if the vehicle was designed for it, it could make up the difference. I found what I’d read, and they were a little tricky, saying, “Research indicates Ford FFVs experience a 5% horsepower gain on E85.” Who cares what the “horsepower” is per say, if you’re asking about mpg.

    This page confirms that you’ll spend more at current prices using E85 than with gas at current prices. It’s a pretty cool tool — you can click a link at the bottom and change the number of daily city/hwy miles, prices for each fuel, etc. I had to go to something near $3.21 for gas and 2.21 for E85 to make the E85 cheaper. Since it’s a .gov site, it’s somewhat “authoritative.” At least more so than one run by the “National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition.” (

    All that being said, it’s certainly possible that a significant enough price difference could develop to where E85 would be cheaper. This link is supposedly the text of a WSJ article.
    “U.S. trade barriers make Brazilian ethanol and its sugar expensive to buy.”
    So just remove the trade barriers?! Lots of other good stuff in there, though. They’re partly at an advantage because sugar cane is a much better raw material than corn. They’ve also been investing heavily in R&D since 1975. They increased the output from 2000 liters of ethanol per hectare to 6000 in 30 years, and they now make ethanol for about $1/gal.

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