Hilariously, gas sold for non-highway use (like farms) is not required to contain ethanol, and usually doesn't. They'll push it on all of us, but won't use it themselves.
E10 is not regular gasoline with some ethanol added. E10 is a lower grade of gas with ethanol added. That lower grade of gas degrades in a few months.
Do you have any suggestions where you find more accurate more info? This West Marine webpage seems quite a bit more reputable, a lot less alarmist, but seems to similar assertions:
It is really hard to find unbiased sources.
From what I can tell (lots of sources, but I'm not sure where I read all this so you have to decide if you believe an admitted amateur in all this): gasoline is a mix of molecules. Some of them evaporate faster than others (read lower octane) - these are generally cheaper and some have more energy when burned. Some will break down into other molecules (air and/or water is a catalyst factor here) forming what looks like varnish and smells like turpentine. Gasoline is a mix of these (depending on temperature, cost and EPA rules).
Water is interesting. Depending on temperature you can mix up to about 5% water in gasoline, and surprisingly in a warm engine you get more power/MPG when you do this (engines won't start as well though). This was commonly done until the mid 1980s because adding water is a cheap way for a gas station to make their fuel cheaper than the competition while still claiming good fuel.
Ethanol makes things tricky. Ethanol and water mix just fine (common beer is a little ethanol and a lot of water), OR ethanol and gasoline mix well. However all three do not mix: if you mix ethanol, water and gasoline you end up with a layer of ethanol/water and a layer of gasoline. (you can mix up to .1% water with ethanol and gasoline but that is so low as to not count).
Now some simple math (meaning wrong but close enough): if you mix 1% water with E10 your ethanol layer is 10% water - this is enough water that you won't be able to start your engine, though if it is already running it would run. If you had 100% ethanol that amount of water wouldn't be a problem: the engine would run fine 1% water 99% ethanol.
Ethanol doesn't absorb water from the air. However when (not if) water condenses [temperature changes] in the fuel tank ethanol will absorb it. Thus in a humid environment where fuel is stored long ethanol will separate just from water in the air. This is often said the be ethanol absorbing water from the air but that isn't exactly what happens.
Only seven states actually require the use of E10 for non-farm gas. All the others are just using it to satisfy the corn lobby.
Of course, it'd be better if we just stopped using those small engines altogether... one leaf blower being used for one day puts out as much pollution as a Ford Raptor pickup in 100,000 miles.
The gumming up of ethanol mixed fuels is due to the poor quality of gasoline base that is used.
"Dry Gas" is usually just some sort of alcohol, which mixes with both water and gasoline. Add dry gas, the water mixes into the fuel and is pushed/burned off.
Ethanol somewhat made sense before fracking: US needed a source of fuel that didn't come from overseas. But now the US is a net exporter of oil due to the fracking boom, so we've solved the "US-sourced" fuel problem.
That statement presumes that you know what ethanol-free gasoline would cost. It is often possible to find ethanol-free gas if you look for it, but at least here in HI it is substantially more expensive.
Farmers are behind it. They grow far more food than people eat, turning it into fuel keeps a large majority of them on the farm. If you don't like it don't buy it - right now it isn't even legal for you to buy E15 half the year. (all cars since 2001 can use E15 safely, but legally only flex fuel cars are allowed to use E15 in summer) E15 is generally cheaper than E10 by a small amount - farmers figure they can make E15 cheaper by enough to make it worth it for some drivers.
You have a source for this assertion?
I had a 2012 model year vehicle that explicitly mentioned E10 as the highest concentration blend.
Summary: the EPA has done extensive testing and that is the source I use. Manufactures have not tested and don't agree. Your choice who to believe, but I stand by my statement.
It fulfills the role of oxygenate, which reduces noxious tailpipe emissions. The previous major additive, MTBE, is a persistent environmental contaminant.
So you have a matrix of the cost of adding the oxygenates and the costs of not adding them and so on.
If the goal is to control emissions, then set standards on the emissions and let people use any solution that achieves those standards. If ethanol is the best way to achieve good emissions standards then people will choose it on their own.
Instead of subsidizing a single solution to some kind of externality we should be taxing the cost of the externality itself and allowing all potential solutions to bid on the mitigation...
My car's owner's manual specifically says not to use fuel with greater than 10% ethanol. I don't want to play Russian Roulette with my fuel system.
Most consumer gasoline already has ethanol mixed in, I doubt a modest increase will be an issue.
Also, most consumer stations have 10% (unleaded), 85% (e85), or 100% (racing). I'm not aware of any stations that consistently offer anything between 10% and 85%.
I suspect your car's warning it warning against e85 and racing fuel.
Unless you buy a car specifically built for E85 or higher fuel this is not true.
It may vary regionally, but E85 is not widely available where I live (middle of corn country, midwest USA) compared to regular gasoline or diesel.
There are a lot of stations in Iowa that offer E15. Few other states even have one. Even in Iowa a lot of stations have said they won't sell it because of the legal issues.
But the irony is that the gasoline that is mixed with ethanol is absolutely the lowest quality. The octane will be much lower than 87 and the gasoline base also appears to corrode metals as well as eat rubber. People complain that the alcohol is what destroys, but in this case, it is the pure alcohol that is actually making the low quality gasoline stable enough to be put into a normal car.
What would a gallon of E15 cost without the corn subsidy?
The emissions argument seems like a complete loser for ethanol.
Why would the EPA be involved, if not for emissions reasons?
The argument about net-zero or negative energy life-cycle return isn't what is meant by "emissions". In automobiles the exhaust pipe is considered a point source, not the combined sum of the production process including a tractor being run a thousand miles away from downtown LA or Houston.
Corn is generally not transported 1000s of miles. Most ethanol plants source their corn locally. Corn transported long distances is done, but generally not for ethanol plants which are located in small rural towns with a lot of corn farmers around. Even in the case of a local crop failure there is still a lot of corn locally so most of the corn will still be local
Even when corn is transported 1000s of miles (generally for feed purposes, though as above, sometimes there isn't local corn) it is generally transported by train not truck which is much more efficient.
OK, so we subsidize ethanol production... because? It's not because turning what could be food into fuel is good for "the environment" really. It's definitely not good for actually feeding people. (Diversion of what could be food-productive land to ethanol is responsible for increase in subsistence food costs for poor people worldwide).
But anyway, we subsidize it. Mostly to help farmers. Fine, you gotta help farmers somehow.
> The government hopes that by permitting the higher blend of ethanol, drivers will be paying less at the pump.
OK, since we're subsidizing it, making it cheaper than gasoline, now we gotta allow more of it, so consumers will "pay less at the pump". Not because, you know, it's inherently cheaper or anything, but just because we subsidize it.
But at least people will get to pay less for gas. Uh, what's that you say?
> But for consumers, more ethanol means lower overall fuel economy since ethanol only possesses two-thirds the energy content of a gallon of gasoline. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that a 10 percent ethanol blend into gasoline will decrease a car's overall fuel economy by three percent; this means that increasing ethanol to a 15 percent blend will bring the average fuel economy down 4.5 percent when compared to just straight gasoline.
Okay, so maybe they're not paying _as much_ less at the pump as they thought. Presumably the per-gallon cost is at least 4.5% less than gasoline, so at least they're still paying _something_ less at the pump... I hope. If it's less than 4.5% less than straight gasoline, of course they're paying more, they just don't realize it. (And let's not talk about older cars whose engines can't handle it and which will be harmed, unless you knew that and... bought the premium gas instead? Still saving money at the pump?)
But at least it's PROBABLY not releasing MORE air pollution than gasoline, if you believe the ethanol industry's researchers over other researchers. Great!
The whole thing MAKES NO SENSE. The whole ethanol thing is garbage policy.
That was originally promoted as somehow "good for the environment." (It is not). This is why "oh, maybe it won't help that much, but every little bit helps" is never a good reason to do things "good for the environment." Some things are just BS. (And don't get me wrong, i think we DESPERATELY need to do a LOT more "good for the environment" (and climate change), which is why this kind of BS is SO BAD).
At least this article is better than most and gives you enough facts to connect the dots if you're paying attention.
As for mandating the amount required to be blended into fuel, I agree that doesn't make sense.