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Advisor

ethanol blend rates

This has been an admittedly highly unscientific study, but anyway. For better than a month I've been running a very rough approximation of e-15 in an old Olds with a 3800 engine (don't have a blender pump nearby) and it has run just fine, no problems.

 

As I said, very unscientific but I was relatively sure it would run just fine to somewhere well over the 10% rating. I'm not going to test it any higher.

 

And don't even know why I bother to report this because there are numerous reasons why it's irrelevant.

 

But if there was any regard for basic economics in regards to ethanol blending there ought to be a band- say 7-13%- rather than a hard blend mandate.

 

There's too little time to list the multitude of bureacratic and political reasons why that would never be considered but I suppose the most immediate and salient fact is that the automakers wouldn't go for a blend over 10% for older vehicles. Really nothing in it for them to do so other than future problems. And anyway, the corn industry might have wanted e-15 but it was an inconvenient fact that the corn industry hadn't proven that it could supply the corn.

 

Just sayin' that is what more rational policy would look like. Not saying it's going to happen.

 

Another of the multitude of reasons why not is that it would require admitting that the old one wasn't very rational. 

 

 

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Senior Contributor

Re: ethanol blend rates

Why set the range at 7-14%?

Seems to me 10-15% would be a better range, expecially since your personal test on an olds showed at the 15% level, no performance problems.

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Honored Advisor

Re: ethanol blend rates

It would seem to me that a real cost:benefit analysis of blending rate ought to calculate in the rise in food costs from any increase in ethanol fuel use. I do not follow the issue closely enough to know how the RFS is derived.
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Friend

Re: ethanol blend rates

I am not sure where you live, but unless it is one of the few states that have a mandate, the RFS does not set a 10% hard blend rate. In fact, the statutory rates are above that of 10% today. It is based off of gasoline gallons predicted by EIA. Retailers can have a range between 7% and 14%, assuming their franchise agreement allows it. They have to label anything below 10.5% as E10 and anything from 10.6% to 15% as E15. Anything higher than that is currently restricted to flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs). E15 is restrictited to 2001 and newer vehicles. That said, that is more than 75% of all light duty cars on the roads today, and those select vehicles use more than 85% of all unleaded sold today. Big market. As for corn supply, there is plenty of corn to go past the 10% and the 15% blend marks. That said, there is a maximum of 15 billion gallons that can come from corn ethanol in the RFS.

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Advisor

Re: ethanol blend rates

Working back to the total mandate via blend rates.

 

You want more, fine, when the price permits do it. But you have to be willing to give something up when the margins don't.

 

That is more approximately a free market approach.

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Friend

Re: ethanol blend rates

Not sure I follow, maybe I didn't understand what you meant from the start. With only a few exceptions in the past 10 years, ethanol has always been less expensive than gasoline. Economics have never meant anything to Big Oil, they blend only what they are required to blend. Consumers don't get the choice unless another mechanism makes it happen, like the RFS. On top of that, Big Oil still receives billions annually in taxpayer support. The ethanol subsidy ended in 2011. There is no free market in fuel.

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Advisor

Re: ethanol blend rates

This sort of feels like stepping into a time machine and being at a meeting with lobbyists from the Mayan Forest Owners Association and the Woodcutters Union.

 

You actually proved my point- you can blend at 7%. So let the mandate base there with a cap at 14.

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Friend

Re: ethanol blend rates

You would not be able to sell 7% from June 1 to September 15, just to be clear. During those months you can only sell between 9-10% for E10.

 

I use E15 and E85. Why take that away from me and the millions of others that use it?

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Advisor

Re: ethanol blend rates

After doing some more important stuff (which would be most anything) and thinking about it I conclude that I'm a few degrees off on this.

 

Still looking for a way to find more elasticity in what I regard as a seriously flawed policy.

 

Or actually it was a seriously flawed policy. Now that we've grown our way out of it is probably a just fine policy if left alone. Whatever costs were accrued are now deeply sunk.

 

As far as energy policy, move on.

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Senior Advisor

Re: ethanol blend rates

Kaye  - Extracking fuel from corn being an effect on food prices compares making pork chops expensive due the  price of manure in your lagoons having increased due phosphate priceing at the coop --- the key word is starch ---

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