For which cases would you be postulating that, and from what sources?
Only sources I've seen that draw that conclusion rely on assumptions
that neglect portions of the cycle (such as the solar input on the input
side or the usable byproducts on the output) or from very old
sources/processes. These sources have uniformly been funded by groups
whose agenda is to discredit them (like the ads run locally in this area
against a new power plant permit on the basis of air pollution and
carbon sequestration that were actually financed by a large natural gas
producer who is lobbying for new natural gas-fired plants. Talk about a
way to waste a much more valuable resource for other purposes in order
to have a short-term gain! :( ).
While I'll agree wholeheartedly biofuels aren't going to be the full
answer, they will make a significant conribution, particularly during a
transition period until H or other more exotics are available.
Consider me a source. When I use fuels with up to 10% alcohol I typically
get in excess of a 10% drop in gas mileage.
If it work out better I would admit it, from my stand point alcohol is
simply a filler that burns but does not contribute.
I don't know, that is a number you pulled out of your hat. I can assure
that alcohol does not improve nor maintain gas mileage.
I do know that those lighter weight E85 vehivles that I test drove with
smaller engines had EPA gas mileage estimates that were 10 to 15% less than
the vehivle that I bought with 25-30% more hp.
Houston also has a lot of sit and wait in traffic.
I find cooler gives better gas mileage and when vacationing in the mountains
the gas mileage really does not suffer much. Hills are offset by down
You can see lots of data here:
A 2008 Tahoe Flex Fuel vehicles get EPA estimates of 14/20 city/highway
when running on Gasoline vs. 11/15 on E85. Fuel economy on E85 is thus
about 75% of that on Gasoline in this test.
That's where the newness is still a detriment as mentioned previously.
At present, the distribution and blending is still in the hands of the
oil company distributors who have little, if any, incentive to make it
cost-competitive. There are a few places (AgriTalk guy on radio based
in St Louis mentioned it just the other day) where it is, indeed priced
based on actual costs, but many places aren't yet as you're seeing,
unfortunately. It was about 40-cents less than premium iirc, that
particular day there in his area of St Louis.
It'll take time, but it's gradually happening and will eventually sort
out its place in the market as the ethanol producers get sufficient
infrastructure in place to compete directly that the oil companies don't
have such a stranglehold. There are a few of the producer co-operatives
that are in the process of investigating actually building some
distribution channels themselves. They would certainly prefer to not
have to do so, but may find it necessary to hasten the process.
One of the actual difficulties is that the mandates for usage, while
promoting the development of refining capacity has caused a flurry of
distilling capacity which has, at the moment, outstripped the
One other thing they (the oil companies) are dragging their feet on now
is a (mostly) bogus argument about UL-listed E85-compatible pumps.
Again, it ain't the final answer and it ain't perfect (it would be
really, really nice if ethanol had as high or higher specific energy as
gasoline, but it's a much lower molecular weight and that's the name o'
that tune so it has what it has), but it can and will help for at least
an intermediary period. When the development of stover and sawgrass and
similar products are complete as feedstocks, then the production costs
relative to corn will drop significantly as will, undoubtedly, the
temporary tight corn markets. Of course, the actual corn supply
shortage that is all the rage in the urban media is as much related to a
relatively short crop owing to weather as it is to the increased demand
-- both are about equal in magnitude in terms of reduction of supply and
increase in demand. And, of course, the worldwide wheat supplies are at
20+-yr lows owing to harvest shortfalls in all the major wheat producing
countries in the world, not just the US.
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