It's really not a big deal... FF basically means that the piping/hoses
for the fuel system need to be corrosion resistant (good) and there will
be some kind of fuel sensor so the ECM detects the mix of
gasoline/ethanol and will adjust fuel injector duty cycle appropriately.
Fuel injectors will have more headroom as running on E85 requires more
fuel volume than E10. I think there's some clean air credit BS
associated with a mfgr. making a FF vehicle.
So long story short, *everything else being equal* I would chose a FF
vehicle over a non-FF vehicle with the same power, options, etc. at the
same price. but it wouldn't really be a major factor in my purchasing
So, basically it is okay if I can get it for free. The other thing is
that it seems to have lower mpg w/ E85, so I would have to do the math
at each fillup to decide if the difference in cost between the two is
worth the lower gas mileage.
America is at that awkward stage. It's too late
to work within the system, but too early to shoot
There is one notable advantage to E85; in a turbocharged or supercharged
engine you can run more boost and/or spark advance than you can with
gasoline because it runs cooler than gasoline. You will still get less
MPG than on gasoline because of the lower energy density than gasoline,
but you can make more power, which can be entertaining.
In a NA engine, there really is no significant power/efficiency benefit,
but it will run cleaner.
If I happened to have a FF vehicle and lived somewhere where E85 was
available (but I don't) I would probably run a tankful of E85 through it
every now and then as a fuel system cleaner.
NO!!! NEVER DID! The tax benefit went to the _BLENDERS_, namely the
oil companies to compensate (supposedly) for their cost in putting in
the equipment to handle it and to provide incentive to use it. The
producers never saw that credit except indirectly in helping stabilize
demand while the fledgling industry gained some foothold. What help
they currently get is related to the EPA emissions reqm'ts and the
renewable fuel standards that creates some stable minimum demand. The
blenders (again, "big oil") were using far more than the minimum to meet
the RFS levels up to the time of the expiration of the credit banking
those credits while available.
And, the credit expired and was _NOT_ renewed.
Commonly referred to as the "blender’s credit", the Volumetric Ethanol
Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) was created in 2004 to provide oil companies
with an economic incentive to blend ethanol with gasoline. As of
January 1, 2009, the original tax credit totaling 51 cents per gallon on
pure ethanol (5.1 cents per gallon for E10, and 42 cents per gallon on
E85) was reduced to 45 cents per gallon. The tax credit is passed on to
motorists in the form of more cost-effective fuel at the pump. VEETC
was initially authorized through December 31, 2010, was extended one
additional year through December 31, 2011, and went away and has stayed
gone since January 1, 2012--18 months now or so.
Since stabilization of the markets again after the transition, ethanol
has been basically steady around the 2.25/gal w/ swings of 10 cents or
so. Recently futures market has jumped to near 2.45-2.50 range -- I'm
not sure why. But, it's a third cheaper w/o the VEETC and the producers
are profitable w/ current corn prices (altho during the spike from last
year's serious drought-lowered production it was not profitable w/ $8+
It's a useful stabilizing tool for corn markets for producers that
mitigates at least some of the boom-bust cycles of good/bad production
years that when any given farmer has a good crop and thereby a chance to
make a little it's highly likely all the corn belt is going to be good
and so there's a drain on prices so actually he doesn't make much after
all. OTOH, when prices are high it's generally because production was
low owing to drought or other weather causes and so it's highly likely
the producer despite the high price has little product to sell so again
may not do him any good.
The same scenario holds for all ag commodities that are bulk commodities
such as beans, corn, wheat, cotton, etc., etc., ... It almost always is
so that that there's a boom-bust cycle going on.
And, the oil companies are now engaged in heavy lobbying to repeal the
RFS and have been adamant in digging in against installing blender pumps
or the infrastructure to support E85. They've also been the monies
behind the challenges to the EPA approval of E85.
I'm not that adamant one w/ or t'other on ethanol as general proposition
but it does have benefit to the ag markets that struggled for so long
with high production costs and low market prices that weren't helped by
misguided government intervention to place export embargoes in place to
try to achieve political gains (Ford/Carter most egregious altho
there've been later lesser ones) that devastated wheat exports for a
while particularly. While that went on the Brazilians, Australians,
Canadians and to lesser extent even the rest of Euro markets seized the
opportunity and the penetration in those markets has yet to fully recover.
Ag didn't get to the position it's in overnight and there's much to be
said for the level of production and availability of safe and
inexpensive food and fiber supply that has ensued over the years since
the disaster years of the Depression and Dust Bowl with a few periods of
real disaster such as the '80s when large numbers went bust owing in no
small part to the above embargoes combined w/ the high interest rates
and the period just preceding the embargoes when the same administration
urged higher production and exports before pulling the rug out from
under producers. (As you can tell, we've not forgotten that out here
yet... :) )
Just where do you think the gvt gets the money to pay for those
credits?? It's from OUR TAXES. Pretend all you want that the users
aren't paying for this but the USERS pay for EVERYTHING the gvt hands
out. We got higher gas prices thanks to ethanol and lower gas mileage
based on the FICTION that it lowered emissions. It does NOT lower
emissions in anything produced since the 1980's. It's a classic scam
intended to move money from MY pocket to the pockets of special
interests. It's also cost US more for everything that uses the "corn"
products and byproducts thanks to the "stabilizing" of prices at three
times the prior levels.
I never addressed that; only the misconception of the other poster that
the credit went to the ethanol producer--it didn't, it went to the oil
I never pretended a thing about it; merely pointed out who got the
direct credits. But, however, note they were credits, not actual
payments. Collections were reduced.
No, it does demonstrably lower certain emissions even in current vehicles.
Ethanol was not the cause of the rise in oil prices that raised gasoline
prices; that rise and other policy decisions that caused marked increase
in oil imports and no competing increase in US production for a long
period of time brought about the call for alternative fuels.
Now, that many who were in the vanguard of that call also had (and still
have) alternate agendas is still so but that's a "veritable plethora" of
convoluted policies all tied up in the end power of who's won elections
and controlled policy direction over the last 30 yr or so.
Grain prices are global, not US alone--and would have gone up regardless
as it is impossible to raise any of the grain crops under the current
input pricing cost for $2-3/bu. It isn't a viable alternative to allow
very large numbers of producers to fail, either.
All in all, I can't complain that some money gets shifted into the rural
and ag economies that suffered for decades while oil continued its
"favored nation" status in national policy.
And since the blenders' credit has been gone for 18 months now (and
counting), it doesn't have much current effect on anything.
And, as just another demonstration that nothing stands alone, the
ethanol plant just up the road here (as do all) produces CO2 as a
byproduct. That's bad, right? Well, hold on--they capture it and put
it in a pipeline and ship down to the OK and TX panhandles where it is
used for enhanced oil recovery. Thus, ethanol is a direct contributor
to energy independence not only by the replacement of foreign oil for
gasoline in direct substitution but by providing a necessary input for
the production of additional oil and gas directly here in the US.
And, ethanol lowers the price of gas -- it's roughly 80% of the energy
content by volume at approx. 2/3-rds the price (current spot market).
For the record, no, we do _NOT_ raise corn. :)
This is an all dryland operation; beans and corn only work w/ irrigation
As an aside on other renewable fuel alternative--there's an group of
irrigated guys in county north that pooled resources and put in small
bio-diesel facility for their own use--they're producing enough
biodiesel from roughly 20% of their production acres for the diesel
supply for their entire operation...
There's a difference between family farms and corporate farms. There
really aren't that many family farms left. Some farms do quite
well...not so much from raising livestock or crops, but from
collecting farm subsidies. Michele Bachmann's family farm is a
profitable farm subsidy operation.
More specifically, by US Census data definitions there are roughly 2
million farms in US. Of those, 87% are owned and operated by
individuals or families as sole proprietorships or in similar organization.
Following that, 8% are are partnerships, a high fraction of which are
family partnerships altho precise data on that sub-fraction of which are
all family-member partners vis a vis some partners that may be landowner
or other relationship than related isn't readily available.
"Corporate" farms account for only 4% of U.S. farms and 1 percent are
owned by other--cooperative, estates or trusts etc.
The term "family farm" does not necessarily equate with "small farm";
nor does a "corporate farm" necessarily mean a large-scale operation
owned and operated by a multi-national corporation. Many of the larger
agricultural enterprises are wholly family owned/operated but may have
be techically organized as a C-corp or LLC for legal and accounting
purposes, no different than any other small business.
Farm production expenses _average_ almost $110K per year per farm. Many
farms that meet the U.S. Census' definition cannot produce sufficient
income to meet farm family living expenses. In fact, fewer than 1 in 4
of the farms in this country produce gross revenues in excess of $50,000
There is no way required production for current population levels could
be met at anything close to affordable costs with a return to 80A
single-owner/operator farm operations exclusively or even predominantly.
The loss of scale in labor costs owing to the unaffordability of large
equipment on such a scale would simply be prohibitive in the current
economics--it's difficult enough w/ moderate-sized operations at present.
OH, and one additional side note on the "subsidies" issue -- of the
overall USDA authorization bill ~80% nutrition programs and <20% actual
direct benefit to production ag of which a major fraction goes for
inspection and enforcement of production facilities such as the packers
and canners all the research programs, the Farm Service Agency offices,
etc. leaving a quite small fraction that actually goes for farm payments.
And, farmers _MUST_ buy crop insurance and meet other guidelines to be
eligible for relief of losses for weather or other disaster. There is
no direct crop subsidy payment for any production crop other than
peanuts, corn, and sugar--that exists only because to date those
particular southern states have had sufficient leverage in congress.
_Presuming_ (which is a big presumption since we've been without for a
year now) they do manage to pass a new farm bill this year (and there's
only a month left and no clear plan forward at present) those likely
will finally bite the bullet this year as well. There is also a means
test for larger producers that caps the total any given producer can get
at any one year.
USDA 2013 budget was about $160B out of the federal budget authorization
of some $2T -- 0.8% of the budget. So when take the additional fraction
of 20% of that and factor in the monies paid back in in the form of
insurance premiums, etc., the net to production ag is pretty much not
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.