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Discussion Starter #1
Speaking of gasoline, I don't believe I've seen Gasahol or ethanol covered here or at Yahoo. Does anyone know the effect, good or bad, of burning gasahol (ethanol) in a Prius? :?:
 

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Per the manual:
Toyota allows the use of oxygenate blended gasoline where the oxygenate content is up to 10% ethanol or 15% MTBE. If you use gasohol in your Toyota, be sure that it has an octane rating no lower than 87.

Per prior discussions:
You're mileage will be lower with gasohol since some of the volume is made up of oxygen rather than carbon and hydrogen. But it often costs less, so the $/mile rating may be similar to gasoline. Also, it may reduce dependence on foreign oil, depending on how efficiently it's made.
 

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Re: ethanol

> I don't believe I've seen Gasahol or ethanol covered here or at Yahoo

That's all I've been using for the last 40,625 miles of driving with my Prius.

We've been using the ethanol blends in Minnesota for over 10 years now. So there really isn't a whole lot to discuss. It works just fine. It helps to reduces the bad emissions.
 

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Edited By Pete

We also have a 10% ethanol blend here in the greater Milwaukee area. However, I saw an article in the Wall Street Journal (a while back) that gave a mixed review of its green-ness. Specifically, it takes more energy to create the corn-based alcohol than you gain by burning it, so the processing plants (mostly located in Iowa) are pulling a lot of electricity (generated primarily by coal-fired plants in Iowa) to create the ethanol. Yes, the emissions coming out of my tailpipe are cleaner than if I was burning unadulterated gasoline; however, there are greater emissions on the whole. All we're doing is moving the pollution from Milwaukee to Iowa.
The article contends that the whole ethanol issue is just welfare for Iowa farmers disguised as an environmental issue. I don't have a problem with welfare for farmers (Wisconsin does similar things for our dairy farmers), but don't call it something else and make a lot of pollution in the process. Just give them some money and be done with it.
I have the same problem with EVs. Unless you have some major solar/thermal/wind energy sources in your area, the electricity you're recharging with is very dirty.


Douglas (2002 Silver, Wisconsin)
 

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The problem with the - it takes more energy to create the corn-based alcohol than you gain by burning it - factoid it that it is probably true if you just threw away the post fermentation corn mash after the ethanol was removed. During fermentation only the sugars are used, the proteins remain, and are sold as cattle feed. And we don't need solders to guard to corn fields... :wink:
 

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Even if the byproducts have other uses that make up for the energy loss, the production process still pollutes. But, here's another factoid I discovered recently: 10% ethanol blends have less sulfur than unadulterated gasoline. The sulfur levels aren't as low as "low-sulfur" gas (i.e. <30ppm), but it's apparently better than the national average (300 ppm).

I still don't know that it's an overall "win" or "lose" environmentally, but the point I was making (and you have only pounded it home) is that the picture is often bigger than we think. It is very hard to determine if something is environmentally "good" or "bad" until you're sure you're analyzing all the impacts and the significance of each.

Douglas (2002 Silver, Wisconsin)
 
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