Archives : Ethanol
In an effort to go green, and to help ween American drivers off of middle east oil, Government regulators have required many areas of the country to supply 10 percent ethanol in fuel for several years now. In the early years, this caused problems in engines because they were not manufactured to withstand this fuel. Gaskets and seals could not hold up to the chemical characteristics of it. The treatment forms acids that corrodes rubber, plastics and some metals. Particularly in older vehicles and in small engines that are typically found on lawn mowers, motor boat engines, chain saws, generators and other home yard maintenance appliances. Manufactures of these engines have adapted their engines over the years to allow them to hold up better. Still, performance and reliability has suffered because of this fuel additive.
More recently, the feds in the EPA decided it was a good idea to increase the percent of Ethanol to gasoline mixture to 15%. Some argue this idea may seem wise to government bureaucrats, however it is not practical in the real world application. The EPA itself acknowledges that the fuel will be harmful to engines. Given this acknowledgement, it perplexes many in the industry that they would proceed with this mandate.
Many industry leaders including organisations such as SEMA and others are sponsoring efforts to halt this harmful requirement. They claim that not only are there economic side effects from this change, but there are negative environmental effects as well. Their hopes are that lawmakers will reconsider this new RFS (“Renewable Fuel Standard”). These critics argue that while these Biofuels may be a good idea in theory the marketplace dictates otherwise. This fuel would ruin millions of automobile and small engines. As it stands right now, the only requirement the EPA has come up with is to mandate labeling at the pumps indicating that this fuel will be harmful to many engines. We will keep you posted.
In a seemingly futile attempt to decrease the amount of fuel Americans burn each year, the government has increased the allowed percentage of Ethanol in gasoline. The maximum percentage mixture previously was 10 percent. This caused all kinds of problems especially for small engines as it ruins components such as seals, gaskets and hoses. Engine manufacturers had to modify the components in order to prevent harm to them.
Now the government has increased the allowable ethanol percentage to 15 percent. This change will once again raise headaches for consumers and technicians alike as the increase will cause similar problems for engines and fuel systems once again. Our CarbonClean Fuel System Cleaner by Motorvac is a great piece to add to your auto shop to help clean out the fuel sysem from all the gum and deposits that build up in your fuel system.
One other side effect from this increased demand for corn based ethanol is that it is causing corn prices to go up. US Reserves are at their lowest point in 15 years because of increased demand from ethanol producers. Corn prices are skyrocketing and products made from corn are following suit.
The big secret is that it actually costs (in terms of energy) more per gallon to produce ethanol than the savings that it provides. From the machines that plant and harvest the corn to the actual chemical process that converts corn to ethanol, we end up burning more fuel creating the fuel substitute. So we must ask the obvious question, why would we continue to produce it? If it’s strictly for political reasons, and it provides us with an artificial sense of accomplishment that we are doing something about the energy issue, then we need to start taking a harder look at our policies.