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Ethanol Requirements Are Harmful To Your Engine

January 5th, 2013

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.

 

Gas Caddy

 

Electric Cars Not Living Up to Hype

October 13th, 2012
Much has been made about electric cars over the past year. You’ve heard the President promote all kinds of “green” businesses, and he has helped encourage them by offering all kinds of incentives like tax breaks for purchasing these products. Obama even bragged that America could have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.
Despite all of these large efforts, the campaign has done little to boost sales of this technology. Optimism was huge three to four years ago when the first mass produced electric cars came onto the market.
Stocks of companies that manufactured the components shot up in anticipation that this was the next wave of popular technology that was going to expand. Electric cars included the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf and many others.
When we look at the numbers, we see that reality does not meet the hype. Here are some numbers from 2011 – 
 
 
 
Dec 2010
Jan 2011
Feb 2011
Mar 2011
Total
Volt
326
321
281
608
1,536
Leaf
19
87
67
298
471
 
As illustrated in the chart above, there is no way that auto makers are going to meet the projected figures, especially since all of the problems that have recently been brought to light about the Chevy Volt. These problems, combined with high costs, and the stable gasoline prices have dampened demand for these cars.
 
Given the high price of nearly $50,000 for the Volt, even after the tax incentives, most consumers just find it too expensive to give up their traditional gas automobiles, especially since these cars don’t perform nearly as well, and they don’t have as much room. 
 
When you factor in the recent national average electricity rate of 11 cents per kilowatt hour, Consumer Reports calculated that the Volt costs about 5.7 cents per mile to drive in electric-only mode. That really is not enough savings to chase the perceived benefits. For the time being, hybris, such as the Toyota Prius might be the best alternative.
Furthermore, with new oilfields being exploited in the USA, and oil production expected to actually increase, the hopes for these manufacturers may end up being much further off into the future than anticipated.
 

Automotive Battery

Automotive Battery

Congress Passes 3 New Trade Agreements

October 15th, 2011

Congress recently passed three trade agreements that were sitting on a shelf because the Obama administration had previously indicated they would not sign them. The deals were approved with Columbia, Panama and South Korea. The president’s change of heart can most likely be attributed to the ongoing general malaise in the economy and the continued disappointing jobs figures.
These trade deals are estimated to add over 100,000 jobs to the US workforce. The largest deal is with South Korea, which accounts for 70,000 of the new jobs. This South Korea deal is the largest trade deal since the NAFTA deal.
These agreements would lower or eliminate tariffs that US exporters face when exporting to these countries. Many of the hurdles that these trade agreements faced related to big labor. Labor unions tend to be against most trade agreements because they complain that it sends high paying jobs overseas. In particular, the US auto industry was concerned about barriers to entry for US auto sales in Korea. Some concessions were made to help stifle those complaints.
Some GM parts are built in South Korea. Labor unions still assert that this deal will cost US jobs, but overall, industry experts believe it to be a net plus for the US job market. They contend that under the current system, for every 52 South Korean automobiles sold in the US, there is only one US manufactured car sold in Korea. This deal should lift trade barriers enough to change that.
What do you think? Are trade deals like these good for the US labor market?