Continuing the Asshat theme, I turn focus to legislation and the Asshattery that ensues very shortly thereafter. In this case, Ethanol based fuels and the amount of “suck” they contain. But first, a brief explanation of Ethanol and its presence in our fuels.
The largest single use of ethanol is as an engine fuel and fuel additive. Brazil in particular relies heavily upon the use of ethanol as an engine fuel, due in part to its role as the globe’s leading producer of ethanol. Gasoline sold in Brazil contains at least 25% anhydrous ethanol. Hydrous ethanol (about 95% ethanol and 5% water) can be used as fuel in more than 90% of new gasoline fueled cars sold in the country. Brazilian ethanol is produced from sugar cane and noted for high carbon sequestration.The US and many other countries primarily use E10 (10% ethanol, sometimes known as gasohol) and E85 (85% ethanol) ethanol/gasoline mixtures.
According to an industry advocacy group, ethanol as a fuel reduces harmful tailpipe emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen, and other ozone-forming pollutants. Argonne National Laboratory analyzed greenhouse gas emissions of many different engine and fuel combinations, and found that biodiesel/petrodiesel blend showed a reduction of 8%, conventional E85 ethanol blend a reduction of 17% and cellulosic ethanol 64%, compared with pure gasoline.
Ethanol combustion in an internal combustion engine yields many of the products of incomplete combustion produced by gasoline and significantly larger amounts of formaldehyde and related species such as acetaldehyde. This leads to a significantly larger photochemical reactivity and more ground level ozone. These data have been assembled into The Clean Fuels Report comparison of fuel emissions and show that ethanol exhaust generates 2.14 times as much ozone as gasoline exhaust. When this is added into the custom Localised Pollution Index (LPI)of The Clean Fuels Report, the local pollution of ethanol (pollution that contributes to smog) is rated 1.7, where gasoline is 1.0 and higher numbers signify greater pollution. The California Air Resources Board formalized this issue in 2008 by recognizing control standards for formaldehydes as an emissions control group, much like the conventional NOx and Reactive Organic Gases (ROGs).
In the United States, the ethanol fuel industry is based largely on corn. According to the Renewable Fuels Association, as of 30 October 2007, 131 grain ethanol bio-refineries in the United States have the capacity to produce 7.0 billion US gallons of ethanol per year. An additional 72 construction projects underway (in the U.S.) can add 6.4 billion US gallons of new capacity in the next 18 months. Over time, it is believed that a material portion of the ≈150-billion-US-gallon per year market for gasoline will begin to be replaced with fuel ethanol.
Ethanol’s high miscibility with water makes it unsuitable for shipping through modern pipelines like liquid hydrocarbons. Mechanics have seen increased cases of damage to small engines (in particular, the carburetor) and attribute the damage to the increased water retention by ethanol in fuel.
Yes, there were a tremendous amount of $30 words in there that require a college level education and several permits to say in many countries, but I think it’s easy to see that the level of asshattery that is taking place globally, especially in the US, is ass-tounding.
To knowingly produce and use a product that is more harmful to the planet and it’s people for the sake of money is simply criminal. To grow corn that could be used to feed people to produce said harmful product is nearly insane. But, the powers that be around the world think it’s a damn fine idea. Asshattery in action. While mostly 10%, some states are proposing 15% or more!! In some cases E85! Yes 85% ethanol is the norm outside of the US and some government asshats are trying to get that here in the land of free, brave and asshats.
For us motorcycle people, there is hope. Lawmakers in states like Maine and Florida, among others, are fighting any increase in Ethanol content and in some case calling for a reduction or elimination of Ethanol from our fuel. Siting that “It is more costly to create than standard gasoline and produces far more CO2 than regular fuel”.
On that map shown above, those are the places that Non-Ethanol fuel is available. And you can find a station near you that has it. It is likely to be a Marina or a small airport or a small rural gas station. In some states, non-ethanol fuel is available everywhere at an increased cost. On a recent trip to South Carolina (for Bike Week), many gas stations there had the option available to purchase non-ethanol fuel at a separate pump next to the others. In most cases it was nearly .30 cents (USD) more than the premium fuels.
Each time I go to my farm in upstate New York, every two weeks, I bring an extra gas can with me. On my way home, when I fill up for the trip, I also fill that 5-gallon can with non-ethanol premium fuel just for the bike. Granted, that doesn’t last me two weeks, but it is the best I can do. Corrupt New Jersey is too in the pocket to allow non-ethanol fuels at the pump. Search as I may, I have yet to find a non-ethanol option anywhere but a marina. I am not feel fond of the idea of riding my bike down a dock at waters edge to fill up…. yeah, I know… get the gas can. A little inconvenient when you’re out on a ride and need to fill up.
Small airports also offer an non-ethanol fuel option. However, be advised that the 100+ octane might not be something you want to put in your bike…. Unless of course you don’t mind replacing your spark plugs every week…. among other things.
Here’s a link to places nationwide you can get non-ethanol fuel. But be aware… although listed as a possible source, some may not actually have non-E fuel available at all. They may have just put themselves on the list as a rues to get you to come into their station, only to find out that they in fact do not have any. In New Jersey, Conoco gas stations are a prime abuser of this practice.
Treat your baby right, go non-ethanol.