On this side of the pond we only get one standard of fuel year round.
However, we have our priorities right, most decent breweries do summer and
winter ales. Down at the pub a pint goes down very nicely.
I live in California and the other incentive, for the state, to want
more ethanol, is that we pay taxes on the gallon, and ethanol reduces
gas mileage, so one has to buy more gas, for the reduced mileage and
pay more taxes on "watered-down" fuel. The more ethanol they can get
into the fuel means more tax dollars to them.
with ethanol, fuel gets watered down for real too - ethanol allows real
water absorption. it's not a lot per gallon, but you multiply the
volume by the number of gallons of fuel used per day/month/year across
the state and you're talking significant dough. enough to pay a few
political contributions and some bonuses.
> by the number of gallons of fuel used per day/month/year across the state
> and you're talking significant dough. enough to pay a few political
> contributions and some bonuses.
On the plus side ethanol in the fuel stops condensed water
collecting in the fuel tank.
Yes ethanol mixed in the fuel will reduce the mileage some,
but the effect is not that big. About 2%
Since something needs to be added as an octane enhancer,
the other common alternative is MTBE, which has about the
same effect on mileage as ethanol, and MTBE has worse environmental
problems than MTBE.
The effect of ethanol in the gas mix, is far less than
environmental factors temperature, rain or snow on the road,
and is far less than the effect of driving style.
so i'm enjoying a 2% price reduction for my gasoline, right? oh, wait,
through my elected "representatives", i'm giving tax subsidy to farmers,
i'm giving tax subsidy to ethanol producers, giving tax write-offs the
oil companies, and through my reduced mpg's, /increasing/ my state
gasoline tax revenue.
and 2% is "not that big"? we consume >175 billion of gallons of
gasoline a year. 2% of that at $3.80 a gallon is $13 billion a year,
excluding all the tax bullshit. to put that in perspective, nasa gets
$9 billion a year and the national science foundation gets under $7
billion. a spectacular misallocation of funds with spectacular long
term negative impact.
"2%" is the rough [rounded down] difference based on calorie content for
traditional gasoline and that same gasoline with pure ethanol in it.
but that presumption is huge. in reality, there is water content,
because ethanol allows miscibility, and ethanol also allows lower grade
hydrocarbon fractions to be used because of ethanol's knock suppression.
so, while i doubt it's 20%, it does indeed seem to be somewhat more
I think another factor is brand of gasoline. The discount brands are
definitely noticable with regard to lowered mileage. OTOH, I've been
using Shell mostly and there's not a huge difference.
But I sure heard a lot of howling from my "el cheapo" friends that buy
only discount gas...
No not big. Weather effects run much larger (25%).
It is commonly reported that driving habits are big,
and many people (not all) could get 10-30% improvement
with a combination of proper maintenance and change of
Also you miss the point, something is needed to give the
octane rating need by car engines.
Traditionally lead was used, but that had serious drawbacks
and was withdrawn for good reason.
The alternatives seem to be:
MTBE or ethanol, both of which will cost cost 2% or so in mileage.
MMT which may or may not have environmental/health problems,
but does gum up catalytic converters, and engine control
systems (eventually resulting in worse mileage).
MTBE in our winter fuel here in Alaska. It didn't even last the first
winter. They were told by our Governor at the time, after about two or
three months, that MTBE was a health hazard and increased fuel consumption
by such a degree that any emission reductions were lost, in fact reversed
and it would NOT be used any longer. The fuel vendors were directed to
cease putting it in the fuel immediately, which they did....
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