I found this quite interesting if it is good research.
Research findings released last week strongly suggests that there is an
"optimal blend level" of ethanol and gasoline -- most likely E20 or E30
(20 or 30% ethanol) -- at which cars will provide better mileage than the
fuel's per-gallon btu content would predict.
The new study, cosponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and the
American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), shows mid-range ethanol blends --
fuel mixtures with more ethanol than E10 (10% ethanol) but less than E85
(85% ethanol) -- can in some cases provide better fuel economy than
regular unleaded gasoline, even in standard, non-flex-fuel vehicles. The
new study also found that mid-range ethanol blends reduce harmful
tailpipe emissions and that vehicles without any adjustments can operate
well on higher ethanol blends than previously thought.
Previous assumptions held that ethanol's lower energy content should
always directly correlate with lower fuel economy for drivers. Those
assumptions were found to be wrong
"Initial findings indicate that we as a nation haven't begun to recognize
the value of ethanol," says Brian Jennings, ACE executive vice president.
"This is a compelling argument for more research on the promise of higher
ethanol blends in gasoline. There is strong evidence that the optimal
ethanol-gasoline blend for standard, non-flex-fuel vehicles is greater
than E10 and instead may be E20 or E30. We encourage the federal
government to move swiftly to research the use of higher ethanol blends
and make necessary approvals so that American motorists can have the
cost-effective ethanol choices they deserve at the pump."
The University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center
(EERC) and the Minnesota Center for Automotive Research (MnCAR) conducted
the research using four 2007 model vehicles: a Toyota Camry, a Ford
Fusion and two Chevrolet Impalas, one flex-fuel and one non-flex-fuel.
Researchers used the EPA Highway Fuel Economy Test (HWFET) to examine a
range of ethanol-gasoline blends from straight Tier 2 gasoline up to 85%
ethanol. All of the vehicles got better mileage with ethanol blends than
the ethanol's energy content would predict, and three out of four
actually traveled farther on a mid-level ethanol blend than on unleaded
The research provides strong evidence that standard, non-flex-fuel
vehicles can operate on ethanol blends beyond 10%. The three non-flex-
fuel vehicles tested operated on levels as high as E65 before any engine
fault codes were displayed. Emissions results for the ethanol blends were
also favorable for nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and non-methane
organic gases, showing an especially significant reduction in CO2
emissions for each vehicle's "optimal" ethanol blend (E20 for the flex-
fuel Chevy, E30 for the Toyota and Ford, E40 for the non-flex Chevy).
"These studies show that moderate 20-30% ethanol blends can reduce air
pollution, improve gas mileage and save drivers money in the most popular
cars on the road today," says Brett Hulsey, president of Better
Environmental Solutions, an environmental health consulting firm.
"Moderate ethanol blends are homegrown in America, can be delivered with
existing pumps to current vehicles and cost less than gasoline. Ethanol
lowers CO2 emissions 20% from gasoline, making it one of our most
effective greenhouse-gas-reduction programs currently in place."
For more information on the key findings of the study or to download the
full report, click here: www.ethanol.org/news.
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