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AutoBlog: Energy Secretary Chu: All American cars should be E85 capable

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Filed under: Hybrids/Alternative, Government/Legal, Green

steven_chu_alternate_portrait.jpgIn early May, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a $786.5 million "third-generation" biofuel program. Yesterday, ex-biofuel researcher Stephen Chu, the Energy Secretary, said that all cars made in America should be able to burn ethanol (E85). Earlier this month, Chu said electric vehicles were "inevitable."

Predictably, Chu made the E85 statement deep in corn ethanol country - in Des Moines, Iowa - yesterday, even though he has previously said that, "corn is not the right crop for biofuels." Chu's promotion of E85 capability seems to be driven by the low cost of making a standard internal-combustion vehicle able to burn the biofuel. Chu said that:

I've been told it costs about $100 in gaskets and fuel lines to turn a car so that it can go all the way to E85. But a new car, it would only cost $100 out of $15,000. Wouldn't it be nice to put in those fuel lines and gaskets so that we can use any ratio we wanted?

While Chu made clear that the Obama Administration is not ready to mandate any flex-fuel capability at this time, that "any ratio" line surely caught the attention of those pushing for an increase in the nation ethanol blend to 15 percent. For more on the E15 debate, click here.



[source: Des Moines Register]

Energy Secretary Chu: All American cars should be E85 capable originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Jun 2009 10:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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I agree - make them all E85 compatible. Though I'm not sure it should be mandated, I think it's just a "duh" for the manufacturers. And ethanol doesn't have to come from corn, though corn ethanol isn't the devil the media makes it out to be. Reports of inefficiencies are overstated and based on 10-20 year old data, and claims that it takes food away from starving people by raising prices on corn-based prices is just dumb. The food cost increases came at a time when FUEL costs went up, the real reason that food costs went up. Corn was still way cheap.

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I agree - make them all E85 compatible. Though I'm not sure it should be mandated, I think it's just a "duh" for the manufacturers. And ethanol doesn't have to come from corn, though corn ethanol isn't the devil the media makes it out to be. Reports of inefficiencies are overstated and based on 10-20 year old data, and claims that it takes food away from starving people by raising prices on corn-based prices is just dumb. The food cost increases came at a time when FUEL costs went up, the real reason that food costs went up. Corn was still way cheap.

capable is fine, but my opinion differs, based on knowledge.

corn ethanol IS horrible because ;

1. requires lots of fertilizer (derived typically from oil, raises oil price, which defeats the extra money from high corn prices/subsidies)

2. if it's capable,the engine, it's not designed for it, thus, what, 25% less efficient?

3. corn is subsidized, thus taking your money, giving it to farmers and then you're taxed as much as if you bought the same distance capable amount of gas. taxed 2x over.

4. pollution from the fertilizer run off, and the ethanol industry, while getting better , is horrible, and could quite possibly negate the "green" effects of ethanol.

regular would still be needed so it doesn't hurt those people "living in the past" and those too poor to buy a car e-85 capable.

yes, i know there are ways to get ethanol much more economically than with corn, but till then we shouldn't be throwing tons of money at the ethanol industry - through the farmers, because of any supposed or real environmental high ground. ie, when it's truely economical it will kill Gasoline engined cars.... unless it's regulated like the oil industry is now. hahahhahah

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I have used it in the Silverado and it seemed like it works alright. Ive heard people say it stinks as it burns off, and it burns faster. When I bought E85 I mixed it with over half a tank of gas, so this might be why I really didn't notice any of these things. The nice thing was it was 50 cents a gallon cheaper than gas, but if it burns faster is it really worth it?

Edited by Daryl Z71
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I have used it in the Silverado and it seemed like it works alright. Ive heard people say it stinks as it burns off, and it burns faster. When I bought E85 I mixed it with over half a tank of gas, so this might be why I really didn't notice any of these things. The nice thing was it was 50 cents a gallon cheaper than gas, but if it burns faster is it really worth it?

If it comes out nearly the same cost, and your money goes to American farmers and ethanol plants instead of the middle east... is it worth it?

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If it comes out nearly the same cost, and your money goes to American farmers and ethanol plants instead of the middle east... is it worth it?

the bulk of our imported oil doesn't come from the middle east....

you are also "supporting" Canada, among others.

another thing i forgot to mention, Ethanol may not "make corn more expensive", but assuming a next to no acreage increase in farm land, that does decrease the supply of other "mid west" grains...making their prices go up.... so yes, it could easily increase the price of food.

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