Saturday, June 21, 2008

An Ethanol myth?

From this posting I found from a google search:

Specific post:
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showpost.php?s=4553d4af24c098ec6a4afb3334550a07&p=22644127&postcount=8

Whole thread:
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?s=065da5cb0f0f5a5b29a5621b89da9273&t=1536536

"Fuel economy does not track with fuel energy per gallon it tracks with engine efficiency. Since E85 is a superior fuel it produces more useful work per BTU of available fuel energy."

and

"Now it the OEM manufactures would just produce a FFV that is half as efficient as back yard tuners can produce in a couple hours, we could actually get some where with it."

That seems to track with my version of "common" sense.  It is incontrovertible that there are fewer BTUs in E85 than in regular E10 gas.  But if engines can use it more efficiently, who cares?

I would imagine that the problem that car makers have with designing cars to use E85 is that they are forced by fuel availability constraints to make the engines flexible fuel.  They have to be able to run on either, and do so automatically with no intervention from the driver.  E85 is racing gas, in reality.  To make it work most efficiently, you need an engine specifically designed to use it.  Higher compression, more advanced timing, etc.  Those things just aren't adjustable after the car is built.  Well, actually they are, but not cheaply.  You can throw on a turbo or super charger along with adjustable timing and make it work.  But that's expensive.

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