Burning just ethanol

In my travels in Oklahoma, I came across a gas station that sold an 85% ethanol fuel for just over $2 per gallon. Does anybody know anything about this? Can any car burn that, or does a car have to be specially adapted to burn that stuff? (Not that I approve of using food for fuel, but still. . . .)

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://necessaryroughness.org Dan at Necessary Roughness

    Cars and trucks that have the E85 designation or are labeled Flexible Fuel can burn that stuff. It’s not for normal cars.

  • http://necessaryroughness.org Dan at Necessary Roughness

    Cars and trucks that have the E85 designation or are labeled Flexible Fuel can burn that stuff. It’s not for normal cars.

  • Matt L

    Additionally Ethanol has two other big disadvantages. When you get ethanol, your gas is pre-oxygenated… which means you are paying for air. Also ethanol is a lower powered gas, meaning your gas mileage will drastically shoot down. Now if we could build a car that would run on 100% ethanol and get 40+ mpg, I’d be all for it… but I don’t see that happening in the next 10-20 years.

  • Matt L

    Additionally Ethanol has two other big disadvantages. When you get ethanol, your gas is pre-oxygenated… which means you are paying for air. Also ethanol is a lower powered gas, meaning your gas mileage will drastically shoot down. Now if we could build a car that would run on 100% ethanol and get 40+ mpg, I’d be all for it… but I don’t see that happening in the next 10-20 years.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    What the above commenters note; it turns out that ethanol is a great way to degrade a lot of the seals and hoses of your engine if it’s not designed for it. Put it this way; there is a reason that alcohols are used as solvents, and it will act as a very good solvent on some parts of your car if it’s not designed to use ethanol as fuel.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    What the above commenters note; it turns out that ethanol is a great way to degrade a lot of the seals and hoses of your engine if it’s not designed for it. Put it this way; there is a reason that alcohols are used as solvents, and it will act as a very good solvent on some parts of your car if it’s not designed to use ethanol as fuel.

  • Joe Mama

    A friend put ethanol in a NON-flex-fuel vehicle and it began to run strange. I’ve been told that ethanol has to burn hotter, so you need an engine that can handle the temperatures.

    Then we move on to the economic implications of ethanol. Ethanol is so cheap only because of federal subsidies. But because so many farmers are growing corn for ethanol, the price of corn is going up, which affects meat prices (animal feed) and wheat prices (less farmers are growing wheat in favor of corn), among other consequences. I’m cool with ethanol if we can make it feasible, but there are other factors that need to be accounted for.

  • Joe Mama

    A friend put ethanol in a NON-flex-fuel vehicle and it began to run strange. I’ve been told that ethanol has to burn hotter, so you need an engine that can handle the temperatures.

    Then we move on to the economic implications of ethanol. Ethanol is so cheap only because of federal subsidies. But because so many farmers are growing corn for ethanol, the price of corn is going up, which affects meat prices (animal feed) and wheat prices (less farmers are growing wheat in favor of corn), among other consequences. I’m cool with ethanol if we can make it feasible, but there are other factors that need to be accounted for.

  • http://www.faith-filled.com Stephenie

    We’ve got those pumps all over WI and MN (at least where I’ve been.) It will be a matter for Trivia Pursuit eventually. I don’t think it will last.

  • http://www.faith-filled.com Stephenie

    We’ve got those pumps all over WI and MN (at least where I’ve been.) It will be a matter for Trivia Pursuit eventually. I don’t think it will last.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Joe, you might do well to tell your friend to get his car to a mechanic before too long to assess and fix the damage. It’s not just timing and temperature that’s in play here.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Joe, you might do well to tell your friend to get his car to a mechanic before too long to assess and fix the damage. It’s not just timing and temperature that’s in play here.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Oh, and siphon out the ethanol quickly before too much damage is done.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Oh, and siphon out the ethanol quickly before too much damage is done.

  • Chilibean

    My mechanic’s scheduler has told me that she’s not a current proponent of ethanol. Her cousing has an E85 vehicle. When they were traveling together, even though the price was 1/2 of gasoline, they still had to stop twice as much because when she was at 1/2 a tank the cousin was empty.

  • Chilibean

    My mechanic’s scheduler has told me that she’s not a current proponent of ethanol. Her cousing has an E85 vehicle. When they were traveling together, even though the price was 1/2 of gasoline, they still had to stop twice as much because when she was at 1/2 a tank the cousin was empty.

  • Joe Mama

    Bike Bubba; I can’t say too much about causality, but that engine is no longer and has been replaced.

  • Joe Mama

    Bike Bubba; I can’t say too much about causality, but that engine is no longer and has been replaced.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Ouch. That’s some expensive fuel.

    (yes, if I had to bet a nickel on what caused that, it would be the fuel)

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Ouch. That’s some expensive fuel.

    (yes, if I had to bet a nickel on what caused that, it would be the fuel)

  • http://www.meanderinglutheran.blogspot.com Ryan Oakes

    And lets not forget that a new study came out stating that our beloved ‘savior’ ethanol can cause more green house gases than conventional fuel. So…why are those pro-green people still pushing biofuels?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/08/science/earth/08wbiofuels.html

  • http://www.meanderinglutheran.blogspot.com Ryan Oakes

    And lets not forget that a new study came out stating that our beloved ‘savior’ ethanol can cause more green house gases than conventional fuel. So…why are those pro-green people still pushing biofuels?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/08/science/earth/08wbiofuels.html

  • Wyldeirishman

    I approve of using food for fuel…provided that the food is beer and the fuel is for my own stomach :D

    Whoops, my impiety is showing…

  • Wyldeirishman

    I approve of using food for fuel…provided that the food is beer and the fuel is for my own stomach :D

    Whoops, my impiety is showing…


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