By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News
Posted 11/17/20 (Tue)
Does anyone remember gasohol? Local Farmers Union Oil companies used to sell it as an alternative fuel in the 1970s.
This stuff was going to change the entire dynamic of fueling internal combustion engines.
Gasohol was great for a few months until people started realizing what was happening. Rubber O rings and gaskets were deteriorating much faster than they should have. The gasohol was actually breaking down the rubber.
As it turned out, gasohol was using a mixture of gasoline and methanol, an alcohol that is used in various applications from rocket fuel to antifreeze.
But because it became such a problem in gas lines, it went by the way side because consumers over time didn’t want it.
Some years later, ethanol came along which is alcohol made from corn, while methanol is usually produced from wood or is chemically produced in a lab.
Ethanol got some traction that methanol did not. But there are still people who believe that ethanol and methanol are one and the same, breaking down gaskets.
The alcohol in ethanol has an insignificant effect on rubber. It’s like Johnny Carson’s analogy of Fresca causing cancer. You’d have to drink 66 cans of Fresca every day for 600 years to develop cancer from it.
As the ethanol industry grew, the auto makers began building cars called flex fuel vehicles to handle 85 percent alcohol/15 percent gasoline mix commonly known as E-85.
The good news about E-85 is it is high octane and will give any engine more torque and take off power. The bad news is, mileage in your vehicle will fall off 2 or 3 miles per gallon.
Thus, you have to weigh the mileage vs. the cost to compare the economy of gas or ethanol. Some of us just like to have that extra giddy up.
The problem with ethanol in
Farmers Union Oil Co., in
But, go across the border into
In reality, to make E-85 cost effective, it should cost 60 cents less per gallon than gas does. If not, you’re not getting your money’s worth.
Alcohol burns clean, it won’t destroy the seals and O-rings and it is an excellent gas line anti freeze.
I often chuckle when I see people putting isopropyl alcohol in their tanks during bitter cold temperatures. If you have a vehicle that burns any amount of alcohol from E-10, to E-85, you don’t need to put alcohol in your gas line.
There are several ethanol facilities in
Most filling stations do use 10 percent alcohol in their gas, which again, is adequate for gas line anti freeze.
When you consider corn as the product in making ethanol, these facilities aren’t using corn for human consumption and making us go hungry, as some conspiracy theorists have been led to believe.
The ethanol plants are using feed grade corn and the byproduct of that is fed to cattle so there is virtually no waste involved.
Consumer habits really drive this product. If you look at
Florida, which doesn’t have corn to speak of, has at least 58 E-85 refuelers including 10 in the Tampa metro, yet there are none in Montana and only one in Idaho.
E-85 has been available in