Is Ethanol the Chicken, or the Egg?

By: Vidar Lura

Even though the some state offers up to $30,000 to convert existing pumps to E85, there have only been some grants awarded, with half of them going to retailers looking to install biodiesel, not E85, the report stated. Currently, 1000 stations in the U.S. sell E85.

Gas station owners are hesitant to spend the thousands of dollars it requires to switch their equipment, according to the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores.

Very few of U.S. drivers own cars that can handle the E85 fuel, which makes gas retailers wary of installing the systems. Eestimates that less than 600,000 flex-fuel vehicles are being driven in the U.S.

"Our goal is to push renewable fuels, and E85 might not be the way to do it"

"We ve got people who have put in E85 already who are taking it out because people arent buying it."

Another roadblock for retailers is a new requirement that forces stations using the grants to keep the E85 fuel pumping for a minimum of five years. Few owners would be willing to make such a commitment, according to the organization, which sought a three year minimum.

"There just so much uncertainty with E85 right now"

But if the state wants to meet its mandate of 25 percent of its motor fuels to be made from renewable resources by 2020, gas retailers must adopt the fuel, officials said.

"People arent buying flex-fuel vehicles because they cant buy the fuel for the flex-fuel vehicles. Its the old chicken versus the egg"

Others maintain that the fuel will come, if given some time. "Its going to be ugly for a few years, I just think it will be, as you try to get supply and demand in balance"

"But it will come. Too much depends on it."

So, what is ethanol? Ethanol is ethyl alcohol which needs to be 100% pure. Ethanol is the highest performance fuel on the market and keeps today's high-compression engines running smoothly. Ethanol-blended fuel (such as e85) keeps your fuel system clean, cause it does not leave gummy exhausts.

And because ethanol burns cleaner, it produces fewer emissions. Today, all ethanol cars manufacturers approve the use of ethanol blended fuels and even recommend to use ethanol for its positive environmental impacts.

The use of an ethanol will allow to increase the performance of ethanol cars in general. Initial tests showed that ethanol may also extend from 20 to 80% the engine's maintenance. The conversion of existing engines is not only feasible, but also cost effective.

One of the most convenient ethanol-gasoline mixtures is called e85 and consists of 85% ethanol to 15% gasoline. Ethanol fueled cars are specially designed to run well as on the mixture of ethanol to gas as on alcohol fuel, moreover, they are able to detect the specific ratio of ethanol to gas and adjust themselves accordingly to run as efficiently as possible. Ethanol cars that run on ethanol can also run on regular gas, too, that's how flexible they really are!

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