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Anyone altering their driving habits due to outrageous gas prices?

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Old 05-08-2007, 07:56 PM   #61  
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Blasphemy!!
Oh come on! Arn't you curious to see what the diesel variant of the VQ could sound like? I bet it would have a nice muted marbley sound with a nice deep but slightly tinny exhaust note that would complement the diesel like sound. Providing that a diesel variant would have a broad enough powerband, it could probably be capable of making an incredible amount of torque and be pretty fast.


As for running E85 in a regular vehicle, my understanding is that the fuel systems in currently non flex fuel vehicles are not compatible with the seals and fuel lines which would deteriorate and degrade very quickly. The other risk is that ethanol is highly miscible with water which could also cause a host of other issues. Either way, I don't think the alternative fuel of tomarrow will consist of a single fuel. I believe that it will be several different alternative fuels that will power cars tomarrow as I don't see how any single one could fulfill the demand that there is for fuel in general. I can see ethanol and biodiesel being a complement to each other since you are going to need to rest the land and grow soy every several years anyway if you don't want to be negligent. I just saw an article today on the news that talked about how some farmers are neglecting to do exactly this as corn has become such a profitable crop that they don't want to rest the land.

As for nuclear power, I doubt there will be any way to actually convince people that nuclear power is very safe, efficient, and clean as long as everything is handled properly.
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Old 05-08-2007, 08:04 PM   #62  
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I'm targeting my next buy to be something like an E85 or equivalent vehicle, lets support our country for a change.
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:13 PM   #63  
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I'm targeting my next buy to be something like an E85 or equivalent vehicle, lets support our country for a change.
The thought of supporting our own homegrown industry is a nice thought rather than supporting some mid-eastern sheik who hates us anyway. Its nice because a good portion of the corn industry is privately owned, although i'm pretty sure the big corporations are eyeing these firms since demand is only going to continue going up. What we need to do right now, is find a way to get branded gas station owners to start stocking E85 and other alternative fuels.

The problem is that any gains we might see will be a net effect. In order to get all of these automakers to produce all of these E85 vehicles right now, they are getting some huge ass breaks from the federal government such as breaks in the CAFE requriements. This means that manufacturers still have no real incentive to build more fuel efficient vehicles since the fact that they are building so many flex fuel vehicles means they can build more gas guzzling vehicles without being penalized. Using an alternative fuel won't be enough if it will allow companies to put out more vehicles that consume even more gas. However, it is a start as manufacturers arn't dumb and arn't going to spend money to develop technology if they wern't going to recieve anything for it.

I read a study in a recent US news magazine that showed a survey in which people who were already using e85 were complaining that they are spending about $1 more per gallon by using E85 than if they were using straight gasoline. Some of these people stated that they didn't mind since they knew the money was going into our own economy. Others stated that they want to help out even if they pay more. However, this is the minority and people arn't going to start seriously looking into E85 unless gas prices get outrageous, or obtaining E85 becomes cheaper. As we may know, ethanol has a much lower energy content per gallon and burns more quickly. Most vehicles will use E85 1.5 to almost 2 times faster than straight regular gasoline. Of course Economies of scale may help out with this situation if we can get more stations locally to start carrying it. We know this is tough for branded station owners because the gasoline industry is aggressively against anything that they themselves arn't producing.
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Old 05-09-2007, 06:44 AM   #64  
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Sounds like too many paths to resolving a problem. Plus, this has been going on for some time if you think about it. E85 only gets added to the list.
We are great coming up with 'alternatives' but so pi$$ poor at implementing any to their full potential.
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Old 05-09-2007, 06:45 AM   #65  
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Ethenol will work when the technology is perfected to use non-food crops instead of corn. Instead of burning the rice fields after the rice is harvested, cut the stubble and make ethenol. Instead of doing a controlled burn in the national forest to get rid of fire hazardous underbrush, bush-hog it and make ethenol.

We should not convert a large portion of our food producing farmland into ethenol (or biodiesel) production if we can avoid it. It has a ripple effect around the world, especially with the poor who are having problems paying for food as it is. Lets use the farmland that is sitting idle (paid to sit idle by the government).

The biggest benefit that I see is that the money stays in the US instead of going to frequently hostile foreign governments. US farmers (and corporations) pay taxes and spend their money here. There is a financial multiplyer that is used to calculate the impact of a conference / sporting event in a community. For the sake of arguement, lets say that $1 pumped into the US economy eventually has a $7 impact. Imagine the impact of bringing the BILLIONS spent in foreign oil back to our economy.

As far as subsidies, this may have hurt the industry as much as it has helped. I was approached by some people trying to put together the financing for an ethenol / biodiesel plant here in Arkansas. They paid more attention to the Federal subsidies than to the day to day operation of the plant. I told them that if they couldn't make the model work without the subsidies, they shouldn't build the plant. Have not heard back from them, but the focus was in the wrong place and they had a model that worked only when the product was being subsidized.

The key will be the cost of a gallon of gasoline (or diesel). The higher the cost of oil, the better the economics works for an ethanol / biodiesel plant. The cost of oil is going to go up - no real question about that - as China and India continue to grow and prosper. So eventually the economic case for ethanol & biodiesel will be made, regardless of subsidies.

Finally, we know on the front end that ethanol is not as fuel efficient in engines designed for gasoline. There is a 20-30% efficiency loss, depending upon how one drives. I don't see that as a major problem - we just adjust our expectations accordingly.
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Old 05-09-2007, 06:56 AM   #66  
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I'm sure I saw somewhere that the Taurus E85 cars are quicker on E85 but do get worse mileage, can anyone else confirm/refute this? If this is true makes me wonder how the ole' Cobra would like it .
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Old 05-09-2007, 08:43 AM   #67  
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Emil,

This link www.fueleconomy.gov/ has MPG for cars, adjusted for the new way of measuring things. Also has gasoline vs ethenol MPG calculations. You may be able to get some ideas from it.

Technology is going to help us out some, especially when the lithium-ion batteries come on line (hopefully for 2009 / 2010). Two interesting concepts:

Toyota Prius for 2009 or 2010 is supposed to be lighter (see battery comment above), more fuel efficient (90 MPG in city) and have a cord & plug that will allow the car to charge itself at home.

Chevy Volt concept car is an all electric with a generator and cord & plug. The concept is that the car will run 40 or so miles on the batteries, then the generator will kick in to charge the car (still running on just an electric motor). True MPG is around 150 or so.

What I like about charging the car at home is that the cost is much less than any fuel we would put in the tank. The Volt is saying the 40 miles would cost 80 cents at todays prices, which means my 22 mile round trip commute would cost about 40 cents, or under $3 for the entire week. I currently fill up once per week (1/2 tank or less) at a cost between $25-$30, so this would be quite a savings.

There are probably a lot of other ideas being explored, but I think we are going to see positive things from the car industry in the future.
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Old 05-09-2007, 09:21 AM   #68  
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I do like the Volt concept the best, diesel trains have been using this concept for over 50 years. With motor and magnet technology going the way it is efficiencies are well in the upper 90% range. The beauty of it is you can drop in whatever power source you want and convert it to electricity be it batteries, motor/generator, fuel cell, nuclear, etc....
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Old 05-09-2007, 03:30 PM   #69  
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Yes. Been working from home full time now whereas I used to only work from home 1 day a week. Saves me $200 a month.
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Old 05-09-2007, 10:02 PM   #70  
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You are very right about that. A lot of these journalists are often very short-sighted in their articles and often take on an annoying Malthusian tone with their language. They always find ways to point out something wrong, yet often don't have much of a solution. Like the preacher of gloom and doom Thomas Malthus, they often fail to take into account the fact that technology is going to constantly change and is a dynamic force in the market. Ethanol might not be the solution in the end, but it is still something that will be there to help us achieve whatever long run result we ultimately end up at. Who could have guessed that modern gasoline engines could even be as clean as they are right now? Technology has done incredible things for us, and I refuse to believe that we will run into a technological brick wall anytime soon.

As many of you guys have already said, lets at least keep the money in our country instead of sending them to mid-eastern sheiks who hate us, or to screwed up little countries like Venezuela.

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Originally Posted by SLedford View Post
Ethenol will work when the technology is perfected to use non-food crops instead of corn. Instead of burning the rice fields after the rice is harvested, cut the stubble and make ethenol. Instead of doing a controlled burn in the national forest to get rid of fire hazardous underbrush, bush-hog it and make ethenol.

We should not convert a large portion of our food producing farmland into ethenol (or biodiesel) production if we can avoid it. It has a ripple effect around the world, especially with the poor who are having problems paying for food as it is. Lets use the farmland that is sitting idle (paid to sit idle by the government).

The biggest benefit that I see is that the money stays in the US instead of going to frequently hostile foreign governments. US farmers (and corporations) pay taxes and spend their money here. There is a financial multiplyer that is used to calculate the impact of a conference / sporting event in a community. For the sake of arguement, lets say that $1 pumped into the US economy eventually has a $7 impact. Imagine the impact of bringing the BILLIONS spent in foreign oil back to our economy.

As far as subsidies, this may have hurt the industry as much as it has helped. I was approached by some people trying to put together the financing for an ethenol / biodiesel plant here in Arkansas. They paid more attention to the Federal subsidies than to the day to day operation of the plant. I told them that if they couldn't make the model work without the subsidies, they shouldn't build the plant. Have not heard back from them, but the focus was in the wrong place and they had a model that worked only when the product was being subsidized.

The key will be the cost of a gallon of gasoline (or diesel). The higher the cost of oil, the better the economics works for an ethanol / biodiesel plant. The cost of oil is going to go up - no real question about that - as China and India continue to grow and prosper. So eventually the economic case for ethanol & biodiesel will be made, regardless of subsidies.

Finally, we know on the front end that ethanol is not as fuel efficient in engines designed for gasoline. There is a 20-30% efficiency loss, depending upon how one drives. I don't see that as a major problem - we just adjust our expectations accordingly.
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Old 05-09-2007, 10:05 PM   #71  
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I'm sure I saw somewhere that the Taurus E85 cars are quicker on E85 but do get worse mileage, can anyone else confirm/refute this? If this is true makes me wonder how the ole' Cobra would like it .
I can confrim this observation. The department I used to work for had 2 E85 Taurus' in their fleet and they only averaged 12-14mpg vs. averaging 18-20mpg on straight 87 octane petrol. I never got to drive it, but they were complaining that it was drinking E85 a little too fast since they had to drive them all the way downtown to the only E85 filling station in the city. These vehicles were reserved for the more important people in the department and were actually pretty nice for a fleet car.
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Old 05-10-2007, 11:58 AM   #72  
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Here is an interesting article from GM in PDF format.

http://www.gmcanada.com/inm/gmcanada...y_Pamphlet.pdf
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Old 05-10-2007, 12:55 PM   #73  
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DSNY FN,

The PDF file mentions the Volt, along with containing a lot of other interesting information. The Volt as it is detailed would work incredibly well for me. Most of my driving is local, and my cost would be 40-50 cents per day, all of it on battery power, charged overnight at my house. Total cost for an average week would be under $4 US, compared to the $25-$30 each week right now. And no direct pollution from the vehicle.

My concern is that GM is good about coming up with concept cars, short on getting them out in a timely manner. A auto web page mentioned that the 2009 Totyota Prius hybrid might also include an extension cord that would allow the car to be recharged at home (cheaper than using the engine & generator). They are also claiming 90 MPG for city driving.

Both of the above are waiting for breakthroughs on battery technology.

So I am now planning on keeping my Caravan a little longer till I see what is coming down the line. I like the concept on both of these. The Smart Car will be in Tulsa in October, so I may have to make a swing up to see mom about that time.
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Old 05-10-2007, 01:12 PM   #74  
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DSNY FN,

The PDF file mentions the Volt, along with containing a lot of other interesting information. The Volt as it is detailed would work incredibly well for me. Most of my driving is local, and my cost would be 40-50 cents per day, all of it on battery power, charged overnight at my house. Total cost for an average week would be under $4 US, compared to the $25-$30 each week right now. And no direct pollution from the vehicle.

My concern is that GM is good about coming up with concept cars, short on getting them out in a timely manner. A auto web page mentioned that the 2009 Totyota Prius hybrid might also include an extension cord that would allow the car to be recharged at home (cheaper than using the engine & generator). They are also claiming 90 MPG for city driving.

Both of the above are waiting for breakthroughs on battery technology.

So I am now planning on keeping my Caravan a little longer till I see what is coming down the line. I like the concept on both of these. The Smart Car will be in Tulsa in October, so I may have to make a swing up to see mom about that time.

I really like the VOLT especially as a commuter vehicle to get back and forth to work I also like the 100 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles they will have to people by 08 in Canada. Very interesting stuff coming up from GM.
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Old 05-10-2007, 03:44 PM   #75  
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I'll just have to live with the Honda Civic Hybrid until something better comes along (we get 48 to 56 mpg) and we didn't pay all that much for it. That crap about them getting 25% less gas mileage then listed by the EPA is pure bullshit (sorry), we do not baby the car and drive it like any other kind of car and still get that kind of mpg (higher on the highway using the cruise control).

And Honda has offered Hydrogen Fuel cell cars in California for several years and they do extremely well (I don't know why everyone ignores this fact) and I keep hearing people say that Hydrogen Fuel Cell cars are years from being built and being feasible.

If we as a people actually stopped appearing to not care about fuel economy (14 to 20 mpg trucks and SUVs being bought for driving by 1 or 2 people) the availablity of Fuel Cell vehicles would happen very quickly along with the electrical power to produce the fuel.

I actually think it will take the Federal government taxing the heck out of gasoline and oil and causing huge increases in cost to the consumer to force us to realize and look at alternative fuels and energy (the Democratic party has discussed this possibility) if they will do it remains to be seen.
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