AD #3302 – Why There’s Ethanol In Gasoline; More Info On GM’s Ultium Platform; Car Prices Are Causing Inflation

April 13th, 2022 at 12:16pm

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0:08 Car Prices Are Causing Inflation
0:57 Bosch Buys AV Start Up
1:36 Why There’s Ethanol in Gasoline
3:14 Big BMW X7 Gets Big Changes
4:41 Mercedes Prices the EQE
5:28 Jeep Stretches the Wagoneer Another Foot
7:08 Which Car Company Has the Most Employees?
8:22 More Info on GM’s Ultium Platform

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30 Comments to “AD #3302 – Why There’s Ethanol In Gasoline; More Info On GM’s Ultium Platform; Car Prices Are Causing Inflation”

  1. ChuckGrenci Says:

    That BMW X7 is NOT a handsome vehicle.

    It will be interesting how the new stretched Wagoneer fares in the market of ‘huge’ vehicles which already exist. Usually, GM has the flair of introducing product at the wrong time; it appears Jeep is getting, its turn, this time. (maybe the aforementioned X7 too)

  2. Kevin A Says:

    With EVs, it is a lot easier to have performance versions that blow the doors off ICE cars. Maybe now would be a good time to spin Corvette off as a separate company. Shouldn’t it be worth as much as Ferrari?

  3. Kevin A Says:

    Adding ethanol to gas might be cleaner, but politics at the time made it necessary to produce it from the surplus of corn that existed at the time. Now, with corn prices through the roof and 3rd world countries being priced out of the food market, maybe it should also be time to allow ethanol to be made from natural gas. Note: I’m told that a nasty form of vodka is available in parts of Russia that is made from natural gas. Yuck.

  4. George Ricci Says:

    3.Cellulosic ethanol can be made from from plant base matter, but more importantly it can be made from garbage. What does every major city have? Garbage! If you take the garbage and make ethanol near refineries, you also solve the transportation problem of ethanol.

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Brazil uses sugar cane, a more efficient feed stock than corn, to make make ethanol. If we want ethanol fuel, maybe we should incentivize the growing of sugar cane in Louisiana, and wherever else it grows well in the US.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    1 It’s already looking like the timing may not be too great for the XXL Wagoneer. The Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep dealer near me shows an inventory of 7 Wagoneers on their web site, 5 of them on the dealer lot, while the Toyota dealer shows zero Highlander hybrids in stock, and 4 in transit. I suspect the “in transit” Highlanders might be spoken for by the time they arrive, except for a pricey Platinum trim level with an MSRP of $55K.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    3 According to this, ethanol from natural gas is cheaper than from corn, and using some of it would lower corn cost. Well, the article is 10 years old, but might still be valid. The “factory” farmers might not like it, though, and would whine to their congress representatives.,eligible%20as%20an%20ethanol%20feedstock..

  8. XA351GT Says:

    I have a question about oxygenated fuel. Doesn’t the O2 sensor detect the amount of oxygen and correct the mixture? If So it makes me wonder that if it detects higher than required oxygen that it would adjust and richen the mix in fact making you use even more fuel? I know here in the Northeast when they used oxygenate the fuel during winter gas mileage dropped at least 10 5 or more which also lead me to believe that the mixture was being richened to run correctly . If that is in fact true the only engines that really were being affected would have been carberated engines that were being leaned out .

  9. Bob Wilson Says:

    When E85 was available, I tested in our Prius. There was a harmless check engine light and mileage decreased. Full throttle hill climbs were faster as car self-tuned for the higher octane.

  10. ChuckGrenci Says:

    Approximate 2.5% decrease of fuel economy with E-10, add E-15 and you’re looking at approximately 4% reduction in fuel economy; not to mention the consequences of ethanol in fuel to begin with (greater affinity to absorb H2O in the air). Not a big deal with closed fuel systems which all modern vehicles possess (unless they have evap. leaks). All motor-sport manufacturers, I believe, do not endorse and strictly exclude E-15 for their vehicles. And feed corn is better utilized in feeding livestock, IMO, than making fuel.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    8 Any modern car would properly richen the mixture for the E15. If the controls are working properly mileage should drop about 3 between E10 and E0, and would be ~1.5% lower with E15 than E10.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    9 I’m surprised the Prius even ran on E85. They never advertised it as using E85, so I’m surprised it would richen the mixture enough. I guess it’s possible the what what you bought as E85 was actually E25, or something like that, and mixed with what you had left in the tank, was only a little “out of range” for the fuel system.

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    10,11 Guess I started typing #11 before seeing your #10.

    Actually, gasahol has an advantage, as far as water in the gas, because the water mixes with the ethanol-gas mix, rather than settling to the bottom of the tank. Too much dissolved water, though, would not be good.

    I don’t think I’d want E15 in even my scooter, even though it has fuel injection. I’m not sure it is a closed loop system like in cars, so it might end up running too lean. I definitely wouldn’t want it in my KLR650 with a carburetor.

  14. JR Says:

    @9 You put E85 in a vehicle not designed for it? If so, that is not a good idea. E85 is corrosive to the fuel system components. Cars designed for it will have upgraded components to deal with this. Not to mentioned higher flow rate pumps and injectors to make up for the lower energy density. The check engine light was likely due to the fuel trims pegged at their rich limit trying to compensate. Not necessarily harmless if the catalysts overheat due to a lean condition.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    14 You get overheated catalysts from rich, not lean mixtures, because the extra gas is burning in the converter, not the cylinders.

    You can get holey pistons, and other bad things in the engine itself when running lean, and as you say, the fuel system materials, especially elastomers of a non-E85 system might not like that much alcohol.

  16. SteveO Says:

    Is “extending our gasoline supplies” the best excuse that the ethanol lobby can come up with to increase our ethanol consumption? Has anyone seen any news stories about gasoline shortages? There seems to be no limit to the gas supply at the current prices.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    16 It appears thatt gas is still too cheap. I still see people sitting in their vehicles with the engine running, when the weather is about perfect for having windows open. No heat or AC needed.

  18. JR Says:

    @15. No, lean melts cats. You go rich to cool them. It’s not intuitive, but that’s how it works. Once you jump to a more extreme lean things cool of again and you get great mileage at the expense on NOx.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    18 Yeah, misfire from lean running can dump unburned fuel into the catalytic converter.

  20. Mark Brichacek Says:

    As a Chrysler tech since 1982 I have seen several customers accidentally put E85 in their non flex fuel newer Stellantis vehicles and the only symptom was a check engine light due to a fuel system lean fault code. The adaptive fuel memories in modern vehicles can do a good job of compensating for too rich or too lean conditions but I don’t recommend people using E85 in non flex fuel vehicles since the fuel system parts are not designed for E85.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    20 I’m surprised that the non flex fuel vehicles even run on E85. The mixture adjustment has a lot more range than I would have thought. I’m not going to try E85 in my cars, though. I wonder if you can run 1/3 diesel fuel with gas, and the system will go lean enough for the engine to run. I’m not going to try it.

  22. Lambo2015 Says:

    One of the biggest problems with E85 is its tendency to attract moisture. So assuming the vehicle can adjust fuel mixture the biggest risk is the damage to the fuel system from rust created by moisture. However if your on a trip and burn through the tank that same day you probably wont see the issue with moisture.
    I would in no way ever put it in an of my gas applications where the tank isn’t used often like my tank for lawn equipment/snow blower. and certainly not in a motorhome or boat.

  23. Dommy Says:

    Stop blaming Ukraine for high gas prices. Before Ukraine gas went up $7.75 a gallon because of the Green people. You can not stop drilling and pipelines without a shortage problem. We were energy independent with President Trump now look. So now no nasty tweets and high gas prices. What would you want.

  24. Dommy Says:

    Previous email a typo. Should have read $1.75 a gallon

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    22 Any “flex fuel” vehicle designed to use E85 has a sealed fuel system, including a gas cap. Assuming the gas cap is installed, one tank volume of air will enter the tank as the fuel is burned, whether it’s burned in on day, or 6 months. The “back and forth” of temperature change, through the charcoal canister, would not bring extra moist air into the tank, at least not very much. Most lawn equipment wouldn’t even run on E85. My almost new lawn tractor still has a carburetor, which is jetted for E10.

    A friend runs E10 a drag car with a carburetor. I’ll probably see him next summer, and I’ll ask him what precautions he takes regarding water absorption. I suspect he runs the fuel out of the carburetor after he’s done racing for the day.

  26. JR Says:

    E85 is not compatible with low carbon steel fuel lines, so they will be damaged over time. E85 rated vehicles will have stainless steel or nickel coated low carbon (or nylon). The fuel level sender resister card also needs material upgrades or it will stop working. The wires to the pump also need upgraded insulation since high concentrations of ethanol will degrade it. Non of these problems will be apparent from occasional use, but it will be a problem over time.

    And Kit, the lean issue melting cats is not just from misfire. Under high loads, engines need to switch to open loop fuel with richer than stoic air fuel specifically for cat cooling. It even needs to be documented that way on cart paperwork so as not to be considered a defeat device.

  27. JR Says:

    @23. Please consider getting your information from less biased sources. The price of gas is primarily due to the covid shutdowns causing demand volatility (and a huge uptick now that things are returning to normal) as well as the Russia situation. The president has little, if anything to do with it. Of course it make for great political fodder in an election year, so political hacks will spin this as a Biden/Dem/Green issue.

    Also, energy independence is largely a myth. Oil prices are set based on the global market. Even if the US used no Russian oil, increased demand from other countries avoiding Russian oil will drive prices up for everyone. And even if the US produced every drop of oil it used (which it has not), its not like all that oil stays here. The oil companies sell to the highest bidder (you know, capitalism and stuff).

  28. XA351GT Says:

    #27 Bollocks, The price of gas was well below any levels since the current administration took over even before the plannedemic. It began climbing the day he took office and grabbed a pen and starting EOs one after the other.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    28 Come on. Get serious. Oil companies shut down production in 2020 when oil had negative value, because driving and flying were way down. Now, with covid more under control and driving and flying back to normal, or maybe record highs, oil prices are high. Supply and demand, you know. Also, the Ukraine invasion isn’t helping.

    Gas is still too cheap, though. I still see people sitting in their vehicles with the engine running, when the weather is perfect for, you know, open windows. No A/C or heat needed.

  30. Keith Meintjes Says:

    8 etc. The O2 sensor is used to control the stoichiometry of the mixture, that is the ratio of carbon and hydrogen to oxygen. If there is more or less oxygen (via ethanol) in the fuel it will commensurately adjust the air flow.

    A slightly perverse side effect is that if your air filter is dirty, flowing less (maximum) air, you will get less maximum power because the control system will allow less fuel.