pic: Ethanol powered car from GM

They also had a H2 fuel cell model.

::sings:: They call me mellow yellow… ::sings:: :cool:

I clicked on the pic to see a close up of the Days Of Thunder Mellow Yellow sponsored race car-esque paint job and then realized it was actually painted as an ear of corn popping out of its green leaves.

Pretty wild.

The cars there were really neat, hopefully someone took pictures of their futuristic looking seats. Someone managed to set off the alarm in one of the cars though :x

My 1999 Ford Ranger can run on E85. Can I buy it anywhere? No. Cars that run on E85 certainly aren’t anything new and aren’t anything to make much news over. When gas stations start selling E85, then lets get excited.

I was under the impression all you had to do to run a conventional car on ethanol was to re-jet the carberator (if it had a carb, making the jets about 15% larger)

I would think with a fuel injected engine it would be a trivial tweak to the engine control SW, or even a switch on the dashboard

so I am sitting here wondering, what exactly makes this an ‘ethanol powered car’ ?

I remember reading about people running cars and tractors on pure ethanol in The Mother Earth News (magazine) back in the '70s

Ethanol is not really that great if you think about it. My dad told me that consumer reports did a test with it and found out that it is actually cheaper to buy gas (more miles to the gallon). Also, if you were to take all of the kernels of corn in the U.S. it would only supply about 16% of the demand per year. Now how useful is ethanol in reality? I think I’m going to stick to the petroleum for now!

well, yeah, but you are talking about 16% of billions and billions of dollars per year that are presently going to other countries, that could stay here.

and I believe the pollution from burning ethanol is near zero.

No you need a whole stainless steel fuel system because Ethanol is corrosive.

Why does it always have to be a massive pickup or SUV? It kind of negates the benifits of the Ethanol drive train.

well, yeah, but you are talking about 16% of billions and billions of dollars per year that are presently going to other countries, that could stay here.

I think conservation can save a lot more.

Personally, I believe conservation is the only true solution. All alternatives fuel resources have major flaws and we can’t really wait for all the solutions. It will be too late!

I actually took the picture of this car because it was a neat display (and the other side of the car was MOE green :smiley: ). I did talk to the rep about their fuel cell prototype car, but that was a bland color.

If you look closely, and you may not be able to see it in this pic, the yellow is actually painted to look like rows of corn kernels.

The rep did say to someone there that E85 is just a temporary solution to the gas crisis and more work is being done to improve cost and efficiency.

I am all about that display Carol, it is way cool.
Thanks for putting up all the pictures, they are amazing.

well, ok, everyone drive less and drive more fuel effecient vehicles

then we can run 33% of our vehicles on ethanol instead of gasoline, but those billions of dollars can still be pumped back into our economy, instead of handing it to foreign goverments to pump sludge out of the ground.

Why should they stay in the U.S. if other countries can produce the product more efficiently? After all, even after transport costs are taken into account, Middle Eastern oil is cheaper to produce than American oil, and much cheaper than anyone’s ethanol.

So, would you accept higher prices for fuel, just to keep jobs in America? What does that accomplish, on average? The American worker pays more for transportation, causing a decrease in consumption (i.e. buying things), because of reduced disposable income. On the other hand, employment levels presumably increase due to the need to produce locally. Except that reduced consumption could easily cause reduced production, meaning that jobs may be eliminated. How can you be sure that you’re balancing these factors?

In some ways, it’s better, because of the type and concentration of impurities (e.g. sulfur is typically present in gasoline, but not in ethanol). But in terms of things like CO emissions, it’s the same carbon in either fuel; it depends on whether the engine is mechanically capable of sustaining relatively complete combustion, and whether the operating conditions permit it. Any hydrocarbon fuel is burned at the whim of its engine.

Also, at present, infrastructure and transportation costs for ethanol exceed those of gasoline. This has plenty to do with the inability to transport ethanol through pipelines, or store it in tank farms, for fear of accumulating water in the fuel. The current solution is to use trucks to transport the fuel; this is impractical given the volume of fuel needed to serve the North American market.

Brazil, which has been using ethanol for years, has a significant advantage over North America: tropical climate. This allows them to grow sugarcane locally, for conversion to ethanol fuel. They therefore eliminate the transport and storage difficulties. But recall that the price of this convenience is a dependence on slash-and-burn agriculture to sustain many cane plantations—they cause environmental damage by eliminating rainforests, rather than by necessitating more transport trucks.

When you look at the whole picture, the operating energy costs of an ethanol infrastructure are at best insignificantly better than gasoline, and in reality, probably somewhat worse. Improvements in transport and storage technology may eventually bring this around, but for today, especially in the Northern U.S. and Canada, a 6-month growing season is not a practical way to sustain a year-round need for fuel.

So, would you accept higher prices for fuel, just to keep jobs in America? What does that accomplish, on average?..

the billions of dollar per year that we would be putting into our own economy (which is presently going into the pockets of obscenely wealthy kings and families in the middle east) would provide meaningful jobs for thousands of people in this country

and it would also drive the growth of an ethanol based transportation system, resulting in the needed infrastructure being created and built up over the years

the best part is this is a renewable resource. It wont be gone in 50 or 100 years.

people have demonstrated the will to do the right thing regarding our economy and our environment. The hybrid electric cars that are being purchased in large numbers today cost more to drive in the long run than a base-model gasoline car, but people are still willing to pay more for them.

How much corn are we willing to grow for fuel while people are starving?

Is ethanol really worth the massive fertilzer run off into our streams and rivers? These are not grown organically folks.

One hummer probably offsets the gain of multiple ethanol and hybrid vehicles. Until people stop buy bigger and bigger vehicles every year, a couple of hybrids or E85 vehicles here and there, aren’t going to make a dent in the Middle East economy.

Perhaps WVO is the answer.

Where to find 7 billion barrels/year of it?..LOL.

Yeah, but then we would have to import all of our corn to eat, then we would end up getting more of a cost per can of corn at your local grocery store.

“Hey mom, can we get some corn?”
“No, it is too expensive”
“But it’s on sale for $4.50 a can.” :ahh:

no, it would only cost around $80 per barrel for light sweet corn :^)

What sort of infrastructure? Trucks? They need a breakthrough in large-scale storage and transport, before this is reasonable in anywhere but the U.S. Midwest.

And realistically, no matter who’s running the hydrocarbon fuel show, the profits get absorbed by those in positions of power. It’s not just sheikhs; Americans, Europeans, and eastern Asians all have their own homegrown oil magnates. If you don’t like the profit sharing, simply transferring responsibility to the domestic arms of Exxon or Texaco (or maybe Monsanto, if corn-based fuel becomes popular) won’t solve the problem.

And while I certainly can’t make a definitive prediction based on such a small set of evidence, remember that even if thousands of jobs are created in America, if higher fuel costs make disposable income decrease, the standard of living might well follow. Even a small (percentage) decrease, because it’s due to something as ubiquitous as automotive fuel, will have significant effects on GDP. So one can only hope that the increased consumption due to slightly lower unemployment will mitigate this.

Consistently? I doubt that. The “right thing” for the economy depends greatly on your views on such things; it’s a complex enough system that it’s difficult to prove any particular economic strategy is the correct one. Effectively, that means that damned near anything can be justified as the “right thing”. Environmentally, people are willing to do token things, like buy organic foods, once in a while—but on average, there’s not much evidence for people doing the “right thing” on a consistent basis. The lifestyle that we all enjoy simply doesn’t lend itself to very environmentally responsible choices. Demand that people drive more efficient cars? They complain about their liberty. Ask them nicely? They don’t do it. You have to trick them with hybrids (and the associated mystique—like “atomic” in the 50s) to get them to embrace efficiency—until they realize that current hybrid technology can’t pay for itself in gas savings, not even with $1.20/L gas.

My wifes best friend recently purchased the Toyota Hybrid (the Prius?)

she is the head nurse at a hospital, and her husband is an industrial engineer. Nobody tricked them into buying the car, they understood the long term cost vs the money they would save on fuel

and they had to take what they could get from the dealer when they could get it, at the list price, because the car had a 3 month back order.