Trump In Iowa, Rightside Broadcasting

I wanted to watch the Trump rally in Iowa. They had mentioned the 15% Ethanol rule and I wanted to hear what they did. Well, most places didn’t have it. But Righside Broadcasting does. The recording is 6 hours 28 minutes, but trump starts talking at about 4 hours 50 minutes in.

This was held in Council Bluffs Iowa, right on the Nebraska border, so a lot of Nebraskans made it to the crowd. For those who don’t know, when Iowa was a dry State, folks, including my Dad as a young guy, would drive to Council Bluffs to party. Just over the line in Nebraska you could buy booze, then bring it back to the party. Dad was from the far East side of Iowa, right on the Mississippi River, so it was a big deal to go to Council Bluffs. Needless to say the bond between both sides of that border are long and deep.

The 15% rule issue is a bit complex. I’m not going to insert links, but I did look it up. At the 15% ethanol level gasoline has a higher RVP (vapor pressure) so the EPA mandates specific labeling as “Flex Fuel”… but … Only in certain summer months and only in some places (most but not all places). Needless to say this was confusing and a PITA. What Trump has done is push to have the complexity removed and just let people sell E15 year round labeled AS E15. Makes perfect sense to me.

Along the way I found out that all cars made since 2001 are supposed to be made able to run on E15. As I now have 2 4×4 cars from that cohort, I now know I can run E-15 in them. Oh Joy… The old Banana Boat was very unhappy on just E-10 Super and was happiest on stuff less than E-5 or so; meaning I had to mix my own from Ethanol Free + E-10 or just run the Ethanol Free (at $1 / gallon higher price – sometimes only 75 ¢ higher). It’s nice to know I don’t need to do that even at E-15 on those two cars.

The practical effect will be small, as E-15 is mostly limited to the northern central plains States; with the southern area where I run most of the time being E-10 gas. Trump did say “Nation wide” so perhaps the change also allows E-15 nation wide ( I hope it does not mandate it). However, as I’m expecting to spend more time in Chicago, there will now be times that I’m in the area. So if I see an E-15 pump, I won’t worry too much now.

Toward the end of the video the Rightside folks stated that YouTube began hiding their videos and attempts to search for them would not find them. I’m not sure the details beyond that, but just so folks know, here’s their channel location on YouTube ( I think it’s the top entry point).

Here’s the Council Bluffs video:

The last 1/2 of the speech is pretty much the usual boilerplate of accomplishments since the election, but still nice to be reminded.

Just for completion, here’s the Erie Pennsylvania rally too. First speakers start at about 55 minutes, then Trump enters at 1 hour 55 minutes and starts talking 2 minutes later ;-)

At 1 hour 52 min. they say YouTube has demonetized their videos and so they are on the “bad list”. That’s an interesting bit of direct political manipulation. How can just reporting events be “bad”, eh?

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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38 Responses to Trump In Iowa, Rightside Broadcasting

  1. pouncer says:

    Same as NOT reporting events is “good”. The local NPR radio station is holding fund raising pledge week. Now I’m a listener, and a donor. But the ads about how impartial and unbiased the public network strives to be, makes me ill. There are two new movies out, based on real world events. One stars Robert Redford (Butch Cassidy) as a bank robber. One stars Dean Cain (Superman) as a drug enforcement agent. Guess which gets promoted as news and which movie can’t even BUY airtime as a SPONSOR. Cain’s movie about Kermit Gosnell can’t be mentioned …

  2. ossqss says:

    IIRC, it takes more energy, in total, to make E anything, than it provides in the end.

  3. Bruce Ryan says:

    yes, ethanol in gas is a terrible idea.
    Its a let down for thinking Americans.

  4. Larry Ledwick says:

    Excellent commentary about President Trump and while the elite class does not understand him, and what the Trump Doctrine appears to be.

    Short answer, don’t repeat failed policies, do things differently, treat international relations as transactional diplomacy between individual countries, find a way to make both sides win.

  5. Larry Ledwick says:

    ossqss says:
    12 October 2018 at 12:57 am

    IIRC, it takes more energy, in total, to make E anything, than it provides in the end.
    Bruce Ryan says:
    12 October 2018 at 1:41 am

    yes, ethanol in gas is a terrible idea.
    Its a let down for thinking Americans.

    Those are the talking points of the petroleum interests but they are not accurate (overly simplistic)

    Fuel ethanol is one of the best non-toxic octane enhancers for gasoline in existance. It has a official octane of about 104 octane but it blends as though it has about 112 octane. The energy per volume is lower than gasoline if you just consider pure heat of combustion per volume but that is not what matters. It allows much more efficient engine operation due to its higher fuel octane when blended with gasoline and it allows better over all thermal efficiency.

    The energy to produce it is a red herring argument, if you calculate energy yield vs energy available at the pump for gasoline by the same thermodynamic methods they use to crucify ethanol it is horrible, when you consider all the energy it takes to get it out of the ground shipped to a refinery, process energy to crack it to usable gasoline and the ship it to a station it is far less return on investment than fuel ethanol. For one thing fuel ethanol energy inputs are mostly in the form or thermal energy from coal or natural gas. Fuel ethanol effectively is a conversion process that turns diesel (farm tractors) coal (electricity) and natural gas (process heat and electricity) into a high quality high octane motor fuel that internal combustion engines love.

    The specific fuel energy of ethanol is actually higher than gasoline. Since a gasoline internal combustion engine is an air limited engine ( it can only burn the amount of fuel its intake airflow supports) unlike a diesel which is fuel limited (diesels are throttled by controlling fuel flow, where gasoline engines are throttled by controlling air flow).

    At max airflow and internal combustion engine can intake, if fueled by straight fuel ethanol it can produce about 1.24x the energy it could on the highest octane gasoline you can buy.

    With direct injection research engines have achieved thermal efficiencies of 40% which is comparable to diesel engines.

    Turbocharged and high compression high performance engines absolutely adore ethanol enhanced fuels. You can run 35 psi boost on an engine on E85 that will destroy itself on 20 psi boost with the best racing gasoline you can feed it.

    Common internal combustion engines can use up to 24% fuel ethanol with no modifications (Brazil did tests to determine this back in the 1970’s, but the petroleum industry does not want the public to know it.

    Folks living in states that allow users to select fuel blends with “dial a blend pumps” generally settle on about a 20%-30% blend of fuel ethanol in gasoline.

    The high blending octane of fuel ethanol also allows you to use lower octane gasoline blend stocks that without expensive processing or octane enhancement would be illegal to sell as gasoline because these sub-octane gasoline to not meet regulatory minimum octane to be sold as motor fuel. Add a bit of ethanol and you can get more usable gasoline out of a barrel of crude oil than you can without it.

    It has a small fuel mileage penalty if you are concerned by miles per gallon in non-optimized engines but that is a stupid way to measure fuel economy. Fuel economy is properly measured as dollars or cents per mile, who cares if you have to stop at a gas station a few miles sooner if you save money on a tank full. Properly priced (no gouging or manipulation but price driven by real costs) fuel ethanol added gasoline is cheaper on a dollar per mile basis than straight gasoline and the engine will be happier and last longer to boot. (modern design materials and methods completely eliminate all the so called problems with ethanol in fuels). If your engine has a problem on an ethanol added fuel blame the stupid engineers that did not design for a fuel that has been in common use since the 1970’s. It is not the fuels fault if the manufactures are idiots.

  6. Power Grab says:

    My daily driver is 27 years old. When I was forced to use ethanol gas on a trip to Georgia several years ago, I noticed significant power loss and mpg loss (10%?) when burning ethanol. It was practically impossible to find non-ethanol gas east of my state.

    I understand from my mechanic that an engine as old as mine would see quick deterioration of seals and such if I used only ethanol.

    I can’t afford to plunk down many thousands of dollars for a new vehicle, I prefer to keep my current car and use non-ethanol gas in it.

    Even though it’s old and weather-beaten, it still runs well and tackles both expressways and hills with aplomb. MPG is not bad either (on regular gas). When they came out with the Cash for Clunkers program, I had no problem turning up my nose at it. My 28-29 MPG (highway) was not much lower than the 30-31 MPG new cars they were pushing (along with a huge debt load).

    The older car’s ride is nicer than the 16yo Honda I was given by a relative. My young’un enjoys driving the Honda, however.

  7. Larry Ledwick says:

    What make and model? What state are you in?

    Ethanol has been mandated in some markets in the US since 1988. Denver was the first city to require it during the winter months in 1988 as it was the only way they could reduce emissions enough to meet EPA limits.

    Fuel ethanol was available blended in gasoline here ever earlier in the late 1970′, so you car was manufactured just at the introduction of wide scale use of ethanol in fuels.

    My 1979 VW had problems with it (leaky fuel line) because the German fuel line rubber choice was not compatible with ethanol added fuels. Went down to NAPA spent about $2.00 for a short length of Gates fuel hose and never had a further problem. If you had a 1991 US manufacture car there is almost 100% probability you had a carburetion system, which means the ethanol fuels were leaning out the mixture. The fix was simple, just a small change in jet size or a tweak to the air bleed screws and you would have been good to go. Ethanol fuels burn a bit faster than gasoline in rich mixtures and a bit slower in lean mixtures so it was also effectively changing your ignition timing a little too. In the 1970’s when Brazil did their tests they made simple tuning changes to optimize for the ethanol (well within normal adjustment ranges) and the engines ran fine on low ethanol mixtures.

    That period of car production were all disasters as the manufactures tried to hit fuel mileage and emissions limits on crappy fuel. Cars had all sorts of problems with trying to make engines originally designed to run on 8:1 – 9:1 compression ratios work well on fuels that wanted 7:1 – 8:0 compression ratios. That is why manufactures quickly shifted to various electronic ignition systems and eventually fazed out carburetors as they could not reach acceptable emissions on those systems with good drivability. They could be tuned to run great on ethanol added fuels but it was illegal and many old school mechanics did not understand what they had to do and just condemned the fuel.

    In carefully controlled fuel mileage tests cars just a few years younger than yours (mid 1990’s to late 1990’s) had very small changes in fuel mileage on ethanol added fuels. In fact a couple makes and models got better fuel mileage on E10 fuels than they did on regular gasoline.

  8. E.M.Smith says:


    You are “wrong” about how long ethanol and blends have been in use… (but I think you really know this already ;-) Before there were gas stations, when gasoline was shipped in gallon cans by steam trains, it was more common to find alcohol along the way and cars (especially Ford) were made to run Ethanol. Ford even had a dual fuel carburetor where you could switch it between gasoline or alcohol depending on what was available.

    During most significant times of financial hardship or wars, alcohol blends were sold. Names like Agrol and others are part of the history:

    … was a 1937-39 blend of 90% gasoline and 10% ethanol sold in 2,000 Midwestern service stations. The idea was to boost fuel “octane,” and the farm economy, without having to use tetra-ethyl lead.

    Not just in the USA but in Europe too.

    IMHO, any car maker who ever made a car ought to have known that history and designed accordingly.

    During the Arab Oil Embargo of about 1973 and maybe before that in the early ’70s I regularly ran “gasahol” (mostly bought from the local 76 Station). It ran nicely and more smoothly in my old ’63 Ford Fairlane than did regular old gasoline. At that time it was expected we’d see more of it in the future and lots of folks were running it; so car makers ought to have been very aware…

    @Power Grab:

    The story that running ethanol blends in old cars will destroy their engines is just that, stories.

    Where there MAY be a bit of truth in it has to do with the rubber parts of the fuel system. Ethanol (any alcohol) will cause regular rubber to swell up a little. (So will sulfur analogs of alcohols). This is used to benefit in some kinds of leak stopping compounds that swell old seals and makes them fit more tightly (so stopping the leak for a while). When they took the sulfur out of Diesel, a friend with a VW Rabbit had his fuel pump start to leak. I told him to add 10% regular gasoline (with ethanol in it) or about 1% ethanol to his Diesel tank. That fixed his leak. (Removing the sulfur shrunk the seals… many a complete injector pump rebuild was done for $thousands when all that was needed was new Viton seals…) So IF you have plain rubber fuel lines or fuel pump diaphragm or maybe rubber bits in a carburetor, they could swell, soften, and tear more easily. Except that almost all fuel systems were made with alcohol friendly rubbers since fuel line drier (alcohol) and other alcohols and worse compounds were often found in gasoline…

    The more common fuel system rubbers do not soften or swell in alcohols. Pretty much anything made in the last 30 years.

    You will also hear folks swearing it will corrode light alloys like your aluminum carburetor. Well in the ’80s I ran my Brigs & S. lawn mower on pure methanol (much more “corrosive”) for a few years without a problem. In reality, alcohols are about as “corrosive” as water. I also put some carburetor parts, aluminum foil, screws etc. in test tubes of methanol and observed it for months. The only bad thing that happened (other than boredom) was that at crease lines in the aluminum foil it got a bit of oxide from lite corrosion. Realize pure methanol is orders of magnitude worse than gasoline with some ethanol in it (and likely corrosion inhibitors in the gasoline too).

    A 1991 car (27 years back) ought to have E10 compatible parts anyway.
    From chart:

    “E5 to E10 Modifications not necessary for vehicles since about 1987-92 ”

    I would just add especially if it is a Ford… Ford was fond of ethanol since the start. Picky strange foreign cars were the last ones to get on board in ’92.

    In 1826 Samuel Morey experimented with an internal combustion chemical mixture that used ethanol (combined with turpentine and ambient air then vaporized) as fuel. At the time, his discovery was overlooked, mostly due to the success of steam power. Ethanol fuel received little attention until 1860 when Nicholas Otto began experimenting with internal combustion engines. In 1859, oil was found in Pennsylvania, which decades later provided a new kind of fuel. A popular fuel in the U.S. before petroleum was a blend of alcohol and turpentine called “camphene”, also known as “burning fluid.” The discovery of a ready supply of oil and unfavorable taxation on burning fluid made kerosene a more popular fuel.

    In 1896, Henry Ford designed his first car, the “Quadricycle” to run on pure ethanol. In 1908, the revolutionary Ford Model T was capable of running on gasoline, ethanol or a combination. Ford continued to advocate for ethanol fuel even during the prohibition,
    but lower prices caused gasoline to prevail.

    Gasoline containing up to 10% ethanol began a decades-long growth in the United States in the late 1970s.

    It is really highly unlikely your car is one of the few that was not already being built for E-10 in the late ’90s.

    With that said:

    Yes, you will get lower MPG and unless you tune it up for higher octane colder fuel, you can have less power at full throttle. Sometimes harder starting when cold. Usually a bit more spark advance fixes that (but then you risk ping if you go back to straight gasoline).

    FWIW, I ran loads of it in my 1979 Mercedes carburetor engine car for decades with no problems. Only in the last few years did it start being “picky” and occasionally act like the fuel was too cold. In retrospect, that was likely because the distributor bushing was wearing out and timing was becoming erratic as the point gap changed with temperature and RPM. (It eventually started doing the same thing on ethanol free gas…) At no time were there rubber, seals, or carburetor problems.

    So IMHO you have little to no added risk running it on E-10 for trips when it is all that is available (or even all the time). My spousal 1989 Mercedes wagon has been running on it for, well, pretty much forever. Most of the pumps in California are placarded that they may contain up to 10% ethanol and have been for decades. IIRC they drop to 5% or so in summer, but go high the rest of the year. It has almost 300,000 miles on it now.

    My point is just to say you can probably relax about it. Use the alcohol free for the better mileage or power if it is worth the cost to you; but if you put a tank or three of E-10 through it visiting an out of State friend, nothing bad ought to happen.

  9. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yes I was limiting my discussion to modern fuel laws which required ethanol (oxygenated fuels), post oil embargo days. At the time ethanol became popular to stretch the limited gasoline available and cut costs per gallon by a few pennies when folks were actively shopping station fuel prices. A station that sold gasoline for 2 cents a gallon less than his competitors would have a line around the block in minutes after changing the price signs.

    As you noted, in the beginning alcohol was about the only fuel suitable for internal combustion engines other than turpentine, At that time gasoline was a “waste product” of kerosene production and it could be sold as a motor fuel. Taxes and regulations eventually killed fuel ethanol production. Prohibition cut volume of production drastically so many distilleries went broke and were scrapped, meanwhile gasoline stations spread all over the country to provide a use for all the excess gasoline produced while refining the dangerous light ends out of lamp fuels that were causing house fires. This is why Rockefeller named his oil company “Standard oil” as it was feature of his brand that you could be certain is met “standards” for lamp fuel and would not produce a fire ball when you tried to light your lamp at night.

  10. Jon K says:

    EM – FWIW I’ve never seen an E-15 station in the Chicago area. They’re all E-10, at least at the stations I frequent.

  11. Larry Ledwick says:

    Tad W. Patzek, & David Pimentel are like the Al Gore and Michael Mann of fuel ethanol, Their studies have been torn apart by multiple sources, they do things like cite themselves as references, use the same sort of deceptive statistical and mathematical methods we see in the climate studies to misrepresent the energy cost of producing fuel ethanol. Their studies are always out in the weeds compared to other studies. They pull stunts like completely ignoring co-products produced while manufacturing fuel ethanol, such as Wet and Dry Distillers Grains.

    When you process grains to produce ethanol a co-product of the fuel ethanol is all the distillers grain left over after the fuel ethanol it pulled off. This grain actually has higher nutritional value that the original source grain due to the growth of the yeasts during fermentation, and is a high quality cattle feed amendment sold to near by live stock operations. If you completely ignore that product line, you strongly bias the numbers to look bad. It is like figuring out the efficiency of the lumber industry and ignoring all chip board and plywood production.

    Patzek, & Pimentel also use statistical numbers from obsolete production methods which are 20-30 years out of date in their estimates. Modern operations take great efforts to recycle energy and process water and are much more energy efficient than in the 1970’s when they first started producing large quantity production fuel ethanol after the gas crisis.

    They also completely ignore skimming operations like Coors has developed to recover ethanol from the discards of beverage alcohol production.

    Likewise they ignore the other secondary products like corn oil production that spins off of processing the grain for ethanol production.

    In fact one of the reasons I got interested in the shoddy climate studies and numbers was seeing the same sort of misapplication of analysis in the fuel ethanol industry.

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jon K:

    I get to Chicago via Iowa at present… plus I’m thinking the E-15 use is likely to spread now and include places like Indiana on my route from the South.


    Quite the video. I’ve downloaded the paper for study. Matches what I know of the population. What Trump did was motivate some of the “exhausted” in the middle to get up and vote. Before we had a choice of Progressives vs. RINO Republican Progressive Supplicants. Why bother?

    Now folks like Linsey Graham are starting to realized the power they have behind them when they have a bit of spine and give a rant to the Alt-Left… They just need to turn off the Yellow Stream Media and listen to the folks in the small farm towns in their districts… visit a truck stop… poll the folks coming out of the Walmart… go to a Southern Baptist pot-luck and listen… go to a drag race or a monster truck rally… go to a Black Church and ask what they care about; then shut up and listen. Stop promoting yourself and telling folks what you think; instead ask about their lives and desires. Then really listen.

    IMHO, Trump’s “edge” was that he did go to construction sites and did hang out with the crews. At WWF (now WWE) fights he’d listen to what folks really were saying and what they cared about. Basically, he didn’t mind hanging out with us Deplorables. Hillary deplores us…


    I’m reminded of the standard line about Economic Studies:

    “Given these conclusions, what assumptions can we draw?”

    The problem with all those “how much does it really cost?” fantasies is just that. They have a rubber ruler in their assumptions. When attributing a “cost” to making fuel, or a “embedded energy”, the ruler asks questions: so do you count the energy to truck it to the factory / refinery and back to the station? The metal making the facility? The metal in the trucks? The oil in the tires and asphalt of the road? The energy in the metal of the asphalt factory and tire factories? The machine tools that made the parts of those factories? The factory that made the machine tools? The gasoline, tires, cars, houses etc. etc. for all the engineers and workers who built all that stuff? The energy embedded in their educations? The energy cost to build the buildings where they went to school?

    Think I’m joking? A lot of the studies do just that kind of stuff.

    The beauty of a capitalist market is that ALL those energy consumption points contribute to the cost, and the cost must be less than the price for the product to survive. It is part of why I despise subsidy so much. Only with subsidy can you get “embedded energy cost” exceeding price.

    So with ethanol in particular, there’s a second problem. Say I ferment corn. Turning a lot of starch into alcohol. Right next to the distillery I’ve got a big herd of cattle. I could feed the corn directly to them. I could ferment it, then feed the result of the fermentation (“distillers grain”) to the cows. Which one is better? Varies with the price of both goods… BUT, the cows love distillers grain and it is much higher in protein and vitamins (that yeast…). More lean meat, less cow farts and fat.

    Folks FOR ethanol attribute lots of the energy consumed to feeding the cattle. Folks AGAINST ethanol attribute all energy costs to the ethanol production and treat the cattle feed as toxic waste with disposal costs. That’s the problem in an exemplar nutshell.

    Take away the mandates and the subsidies and we will know for sure.

    In the case of an attached feed lot, the energy economics and the profit are both very positive, BTW. The meat can even get a bit of a premium for the quality.

  13. Power Grab says:

    @ Larry Ledwick: Buick Century and Oklahoma.

    I’m pretty sure more than half the gas stations in my town have non-ethanol pumps. It’s not hard to find here. Most have both kinds of gas. On my trip to Georgia, I was surprised (and annoyed) at my inability to find non-ethanol gas outside my home state.

    I had heard that MPG suffered when using ethanol and doubted it, but I was sad to learn that it was true.

    I only fill up about once every 3-4 weeks, so paying more for non-ethanol gas is not burdensome.

    @ EM: I’m not familiar with that usage: “cold fuel”. What does that really mean?

  14. ossqss says:

    @EM and Larry, I understand your points, but also know statistics can be tortured by both sides of a discussion. I do agree, remove mandates and subsidies and lets see what happens. I did not look deeply to see if any of the analysis that was done included energy to make and apply fertilizer, watering, harvesting or non-piped transport costs.

    Regardless, this fuel has caused me much trouble over the years with virtually all my small gas powered equipment from fuel lines, carbs, through condesation issues. I don’t care for it no matter its composition or capabilities. That’s my story and I am sticking to it! ;-)

  15. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yes small engine manufactures are the most criminally neglegent of all when it comes to adapting to fuel ethanol added gasoline. Lots of destroyed equipment and it is totally the fault of engineering decisions made by those manufactures to cut cost.

    They knowingly used metals (magnesium, zinc) in engine and fuel components (hoses) and seals which did not tolerate alcohols. They avoided liability by telling you to run the engines dry every time you use them which no one who has a life will do, rather that properly engineer the engine so you could shut it off with 1/2 tank of fuel and store it for 6 months and have it start right up and run normally.

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    @Power Grab:

    Ethanol does not evaporate easily and when it does sucks up a lot of heat. So when you start your car in the morning, it acts like the world is about 20 degrees colder than it is. IF you need to pump the pedal to get it to start, or it sputters a bit on cold start, at 15 degrees, it will now tend to do that at about 35 degrees instead.

    For me, with a carburetted engine, this showed up as a larger tendency to carburetor icing (especially in humid Florida). I’m not sure my carb heater was still working… so at 30 F there is little water left in the air and ice tends not to form. At 80 F you can’t get 50 F of temperature drop from fuel evaporation so ice doesn’t form. But… at 50 F to 60 F you can get 20 F to 30 F of temperature drop and that water in the air deposits as ice in the carb until you sputter… while waiting for the engine to warm up enough to run well and melt the ice, that sometimes sends a load of slush into the air intake and your engines dies. In a car, you just restart, in an airplane this tends to happen about 100 feet in the air just off the end of the runway / takeoff and is Very Bad, so there are specific rules about making sure you are not making carb ice… (and a nice de-ice lever you MUST put in the hot position when carb ice is likely). Turns out “most likely” is that 50-60 F range. Now what happens if that moves to 40-80 F? Hmmm?

    So start-up stumble was one of the issues I had in the Banana Boat. This tends to be very much lessened as a problem in fuel injected cars.

    So that’s what I meant by “cold fuel”. Sort of a short hand for “what happens when the fuel and the car and the air are all cold in a damp dank morning and it sputters on starting and bucks at you.”

    I’ve had far less issues in all of my fuel injected cars and they seem to not notice if the fuel is E-10 or not and just run.

    Personally, I like the more “zip” of regular fuel (more BTU / lb ) and if it’s within about 75 ¢ / gallon of the E-10 I’ll buy it when I can. Near as I can tell, it is not available at all in California where the C.A.R.B. Nazis strictly control the fuel and make it as lousy as possible. In Florida it is about 75 ¢ to $1 more per gallon (Wawa stations – mid grade ethanol free, blue handle). I loved driving in Oklahoma where even the Walmarts had non-Ethanol Regular at the pump for just about the same price as Mid-Grade.


    In small engines they tend to use the cheapest materials possible, including non-ethanol rubbers. They are dramatically different beasts from car engines. An appliance selling for $50 can’t spend an extra $5 on the rubber goods or $5 more for corrosion resistant metals…

    That said, I just turned the fuel mix screw on my lawn mower and ran for years on methanol. It was a bit harder to start when cold, but we don’t do much cold lawn mowing in California ;-) I also had the advantage of low humidity so condensation wasn’t much of an issue either – no water in fuel problems.

  17. cdquarles says:

    Locally, and yes, I’m in the old South, I can buy 100% gas (about 50 cents more per gallon) or up to 10% ethanol. NB *up to*, so it varies.

  18. Ed Forbes says:

    I could not care less about what the “total cost” of the fuel is. My only consideration is what my “cost per mile driven” is.

    “Total cost” is so open to abuse that is not worth talking about and has no real world application to me other than the the amount of government subsidies involved, which do affect me at some level.

    My understanding is that adding 10% to the fuel mix drives down milage and increases costs. If this was not true, there would be no reason for for it to be legally mandated. The market would supply if it was in all ways cheeper.

  19. philjourdan says:

    Now folks like Linsey Graham are starting to realized the power they have behind them when they have a bit of spine and give a rant to the Alt-Left… They just need to turn off the Yellow Stream Media and listen to the folks in the small farm towns in their districts

    That is the best explanation I have seen about Graham’s turn of heart (the worst is that his soul mate – McCain – died). I hope it is true. Because it will show that there is now a reason to vote R, and more importantly, inside the beltway finally realizes what most of the country already knows. The Fake Media is dead.

    One bone of contention. I hate the term RINO. That implies that “Republican == Conservative”. While it is generally true, it is not a law. Nor is “Democrat == Liberal”. Although the latter is closer to a law. I do like CINO (Conservative in name only) which you can apply to the likes of Bredensen, Sinema, and most democrats running for election in a non moon-bat district.

  20. Larry Ledwick says:

    My understanding is that adding 10% to the fuel mix drives down milage and increases costs. If this was not true, there would be no reason for for it to be legally mandated. The market would supply if it was in all ways cheeper.

    Except current environment does exactly the opposite. For example when I was actively investigating fuel ethanol I made friends with a guy that ran a fuel ethanol plant in Minnisota (or Michigan) one or the other, because the way the current rules work the “blenders tax credit” does not go to the ethanol producer it goes to the entity that “blends” the fuel ethanol. So being a smart critter, he put in the equipment to purchase raw gasoline and blended at his plant, and sold locally.

    That state has a minimum price law and the gasoline refiners sued him for selling his fuel too cheap and put him out of business.

    There is a lot more going on in this process than the general public knows about the oil industry is protecting its turf and actively suppresses successful ethanol operations they don’t own.

  21. John F. Hultquist says:

    Only one of our vehicles is old. It is a saddle-bag tank Chevy PU, 1980. The litigation of years ago destroyed the resale value, so we keep it.
    Other stuff is new, and I buy gas at non-branded stations. It all seems to come from the same refinery — but I really don’t know.
    Local garden/farm store sells Stihl and Honda equipment — chainsaws, mowers, tillers, and so on.
    The manufactures and the service agents all recommend no-ethanol gasoline.

    Reading here, I am always amazed at what I don’t know.
    But I always consider it a good day when I learn something new.

  22. p.g.sharrow says:

    Use non-Ethanol fuel in Stihl and Honda engines. I can attest to that! or rebuild the fuel system every 2 years. the internal polymers degrade from California Gas….pg

  23. Power Grab says:

    @ EM: None of the fuel-injected vehicles I’ve owned ever had the difficulty cold-starting as the 1958(?) Oldsmobile.

    Dad and I were the only ones who could get it to start on a cold morning. I remember he kept a sandbag (roughly the size and shape of a loaf of bread) in the car to put pressure on the gas pedal after he got it started, so he could start the defroster and get back outside to scrape the windows. The car would die on those mornings if there wasn’t pressure on the gas pedal.

    It didn’t have power steering either! It was the car I drove most often after I got my license. I was the #4 driver in the family, so I usually only got to drive at night in the rain.

    My first car had a carburetor and I habitually pumped the gas before starting it on a cold morning, but that was more from habit.

    it’s always amazing to me that my fuel-injected vehicles start without having to be babied!

  24. Bruce Ryan says:

    Larry is there a chance your friendship with an ethanol manufacturer has colored your thoughts on ethanol?
    When I tuned a turbocharged motor there were individuals who would scream how wonderful ethanol was, I think some guys wanted to run 100% ethanol. Other guys wanted to inject it in the intake for cooling the charge. Water was my choice. But if you can keep the charge cool enough you don’t want a fuel that isn’t energy dense. There is just no way you can get high output with low energy fuel unless you are knock limited. To that point regular gas is higher energy than premium, it’s just difficult to not knock with regular. So it’s hard for me to justify cutting your gas with something that is less energy rich in the name of saving gas when in fact you end up using nearly the same amount of gasoline. So what is the net benefit? The farm belt. The votes. It isn’t fuel economy, the environment, or anything worthwhile, it’s just a vote getter. And of course, you make the cost of corn higher, another slap at the Hispanic worker who’s corn meal is now more expensive. Then I have to pay more to the refiner because they have to make different blends over the course of the year,

  25. jim2 says:

    Bruce R. You wouldn’t want to eat the field corn that goes into ethanol. It’s edible for animals, but not people. Farmers couldn’t subsist based on a food corn economy.

  26. Bruce Ryan says:

    sorry, I am wrong evidently, Larry I bow to your argument.

  27. jim2 says:

    The oil industry is also vehemently anti-coal. It’s a win-win for them. They can claim they are environmentally friendly by fighting “dirty” coal, and OTOH preserve markets for themselves.

  28. E.M.Smith says:

    There’s a simple proof that alcohol makes a great motor fuel. All the alcohol fuel dragsters and racers. Eventually the dragsters went to nitrated fuels to get more oxygen into the mix directly and get the fuel charge to nearly filling the cylinder, but that’s a long ways after just running alcohol.

    There’s a reason they don’t run gasoline. You can run much higher compression engines with alcohol and keep them from overheating better too.

    Now that said, just dumping more alcohol into the fuel for a car designed expecting straight gasoline is a dumb thing to do. Compression will be too low, the mix will be too lean, timing off a little. None of it enough to really screw things up (until about 15% ethanol) but worse than optimal.

    So in the end you get a more dilute fuel and burn more of it for the same distance while having it consume more resources and have a real non-subsidy cost that would be a little higher.

    Now all of that said:

    A whole lot of cars built since about the mid-80s are made with the expectation of ethanol laced fuel. Some of them are smart enough to increase the timing advance (knock detector) and use the better knock resistance of the ethanol / cooler fuel-air charge to some advantage. Then using an O2 sensor, increase the fuel mix for an ideal burn. Those cars can get about the same mileage (or sometimes a tiny bit better) on ethanol containing fuels.

    They would still benefit from being made with a higher compression ratio for using high ethanol blends (timing changes can only do so much…) but then would be more prone to ping on straight gasoline (so would run with very retarded timing and get worse mileage on gasoline). Since the EPA & Govt. demand certain mileage & emissions results cars are generally not designed to be best on E-15+ and worse on gasoline… Even “flex fuel” cars that run on E-85 are not designed to be best on E-85, but just OK on it.

    When we eventually get to direct injected gasoline into high compression engines with computerized control of the key parameters, variable on demand, then we get engines that can burn very different fuels equally efficiently. VW at one time was working on a design that could burn Diesel, Gasoline, and ethanol blends. I don’t know if it ever completed testing. Had spark plugs and compression ignition used at different times along with fancy injectors and injection controls. I’d love to have one, but suspect post smog violations issues anything VW & Diesel is likely on hold.

    Yeah, long winded way of saying “it depends”…

    Bottom line is that engine design and fuel choice work together. Just about any liquid organic (and a few inorganics) can be used as a motor fuel. Some better than others. Some with spark, others with compression ignition. From methane (natural gas) through the light alkanes and related (regular gas) and the aeromatics (like benzene, very high octane rating now mostly EPA banned) on up into light solvens (kerosene) and oils (Diesel) and even heavy oils (Bunker oil in marine Diesels), then various alcohols (methanol racers, ethanol, even butanol that can just be dumped into a regular car gas tank as it is a drop in replacement for gasoline – at the sweet spot. ) and even some ethers. and more. I’ve run my Diesel on propane valved in the air intake, on vegetable oils, and even on Crisco Shortening dissolved in kerosene. In W.W.I & II there were even kits to run your car on gas from wood or charcoal. “Gasogene” But it works best if engine and fuel are chosen together from the start of the design process.

    Yeah, I like exploring the edges of things like fuels and engines. So a little E-10 in my fuel doesn’t make me nervous at all. Even for the Banana Boat, I usually used an E-5 mix via blending 1/2 ethanol free mid-grade with 1/2 E-10 mid-grade for the best mix of cost and performance. It liked that mid-grade mix better than pure super and had no knock issues on it.

    I just wish the government was out of the fuel regulation business so some of the alternative fuels could be used by niche players and the best choices could win. Right now fuel choices are set by political considerations and that is never good.

  29. Larry Ledwick says:

    Bruce – your second comment is noted – No I made friends with him long after I had proven to myself that E85 was a far superior fuel than gasoline.

    To your technical points, almost all gasoline internal combustion engines are knock limited, the ones that are not accomplish that by using a less than ideal compression ratio to allow lower octane fuels to be burned. Thermal efficiency increases with the compression ratio (expansion ratio). By the very nature of otto cycle engines for best efficiency you want to run them at the highest compression ratio you can without melting the engine.

    There are some more subtle effects involved with alcohol fueled engines which mostly get ignored but they are one of the reasons they produce so much power.

    Alcohol added fuels have significantly greater evaporative cooling effect on the intake air charge, due to their higher latent heat of evaporation. This results in two significant effects. One they strongly cool hot spots like the valves during the intake fill cycle, and second they make the process of compression more efficient.

    The later effect is due to how internal combustion engines function. There is a small but still significant delay between when the exhaust valve closes and the intake charge finishes rushing into the cylinder due to its inertia (at high rpm, intake air flow reaches speeds of about .6 mach in the intake port and valve seat to valve opening at peak flow. So due to the timing of the intake exhaust valve opening period and its relationship to the piston motion, in the late part of the intake cycle, you have intake air still rushing into the cylinder even though the exhaust valve is closed (or almost closed) and the piston has already begun to come up the cylinder from its bottom dead center position. The strong cooling effect of the alcohol evaporation cools the intake charge and makes it more dense increasing the amount of fuel air mixture you can get into the cylinder during the time available. There is a slight counter effect due to the cooling as it lowers the velocity of sound in the intake charge so the intake flow chokes at a slightly lower flow rate (this is compensated by putting slightly larger valves and intake ports in alcohol optimized engines so they do not exceed 0.6 mach in the intake flow.)

    So at this point you have more fuel air in the cylinder than you could get with the same mechanical configuration on gasoline, but there is yet another advantage to alcohol added fuels again due to their higher heat of evaporation.

    By the time the intake valve closes the piston is just beginning to accelerate very rapidly due to the geometry of the crank shaft throw and rod relationship. 10 degrees of rotation near bottom dead center does not move the piston much but 10 degrees rotation of the crank when the crankshaft throw is at right angles to the connecting rod gives you almost 1:1 motion.

    At this point the piston is beginning to really compress the charge as it drives up the cylinder into a captive and ever decreasing volume, if the intake charge was dry (no fuel) the compression would be almost adiabatic, plus the heating from the hot piston top, cylinder walls and head & valves. But it is not dry there are lots of small droplets of fuel suspended in the intake charge and as compression occurs those droplets are flashed to vapor as the reach their boiling point. Pure ethanol boils at 173.1°F, where some components of gasoline due not boil until almost 400 deg F, the normal distillation range for gasoline is all fuel components between 100 deg F and 400 deg F. So the evaporation of the fuel ethanol attempts to hold the mixture temperature to 173.1 deg F until all the ethanol and light ends of the gasoline are evaporated. As a result the compression under more constant temperature conditions results and the engine using less energy to compress the intake charge (less negative work to compress the fuel air charge). In this case you are gaining usable energy but cutting down parasitic losses of the engine due to compression.

    Then we move on to the next themo-chemical advantage of ethanol added fuels. Max power rich mixtures of E85 burn significantly faster than max power mixtures of gasoline. Most gasoline engines need around 13 – 14 degrees of ignition advance to get peak pressure in the cylinder to happen at the best mechanical advantage of the piston and crank shaft during the power stroke. Most gasoline engines cannot achieve ideal ignition timing on gasoline without experiencing knock so they either move to higher octane fuels to delay the knock or detune the engine slightly with longer ignition advance to allow the proper burn time.

    Due to the faster burn time of ideal mixtures of alcohol added fuels they can run just a little less ignition advance (ie the engine wastes less power compressing a burning fuel charge just before top dead center, and they can operate closer to ideal ignition timing.) This is parasitic lost #2 that is reduced.

    Lastly for a given fuel air volume at max cylinder filling a fuel ethanol added fuel will produce more moles of exhaust gas than the same fuel air charge with an ideal mixture of gasoline. Result – cylinder pressure stays higher longer giving a more efficient transfer of energy to a rapidly retreating piston as it tries to out run the expansion of the burning fuel charge. By the time the piston is past about 14 -20 degrees past top dead center it is moving so fast that the cylinder volume is increasing faster than the almost complete burning fuel air charge can compensate and cylinder pressure rapidly falls. It is a simple pressure / time integral the alcohol fueled engine maintains higher cylinder pressures longer and more aligned with the ideal mechanical advantage of the crank angle and the connecting rod, even though peak cylinder pressures are slightly lower.

    The result of all these little effects is that an alcohol fueled engine accepts load more willingly and in many cases can maintain desired driving speed with less throttle than the same engine and drive train running gasoline only.

    One of the most common driveability comments you hear as folks experiment with E85 in performance cars is how smoothly they accelerate at part throttle which on gas would lug the engine down. The alcohol fueled engine just leans into the load and pulls up to peak torque no muss no fuss. The other comment we saw all the time on forums where people were making conversions to E85 is how smooth and quiet the engine idled, much less roughness at idle. We suspect this is due to ethanol’s wider flammability limits so there are fewer misfires or late ignition events compared to gasoline. Cylinder pressure traces show that even top performing gasoline engines totally misfire or ignite the cylinder later than intended a high percentage of the time, unknown to the driver but it causes a subtle roughness to the engine at low rpm.

    In the case of turbocharged engines you get an additional benefit from the higher exhaust gas volume – the turbo spools much quicker (so much so that you have to turn down you boost controller to keep from having boost spikes that were not a problem on gasoline). Likewise the cooling effect of the fuel on the intake charge helps under high boost to hold intake aircharge temps to manageable levels and the high temps of a turbo pressurized fuel air mixture gives very good evaporation of all the fuel droplets.

    In my personal experience there are only two negative issues with fuel ethanol (especially high percentages like E85) that is you have to visit the gas station a bit more often but it is a lot more fun driving after you fill up, and they are a bit harder to start in really cold weather like -15 deg F and colder.

  30. E.M.Smith says:

    From 2009, and I don’t see it in production so it likely got shelved, but Ford was making / testing a very interesting engine that used mostly gasoline with some added E85 injected at high loads to get benefits of cooler operation, better knock resistance, higher power, etc. etc.

    A radical twin-fuel engine from Ford, code-named “Bobcat,” that variably blends gasoline and ethanol on demand to realize diesel-like performance continues to make steady progress in its development, according to presentations made by the automaker to the Department of Energy and Society of Automotive Engineers in April. The presentations also provide a first look at the engine’s architecture and make some remarkable claims about “E85-optimized” engine efficiency versus size.

    The Bobcat engine starts with a small turbocharged engine with separate gasoline and ethanol (E85) fuel injectors for each cylinder. The gasoline system mixes fuel and air in the motor’s intake manifold using port injection. The second system uses direct injection to introduce small amounts of ethanol directly into the combustion chamber to control premature detonation, or knock, which results from the high temperature and pressure of a turbocharged engine. The ethanol prevents knock by cooling the air/fuel mixture until the engine is ready for combustion. With knock suppressed, the compression ratio can be increased.

    Ford’s engineering partner, Ethanol Boosting Systems, LLC of Cambridge, Mass., has trademarked the term “DI Octane Boost” to describe the process; the direct injection of ethanol effectively increases the octane of regular gasoline from 88-91 octane to more than 150 octane.

    The percentage mix of gasoline and ethanol varies according to load. In low- to medium-load conditions, only port-injected gasoline may be required. Direct-injected ethanol is added and increased as a function of load but only in the amount necessary to prevent knock. Using such technology, a 5.0-liter V-8 Bobcat engine could potentially produce 500 horsepower and 750 pounds-feet or more of torque.
    EBS claims that relative to today’s common port fuel injected gasoline engines in cars and light-duty trucks, direct-injection ethanol boosting would provide a fuel efficiency gain for typical combined city/highway driving of 25 to 30 percent, at an incremental cost of $1,100 to $1,500, depending on the size of the vehicle. The efficiency gain and torque are comparable to current turbodiesel engines, like Ford’s 350-hp/650 lbs.-ft. 6.4-liter Power Stroke, but at about a third of the cost and with the advantage of cleaner emissions without expensive exhaust aftertreatment hardware.

    Ethanol boosting also promises 5 to 10 percent greater fuel economy than Ford’s new line of gasoline-turbocharged direct-injection EcoBoost engines, which it’s based on.

    They are using those same cooling and octane boosting effects but via a very direct injection at just the best spot and timing.

  31. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yep many similar options (many of the same effects are possible with water or water/alcohol injection (ADI – Anti Detonation Injection)

    For a while I was using both, running a full E85 conversion in the wrx with water/methanol injection coming in at 10 psi, with direct injection of the ADI into the inlet of the Turbo. (yes it is hard on the turbo impeller if you don’t get it just right)

    Holy crap did that water injection change the behavior of the turbo (maybe that is why they used a very similar setup in WWII high performance aircraft.)

    With these sorts of simple modifications you can take an engine that puts out 800 hp on gasoline and push it up past 1100 hp on E85.

    In my case, with the 2002 WRX I went from the stock 227 hp (sea level) to 259 hp (5800 ft altitude) on the stock turbo (unmodified engine 1.14 increase in power) and with slightly larger 16G turbo 263 hp (5800 ft altitude) on the original unmodified engine (1.15 increase in power).

    The stock car was rated at 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, on straight E85 running 24 psi peak boost instead of the stock 14.2 psi I got 17-18 mpg city and 24 mpg on the highway, with a 0-60 time of about 3.8 seconds and a quarter mile time (at 5800 ft altitude of 13.151@103.19 ) vs the stock time of 14.7 seconds @ 92 mph at sea level, with a best 60 ft time of 1.793 seconds to go from a standing stop to 60′.

  32. E.M.Smith says:

    So you recreated Emergency War Power ;-)

    WEP in World War II aircraft

    Maximum normal power would be limited by a mechanical stop, for instance a wire across the throttle lever slot, but a more forceful push would break the wire, allowing extra power. In normal service, the P-51H Mustang was rated at 1,380 hp, but WEP would deliver up to 2,218 hp, an increase of 61%. In the P-51D Mustang, the model most produced and used during World War II, the WEP increased the HP from 1490 to 1720. The Vought F4U Corsair, not originally equipped for WEP, later boasted a power increase of up to 410 hp (17%) when WEP was engaged. Several methods were used to boost engine power by manufacturers, including water injection and methanol-water injection. Some earlier engines simply allowed the throttle to open wider than normal, allowing more air to flow through the intake. All WEP methods result in greater-than-usual stresses on the engine, and correspond to a reduced engine lifetime. For some airplanes, such as the P-51D, use of WEP required that the engine be inspected for damage before returning to the air. 5 hours use of WEP on the P-51D required a complete tear down inspection.

    British and Commonwealth aircraft could increase power by increasing the supercharger boost pressure.
    This modification was common by the summer of 1940, with the widespread availability of 100 octane fuel. Raising supercharger boost pressure from 6 lb to 12 lb increased the Merlin III engine rating to 1310 hp, an increase of over 250 hp. Pilots had to log the use of emergency boost and were advised not to use it for more than 5 minutes continuously.

    The German MW 50 methanol-water injection system required additional piping, as well as a storage tank, increasing the aircraft’s overall weight.
    Like other boost techniques, MW 50 was restricted by capacity and engine temperatures and could only be used for a limited time. The GM 1 nitrous oxide injection system, also used by the Luftwaffe, provided extreme power benefits of 25 to 30 percent at high altitude by adding oxidizer gases but required cooling on the ground and, like the MW 50 boost system, added significant weight. One of the few German aircraft that could be equipped with both Notleistung systems, the late war Focke-Wulf Ta 152H high-altitude fighter, could attain a velocity of some 756 km/h (470 mph) with both systems used together. Kurt Tank reportedly once did this, using both boost systems simultaneously when he was flying a Junkers Jumo 213E-powered Ta 152H prototype fitted with both MW 50 and GM-1, to escape a flight of P-51D Mustangs in April 1945.

  33. jim2 says:

    @Larry Ledwick says: 13 October 2018 at 7:07 pm

    Awesome explanation of piston engine details. Thanks.

  34. Bruce Ryan says:

    thanks, Larry and E.M. . You have opened my eyes to ethanol. I guess I bought into the ethanol scare stories. Larry, I ran an evo8 at pressures between 25 / 30lbs. Great fun. Spent all my time trying to balance water, timing, and fuel. As a sidelight, modern ecus are a wondrous thing, with inputs for a multitude of conditions and mixes of conditions. When I did get to the road course the gas tank didn’t last two sessions. That’s less than 40 minutes and something around 5 mpg. Maybe that had something to do with my anti-ethanol thinking.:-)
    There was talk for a while of burn monitoring spark plugs, that would talk to the ecu and direct spark management. As of ten years ago, it was still a very expensive proposition.
    btw I think its Volvo who is or was injecting water in some of their turbo cars.

    before I go, if you plant feed corn you can’t plant food corn. It is a zero-sum story, But now that my beliefs about ethanol have been bashed, maybe my belief in planting is wrong too. I suppose the tilt towards grass-fed beef over grain/corn fed beef has some impact too. Damn, looks like I know nothing again.

  35. E.M.Smith says:

    @Bruce Ryan:

    You are right about corn. The seeds manifest the characteristics of both parents.

    I know this from personal experience at about 9 years old. Dad planted sweet corn in the garden. I got the bright idea of “helping” and making some big ears of pretty corn so stuck Indian corn seeds in the same row between the other seeds.

    As that basically assures the best possible cross pollination, we had not-so-sweet corn. If picked very early in the milk stage you could still treat it like sweet corn, but it was even a bit tough and not that sweet then.

    In retrospect Dad was remarkably tolerant of my “experiment” and mostly just embarrassed me in front of other adult friends of his in the town by describing what I’d done (while I stood sheepishly at his side…).

    The good thing is that in the process I learned that corn genetic expression is different from many other species genetic expression. The seed proper grows from the genetics of the nucleus of the seed and manifests the particular genetics IN the seed (this is useful for corn breeding as you can just look at the corn seeds as they are forming and see which ones have the desired traits. Highly wrinkled is sweet, fully filled and smooth is field corn / not sweet… Color is what it will be when planted.)

    So, to get pure sweet corn, you must have NO field corn inside at least several hundred yards up wind and preferably a few miles… Similarly, to get the hard flint or flour corn seeds you can not have sweet corn up-wind (or you get soft wrinkled seeds…)

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