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Author Topic: Gore comes clean on ethanol
JWatts
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U.S. corn ethanol "was not a good policy"-Gore

quote:
Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore said support for corn-based ethanol in the United States was "not a good policy", weeks before tax credits are up for renewal.
...
Total U.S. ethanol subsidies reached $7.7 billion last year according to the International Energy Industry, which said biofuels worldwide received more subsidies than any other form of renewable energy.
...
"First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small.

"It's hard once such a programme is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going."

He explained his own support for the original programme on his presidential ambitions.

"One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president."

Link

quote:
Readers are reminded that Gore was the tie-breaking vote in the Senate mandating the use of ethanol in 1994.

Link

I don't really care that Gore admits he chose bad science in order to promote his run for President. But can we start flat-lining these subsidies and then work towards an eventual removal. Spending $7 billion per year on this boondoggle is outrageous.

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G2
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quote:
Gore supported so-called second generation technologies which do not compete with food, for example cellulosic technologies which use chemicals or enzymes to extract sugar from fibre for example in wood, waste or grass.

"I do think second and third generation that don't compete with food prices will play an increasing role, certainly with aviation fuels."

OK, follow the bouncing dollars kids:
quote:
Spanish renewable energy company Abengoa jumped as much as 7 percent Wednesday after an investment fund headed by former U.S. Vice President and Nobel Peace prize laureate Al Gore bought a stake in the firm.
Abengoa specializes in biofuels and has a substantial interest in aviation fuels.

The AGW long con continues.

[ November 22, 2010, 01:32 PM: Message edited by: G2 ]

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KidTokyo
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I always thought ethanol was a corporate scam.

But I don't feel the same way about cellulosic research. What's wrong with coming up with better sources of energy?

Your last sentence is the mother of all non sequiturs.

I have yet to encounter an AGW-critic who could demonstrate an understanding of the science behind what they criticize.

Apparently, all that is needed is to demonstrate that Al Gore is a self-interested stockholder. Ergo, global temperatures are not increasing.

[ November 22, 2010, 01:47 PM: Message edited by: KidTokyo ]

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Pete at Home
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G2, I've got the same counterargument to you as I have made to the lefties re Glen Beck's Gold frenzy.

Yes, it could be a con, but OTOH, the fact that he puts his money where his mouth is, does not in itself constitute evidence of a con.

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JWatts
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I don't think Al Gore thinks it's a con. I've never taken him for disingenuous, just a true believer. And he's a politician/showman.

His house boat at the Center Hill Marina runs off bio-diesel. Of course they have to truck in the bio-diesel especially for his boat. And the waste involved in bringing in a truck just for that purpose far exceeds any ecological benefit. But it's all about the PR benefit.

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Mariner
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In what way is ethanol a "boondoggle" or "corporate scam"? Most if not all of the arguments against it are overhyped and underresearched nonsense. In most areas of real importance, corn ethanol has been successful in achieving very real goals, including employment, improving the economy, petroleum reduction, improved trade balance, and yes, even GHG emissions if you care about that silliness, all without seriously impacting food prices or supply (no, really!). Ignore what you hear in the MSM; they tend not to know what they're talking about.

I mean, I'm all for eliminating the VEETC, or more likely phasing them out, but that's because I'm a fiscal conservative and they're mostly harmless anyway. It has nothing to do with any problems with corn ethanol. I just wonder what it is about corn ethanol that causes such hatred among people on both sides of the aisle.

[Edit: could be worse, JWatts. Paul McCartney famously had a hybrid car personally flown to his home. Very environmentally responsible, there. [Roll Eyes] It may not be a con, but it shows a serious lack of thought into the problem, and shows the major disconnect between how severe the environmentalists think the problem is and how serious they are about solving it.]

[ November 22, 2010, 04:51 PM: Message edited by: Mariner ]

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Pete at Home
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I don't actually understand why some conservatives seem so bitter about hybrid cars. I think they are wonderful and wish I could afford one.
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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
G2, I've got the same counterargument to you as I have made to the lefties re Glen Beck's Gold frenzy.

Yes, it could be a con, but OTOH, the fact that he puts his money where his mouth is, does not in itself constitute evidence of a con.

Al comes out a directly admits he was originally doing it to benefit his aspirations for the Whitehouse. Then we have draw a direct line from his latest epiphany to his bank account.

He's "putting his money where his mouth is" just like any con man in a pump and dump scheme.

quote:
Originally posted by KidTokyo:

Your last sentence is the mother of all non sequiturs.

That you think it's in any way about science is the true non sequiter. This is about what benefits Al, the "science" as you call it is totally irrelevant but the only way to defend Al is to deflect onto it so there you go.

That you don't see any connection between Al buying a large stake in a bio fuel company and a week later pushing that as the new way to go is willful blindness.

Look, Al lied about ethanol to benefit him and it's now been demonstrated that he id just as full of crap as all his critics said he was.

You can try to make out like this has something to do with science but the only thing involved here is what benefits Al.

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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
I don't actually understand why some conservatives seem so bitter about hybrid cars. I think they are wonderful and wish I could afford one.

I don't actually understand why you think conservatives are bitter about hybrid cars. I think they are wonderful and wish they were viable alternatives.
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cherrypoptart
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I'm actually surprised that he admitted what a big honking liar he is when he could have just said he was mistaken about the effectiveness of ethanol, especially in relation to its costs.

Is this like the cheating husband who admits to one affair in order to gain your trust? I'm not quite sure how that works...

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KidTokyo
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quote:
That you think it's in any way about science is the true non sequiter. This is about what benefits Al, the "science" as you call it is totally irrelevant but the only way to defend Al is to deflect onto it so there you go.

That you don't see any connection between Al buying a large stake in a bio fuel company and a week later pushing that as the new way to go is willful blindness.

I can't stand Al Gore. I can't recall that I've ever defended him in my life. I've certainly criticized him plenty of times. I have very little faith in him or his ability to understand important issues at all, or to be free of self-interest.

My point about AGW is that there is a whole world of science regarding the issue outside of Al Gore. It was there long before Al Gore ever crowed about it and continues regardless of what Al Gore does or says about it.

AGW and Al Gore are separate things. Disproving Al Gore's omniscience does not reveal AGW as a "con." That is my point.

[ November 22, 2010, 11:20 PM: Message edited by: KidTokyo ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by G2:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
I don't actually understand why some conservatives seem so bitter about hybrid cars. I think they are wonderful and wish I could afford one.

I don't actually understand why you think conservatives are bitter about hybrid cars.
Your last post is the first time I've ever seen a conservative so much as mention a hybrid car without saying something mocking or sarcastic.
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
I don't actually understand why some conservatives seem so bitter about hybrid cars. I think they are wonderful and wish I could afford one.

I don't know any conservatives who are 'bitter' about hybrid cars.

I know plenty who have done the math and realize that they were unlikely to ever save enough money on the gas to compensate for the higher costs of the vehicles. The numbers are improving, but buying a hybrid is still a luxury good not an economically good idea.

Personally, I'm a firm believer in technological progress and expect the 3rd and 4th generation hybrids (particularly the plug-in hybrids) to become much better products.


quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Your last post is the first time I've ever seen a conservative so much as mention a hybrid car without saying something mocking or sarcastic.

What? Haven't you even noticed all of the posts I've made on the upcoming plug-in hybrids and electric cars?

[ November 23, 2010, 11:20 AM: Message edited by: JWatts ]

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cb
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Why I avoid ethonol at all cost

We're about to be hit with another scam - E15

I was told by my Toyota mechanic to stay as far away from Ethanol as I can get as the excess moisture that results from burning Ethanol can destroy electronics and Prius' are all about electronics.

Why are we continuing to subsidize a less than effective bio-fuel when it can damage the very technology that allows a more efficient use of energy?

Pete, I've owned a Prius for 5 years and just traded it in for 2010 model and I LOVE it! I think the conservatives who make fun of hybrids do so more out of resentment for the idea that everyone should be forced to drive one...not that we have a problems with gas efficiency.

[ November 23, 2010, 12:01 PM: Message edited by: cb ]

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mdgann
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I'm impressed that you got 5 years out of your prius. Did you have any battery problems? Why are you trading after 5 good years?
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cb
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No Mdgann, I've only had one issue with my Prius and that had to do with the water pump. It's been the most maintenance free car I've ever owned. I will have a Prius for as long as they remain the great buy they are. I put 50 miles a day on my car as I am a service provider and spend most of my time in the field taking my clients to appointments and such.

I purchased my first Prius when gas was over $4.00 a gallon so that was my main impetus at that time, but the drivability of the thing is what caused me to buy a new one. I had intended on just driving my original Prius into ground just to see how long it lasted, but Toyota was offering 0% interest with a $4000 break in the price we paid 5 years ago...we couldn't pass it up.

Absolutely no battery problems. Why, have you heard there are problems?

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flydye
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Peter, one only needs to refer to South Park to understand Conservatives and hybrid cars. It isn't that they are a miserable idea, it is that they are a major source of Smug, which we cannot abide...
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Pete at Home
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That south park episode (IMO rivalling the Mr. Hanky and Scott Tennorman eps for sheer unfunniness) is a good example of bizarre conservative bitterness about hybrids that led to my question in the first place. After being run off the road by idiots with hummers, I cannot fathom why anyone would get so wound up about hybrid owners getting excited about getting 50 miles per gallon. Maybe if I lived in California I'd understand ... Prius owners I know haven't been self-righeous about it.

cb, wish I could do it, but with the falling housing market in Vegas, those things cost only a little less than the total value of my house.

[ November 24, 2010, 05:20 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
I know plenty who have done the math and realize that they were unlikely to ever save enough money on the gas to compensate for the higher costs of the vehicles. The numbers are improving, but buying a hybrid is still a luxury good not an economically good idea.

For most, sure. For someone in cb's position, or a cab, it's a great idea.
quote:


Personally, I'm a firm believer in technological progress and expect the 3rd and 4th generation hybrids (particularly the plug-in hybrids) to become much better products.

Well sure. But aren't the early adopters part of that process? Without the 1st and 2nd generation, there would be no 3rd and 4th generation. I don't get the mockery of the early adopters. (and no, haven't seen that from you specifically JWatts.)

quote:


quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Your last post is the first time I've ever seen a conservative so much as mention a hybrid car without saying something mocking or sarcastic.

What? Haven't you even noticed all of the posts I've made on the upcoming plug-in hybrids and electric cars?
On electrics. I remember you introduced me to the Chevy Volt. [Cool]
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edgmatt
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Conservatives make fun of the people who drive the hybrids because they act superior to all other drivers (didn't you see that South Park episode on "Smug"?) as if they are dong something special and good for the environment when, as JWatts pointed out, it's nearly a net neutrality both economically and environmentally.
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cb
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quote:
Originally posted by flydye:
Peter, one only needs to refer to South Park to understand Conservatives and hybrid cars. It isn't that they are a miserable idea, it is that they are a major source of Smug, which we cannot abide...

The problem with programs like South Park or any other Hollywood attempt at "entertainment" is they tend to capture only the extreme elements of any given faction. I have yet to run into a Conservative who has made fun of me and my Prius; and as I am ultra conservative, I imagine I run into more conservatives than any progressive/liberal does and definitely more than the writers of South Park.

Rush is the only conservative I've heard make disparaging comments about hybrids and that has more to do with the fact that they are dangerous tin cans when it comes to collisions (which is why I drive as cautiously as possible).

quote:
cb, wish I could do it, but with the falling housing market in Vegas, those things cost only a little less than the total value of my house.

For most, sure. For someone in cb's position, or a cab, it's a great idea.

Pete, I find that hard to believe. We got into our car for $19,000 (with trade in) at 0%. That gives us a payment of $367 a month. They had a used Prius for $13,000 but it had too many miles for someone like me who drives 30,000 miles a year. We are not well to do.

quote:
Conservatives make fun of the people who drive the hybrids because they act superior to all other drivers (didn't you see that South Park episode on "Smug"?) as if they are dong something special and good for the environment when, as JWatts pointed out, it's nearly a net neutrality both economically and environmentally.
Edgmatt, again , I don't turn to Hollywood to tell me how I should view any given sector or people. Since buying my Prius, I've had opportunity to talk to other Prius owners (especially in 2005 when we were few and far between) and I have yet to meet anyone who is smug and superior about it. Man, what kind of people do you all live around?

As far as being neutral both economically and environmentally; since I bought my car when gas was $4.00+ a gallon and had only one mechanical failure that was covered by an extended warranty over the 5 years we drove it; we replaced the tires and the windshield wipers and the filters over the 5 years we've had it and THAT IS IT! It has definitely been economically advantageous for us. Environmentally, since Prius have a great resale value, even with 130,000 miles on them, they don't end up in scrap heaps (which saves the environment), and they are the top rated hybrid as far as environmental impact is concerned. How you can call those factors nuetral is beyond me.

[ November 24, 2010, 09:18 AM: Message edited by: cb ]

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edgmatt
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Well I said "nearly" so there's that, but the cost vs. the money saved in gas is what I was referring to.

Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike hybrids, I think it's the way to go, and we will all most likely be driving them eventually. I was addressing the assertion that conservatives mock the car, when I believe that they are instead mocking the people who drive them because of the air of superiority they carry about them.

quote:
Edgmatt, again , I don't turn to Hollywood to tell me how I should view any given sector or people
South park was a reference so you know what I was talking about, not as a source of wisdom. Why the impatience with the italicized "again"? The first time you mentioned this was in the same post...
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edgmatt
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On a related note...

News Story

quote:
For the next 20 years, RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) is not likely to significiantly impact carbon dioxide emissions, according to projections by its own consultants and energy officials. A New Jersey Watchdog analysis of their data and estimates shows:

* Carbon emissions by electric power plants in the region totaled 123.7 million tons in 2009.
* The 188 million-ton cap set by RGGI is too high to have much effect.
* RGGI’s cap will probably remain irrelevant through 2030, even after its CO-2 ceiling is gradually reduced to 169 million tons in 2018.

quote:
While failing its primary mission, RGGI has succeeded in auctioning $729 million of CO-2 permits on behalf of the states. Under RGGI, utilities are required to obtain an allowance for each ton of CO-2 they emit. The costs of purchasing those permits are ultimately passed along to consumers through higher rates for electricity.
quote:
RGGI may represent the last gasp for CO-2 cap-and-trade in the United States. Federal legislation that stalled in a Congress controlled by Democrats has little hope of passage next term in a House won by Republicans in the November election. Even President Obama seems ready to jump ship.
So the standards are too high to make a difference, but the rates are going up, costing the taxpayer more money. So we are getting charged more money to make no difference. Seems like another money grab by the political elite.
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
On electrics. I remember you introduced me to the Chevy Volt. [Cool]

I consider a Chevy Volt a hybrid (it's not), because it can use gas as well as electricity.

The technical definition of hybrid refers to the drive train. A hybrid is a car where both electric motors and an Internal Combustion (IC) engine drive the drive train. The Chevy Volt is "supposed" to have an electric only drive train with an IC engine recharging the batteries as needed. So technically, it's not a hybrid, but for all practical usage it's close enough. I generally use the term plug-in hybrid.

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noel
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CB,

Japan ended government support for the heavily subsidized Prius last August.

The anticipated crash in sales has already taken place, and you are likely to become a member of the consequently small club if you follow through with another purchase, as real costs will now be passed through to consumers.

The identical problem follows the Volt development, and marketing plan. The shell game ends when stupid government policy makers are overtaken by economic realities.

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Pete at Home
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New techs tend to come down in price, Noel.
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noel
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Pete,

Yes, they do.

You can be certain that new technologies have come down in price to a point of economic viability when consumers, not government, says so.

As in the recent Prius example, an entire industry is at now at risk due to bureaucratic meddling in an area in which it has no expertise... unless you consider pandering to the UAW an act motivated by the best interests of the American economy.

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Pete at Home
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Motivation has nothing to do with what I'm talking about.

After several years of competitive manufacturing between different companies, the industry will hopefully be able to reduce price. Hopefully the government intervention will have primed the pump, so to speak. Time will tell which of us is right. I won't opine as to whether the meddling was justifiable, but I do think that you're mistaken as to the likely consequences.

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noel
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Pete,

Motive is extremely relevant where a specific outcome is desired. Misplaced motive causes one to ask the wrong questions.

The "hopefully" component of special interest dictated government policy becomes merely whimsical if the beneficiary, in this case the UAW, has no larger context within which to formulate its demands upon beholding politicians than the next labor contract.

If Japan's predicament has demonstrated anything, it is that this technology is not ready for prime time... and Toyota will be severely damaged in the bargain.

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JWatts
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Priming the technological pump is probably a useful use of Federal dollars. As long as it's restricted to priming the pump.

However, most Federal programs never go away. The current ethanol subsidy is a case in point. Ethanol is not economically competitive at current cost levels, but the Federal subsidy is continuing to grow. $7 billion per year is starting to exceed any reasonable definition of priming the pump.

It would be nice if every such program had a built in cap and time frame. So for example, the Feds stated upfront that the car subsidy would be limited to $1 billion per year and a max of 20 years. Instead, generally what occurs is a cap for the current year. Naturally the lobbyists continuously work to increase the cap every year.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by noel:
Pete,

Motive is extremely relevant where a specific outcome is desired.

Depends on who is doing the desiring. I doubt that many bills have been passed in history where all that voted for the bill had identical desires.

Congressional intent is not relevant to the issue of whether a specified outcome will be accomplished. There's no "congressional intent fairy" that causes a bill to work if Congress' intent was pure and virtuous.

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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by cb:
Why I avoid ethonol at all cost

We're about to be hit with another scam - E15

Smart cb, very smart ...
quote:
...additional E15 testing, completed this month, has identified an elevated incidence of fuel pump failures, fuel system component swelling, and impairment of fuel measurement systems in some of the vehicles tested. E15 could cause erratic and misleading fuel gauge readings or cause faulty check engine light illuminations. It also could cause critical components to break and stop fuel flow to the engine. Failure of these components could result in breakdowns that leave consumers stranded on busy roads and highways. Fuel system component problems did not develop in the CRC tests when either E10 or E0 was used. It is difficult to precisely calculate how many vehicles E15 could harm. That depends on how widely it is used and other factors. But, given the kinds of vehicles tested, it is safe to say that millions could be impacted.
E10 seems to be about the maximum safe limit out in the reals.
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Wayward Son
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Hey, G3, you forgot to mention the source of this study: the American Petroleum Institute.

quote:
Use of the ethanol gasoline blend E15 may endanger fuel systems in millions of 2001 and newer vehicles, API Group Director of Downstream and Industry Operations Bob Greco told reporters this morning, citing newly completed research by the Coordinating Research Council, an organization created and supported by the oil and auto industries.
Kinda a significant detail, dontcha think? [Wink]
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G3
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Is it? If you think they fabricated the study and faked the results, prove it. You should back up that insinuation with some facts rather than rely on a logical fallacy, dontcha think? [Wink]
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AI Wessex
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You do that all the time by insinuating that scientists who believe AGW is real are dupes or self-serving...fabricationators.
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Wayward Son
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quote:
Is it? If you think they fabricated the study and faked the results, prove it.
I believe it is common practice to consider the source when facts are asserted. I mean, do you take every study by the Sierra Club, Earth First! and the Democratic Party at face value? How about climate studies, as Al mentioned? Wouldn't you at least like to know when a study that shows that guns are damaging society comes from "People Against the Second Amendment?" [Smile] Do you automatically tout a study from NAMBLA showing that pedophilia is harmless to children until someone else disputes it?

API very well may be the best group to determine if and how Ethanol can damage current engines. But don't you think it is significant that the study comes from a petroleum advocacy group? Or is knowing the source of studies always a logical fallacy in your book? [Smile]

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rightleft22
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Many studies have been done concerning the reasons why someone might by a hybrid vehicle and being environmental friendly or saving money is not usually high on the list.

I was one of those that purchase the first and second generation hybrid vehicle. I liked the idea of driving a car that ran cleaner and used less gas but that wasn’t a deciding factor.
I was intrigued by the technology and it seems many of the initial buyers were geeks. (This was before Hollywood adoption of the Hybrid).

The vehicle was a compromise that didn’t threaten an oil based economy while encouraging development of new ways to do things. I felt it was a responsible choice, not for the environment impact, but a technological one.

By making my purchase I was well aware that I was voting yes with my dollars to encourage continue development - for which at the time I took a great deal of flack for, it was defiantly not a status thing.

I can’t say I understand the environment science and am actually quite puzzled research in efficiency and better ways to do things need to be justified in those terms.

The reality is our environment policies are based on economics and fear of losing what we know and have.

Personally I believe there can only be an economical advantage in being world leaders in alternative technology. But then based on the studies on people who buy hybrids, economic reasoning is not on the top of my list.

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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
Or is knowing the source of studies always a logical fallacy in your book? [Smile]

No, but pointing to the source and doing absolutely nothing else as a way to cast doubt on the study is a logical fallacy. [Wink]
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Wayward Son
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So you are saying that we should take any studies sponsored by NAMBLA, the Sierra Club, and the Democratic Party at their word, G3? That just wanting to know where the study comes from is a logical fallacy, something minor and unworthy of discussion? That you give all studies equal weight, regardless of who sponsored the study? That the work of Michael Mann is just as significant as any other work on AGW, and to say otherwise is a logical fallacy?

I'll have to keep that mind for our future conversations. [Smile]

And, BTW, I did not state that one should ignore the results of that study just because it came from a petroleum advocacy group. I even said it could be true. I simply said that it is important to know that it came from such a group, because studies from advocacy groups (like polls from political parties) somehow get skewed at times. It is one thing a person should consider when they hear about studies like these. It does not disprove the study, but it does bear weight on it.

It's a principle used in court testimonies. I would think it also would apply to informal conversations like this. [Smile]

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TomDavidson
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I think there's plenty of reasons for people with older cars -- and anyone looking to fill up a small engine, like a snowblower or lawnmower -- to avoid E15. If you've got a newer car, it shouldn't cause any problems -- but if you do, I would buy gas elsewhere.
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