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Ethanol Fuels

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I found it very interesting to read these posts on ethanol fuels and couldn't resist joining the discussion. As most of you know, I am a retired chemist and have been researching ethanol fuels for several years. I'm the person who keeps up the ethanol free list on Louisiana Sportsman.

Many do NOT realize that the EPA DOES NOT require refineries to sell all their gas as ethanol fuel. Each year, they issue their requirements to refineries for the sale of ethanol fuels. In 2010, they only require refineries to sell 8.25% of their total gasoline sales as ethanol gas. If anyone doubts this, here is the EPA link to the 2010 'Renewal Fuel Standard' - http://www.epa.gov/otaq/renewablefuels/420f10007.htm#2.

Here is what the standard says:

For 2010, EISA set a total renewable fuel standard of 12.95 billion gallons. This total volume, presented as a fraction of a refiner's or importer's gasoline and diesel volume, must be renewable fuel. The final 2010 standards are shown in the table below.

Standards for 2010
Fuel Category % of Fuel Required to be Renewable

Cellulosic biofuel........0.004%
Biomass-based diesel......1.10%
Total Advanced biofuel....0.61%
Renewable fuel............8.25%

Exxon and Shell are two majors who have elected to sell essentially all of their gas as ethanol gas (there may be others). It's all about $$$ guys! They get a large tax credit for selling this crap, otherwise they would not do it. It costs the ethanol plants $6/gallon to make ethanol. You and I, the taxpayers provide a $15 billion subsidy to the ethanol plants yearly! The station one poster referred to in LaPlace is a good friend of mine and lives in my neighborhood. His station is a Conoco station. He told me that he converted one island of two pumps to ethanol regular to better compete with those stations selling ethanol gas. He tells me he gets 4.5 cents/gallon federal tax credit on the ethanol gas, and sometimes get it for 10 cents/gallon credit.

The reason you see most independents still with ethanol free gas is due to the cost of having to switch to ethanol gas. A distributor friend of mine told me it costs between $1,000 - $1,500 per tank to empty a tank, have it cleaned, dispose of the hazardous waste trash cleaned out and install new water sensing electronics in the tank. Most Conoco stations are ethanol free I've learned. Waguespack Oil out of Thibodaux and LaPlace is a local Conoco distributor. They gave me 18 new stations they supply with ethanol free gas.

Don't believe all 'Marshmaniac' tells you......he has a vested interest in this ethanol issue. Yes, there may be a few stations on my list that were once ethanol free and have converted to ethanol gas now. I depend on you to let me know that when you spot one that has converted to ethanol and I remove it from the list. If Marshmaniac has a better solution to this problem, I'd like to hear it! He critizes but seldom offers solutions.

I wrote a letter to the CEO's of Exxon and Shell recently (will post on my Blogs later) asking they if they were prepared for the 'public relations nightmare' they will experience for their decision to sell all their gas as ethanol gas when EPA approves 15% ethanol gas in August and many, many boaters will not be able to use their boats if they can't find ethanol free gas. NO, I repeat, NO outboard marine engine sold in the US can operate on 15% ethanol gas. Every manufacturer warns users 'use of gasoline with greater than 10% ethanol will result in severe engine damage and void the warranty'. If you don't believe this, call your engine manufacturer or dealer.

I added a new paragraph to my 'home page', asking that when you spot a new ethanol free station (or an existing station for that matter), to ask the station manager if they will tell you the name and phone number of their gas distributor. E-mail that info to me and I will contact the distributor and ask that they send me a list of all the stations they supply with ethanol free gas. I've already picked up another 20+ stations for the list that way.

And, in closing, if you don't believe ethanol gas is bad for your outboard and gas powered garden tools, I contend you are extremely lucky if you haven't seen problems yet. It WILL give you problems sooner or later. If you don't believe this, just call the Boat Doctor and ask him.

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I've been seeing problems in My small engines for a while. My gas trimmer most recently started with problems . cleaned it out , put some good ole gas and good to go .
Istarted using marine sta-bil hope that will help!
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I will make it a point to support non ethanol stations .
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   PaleRider
You're going to buy ethanol gas and like it! Don't you know you're Daddy the Gov't knows what's best for you! Boating?! Why you won't need one of those gas guzzling boats before too long, you won't be able to afford it or the gas pretty soon. The whole deal with ethanol gas gets me so aggrivated every time I think about it. It's waay more important for the country to pretend it knows how to go 'green' than to have any common sense. Every legitimate study done proves it's not cost effective but it gets pushed down our throats anyway. Call Wildlife and Fisheries or the St.Tammany Parish's office and ask them how much money got spent on outboard motor repairs due to ethanol gas. Taxpayers having to fix it for them at that. Sorry, had to vent a little.
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   JIMMY W
Your list of stations are wrong!Chevron at Brownswitch and Hwy 11 has Ethanol in their fuel!That was just one that I checked!
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Jimmy, our list is only as good as you users make it. The database is built through user reports, and there certainly could be stations that used to sell 100 percent gasoline but switch over to ethanol.

So I encourage you to go to our ethanol section and report what you discovered. Pete Landry will make they change in the next update.
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   daberry
Pete, thanks for keeping this going. I stay away from ethanol for lawn equipment, generator, outboard motors, etc. I found a could of spots on the Northshore where I get my fuel. There is a station just East of B. Lacombe on 190 which I use most of the time. ALso, on Old Spanish Trail just as you exit off of 10 heading west there is a Valero which is advertising NO ETHANOL.

My biggest issue with Ethanol is the fact we have these huge dead zones in the gulf every year caused by runoff of fertilizer. Also the fact we are using up farm land which used to feed the world, now we are using it to run our cars. Also, topsoil is a limited resource and it is draining off the continent to provide fuel for our cars. Another problem is it takes fuel to run the tractors, equipment, distillery, etc. involved in the production of ethanol which gives it almost a 1:1 of energy/fuel used vs. enery made. So basically we are using a gallon of diesel to make a gallon of ethanol.
But the worst is ethanol is touted as GREEN. The only thing green is the big algae blooms it makes in the gulf.
Why are the tree huggers so simple minded?

Hopefully a tree hugger out there has a response.
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Guys, Isee it like this;
we pay for it at the pump, we pay for it at tax time, we pay for it the grocery store, we pay for at the mechanic !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
we are getting the shaft !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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   dave5lsu
Thanks for the info! I didn't realize until recently how bad the stuff really is....I will never put in my Merc outboard again!!! The realization came a couple weeks ago when I saw what it did to my dad's push lawn mower! The primer bulb just melted off! I asked my pops, who works on our lawn equipment all the time, if he ever saw that happen and he said he couldn't believe it! I just thought the mower was running hot but he said no....Thanks for the updates on the list of stations! I will go out of my way if I have too!
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Jimmy, I've never said the ethanol free gas station list is perfect. Fishermen/boaters send me the station info if it DOES NOT have the state required 'Contains 10% Ethanol' sticker. I cannot ride through the entire State and inspect each station on the list to assure it has has not switched to ethanol. I'm doing this for free as a volunteer. I DO NOT get paid for this. Just trying to help fishermen and boaters. I depend on users to let me know when they find an ethanol free station or when they see one on the list that has switched to ethanol. Since I've started this list nearly 2 years ago, I've had to take 59 stations off the list because they started as ethanol free but later switched to ethanol gas. I've taken the station you mentioned off the list. It will not be on the next update. Please let me know if you see any others on the list that have switched to ethanol and I'll take it off.

If anyone can think of a better way of informing fishermen and boaters of where ethanol free gas stations are, please let me know.....unless we can find a better way, I'll continue to update this list. I need everyone help with this endeavor, especially after EPA approves 15% ethanol in a few months........it will become much more critical that we find ethanol free stations then as NO MARINE OUTBOARD will operate on 15% ethanol fuel.
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Please go to the ethanol home page and send me the info I need on the two stations you mentioned on the north shore so I can add them to the list. I need State, Parish, City, name of station and address or location as best you can describe. If you could, also ask the station manager or owner if he will tell you who his distributor is and his phone number. I can contact the distributor and ask him to send me a list of all the ethanol free stations he supplies in his area. Thanks!
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   daberry
I did a google search and it looks like there is a site for ethanol free stations across the country. Here is a link to the Louisana stations they have listedhttp://pure-gas.org/printable.jsp?nocopy=true&stateprov=LA
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now why did you make this personal?

If you'd like to get personal, I can go there too...

I have no personal interest in this except I can tell you how the real world works.

Funny how you use some info I have given you and then kick me in the next paragraph.
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What solution can I offer? It is a reality that E10 is here to stay and will only get bigger....you tout your blog list but make no effort to check on it, you can't drive around the state but you certainly could call a few and make spot-checks.

If you want to own the list and bask in your glory, take ownership of the product, don't blame it on the users.

All I said was most refineries in the state are now selling ONLY ethanol blends and a few more will sell ONLY ethanol blends in the near future.

I had one of my stations on the list and because the refinery I buy from (by contract) switched to selling only E10, I HAD to go E10. For me to import conventional gas it would have driven the price up 6-7 cents a gallon and boaters cannot buy all that I'd stock.

Just because you can't google it up and act like an expert doesn't mean it is wrong.

What vested interest do I have in seeing E10 being used?

I sell the stuff and had to spend all the money to convert over all the stores and trucks to haul that crap.

Your 'friend' with the Conoco station obviously has an older station with an extra tank and that is good; he is already set up to sell both.

But the vast majority of fuel stations are not set up like that. Most have 2 tanks and blenders for mid grade.

Blended fuels are here to stay, unfortunately. Instead of petitioning the outboard folks to use upgraded materials, you choose to claim that the people selling fuel are to blame. We are just making lemonade out of the lemons we are given. You have no clue what it is like running a business selling fuel.

Everyone knows the stuff is bad, dude, your list is great but it is out of date and changed probably monthly.

E10 is junk, I agree, but I guarantee the vast majority of the engines that go bust are the victim of not normal E10 but a phased-out tank of E10.

If E10 is as bad to outboards as everyone says (and I'm not defending the stuff) wouldn't there be a whole lot more engines going down?

Since most peoples use blended gas in their outboards, shouldn't all engines go down eventually?

Instead of railing against something you cannot fix, try finding a way that folks can use E10 with confidence.

I drive a 1996 Merc and burn E10 in it...I have access to conventional fuel but the E10 is on the way to the landing....and I haven't had problem one. But the fuel rules have changed.
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pete, i think you are doing a great job!!!!!!!!! remember, you can't satisfy all of the people all of the time and some of the people none of the time!!!!!
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   vbay2nite
Thanks for the list of stations Cajun Pete. Your efforts are appreciated.
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'Instead of railing against something you cannot fix, try finding a way that folks can use E10 with confidence'........I'm not a marine engine engineer Marshmaniac, no more than you are. I'm just trying to help fishermen and boaters. I have no control of stations switching to ethanol gas. If users see the switch and let me know, I'll take the station off the list. Due to these continuing changes, the list will NEVER be perfect at any point in time. You still haven't suggested a better way of dealing with the problem, but rather continue to spout out negative replies.

Your post doesn't deserve a reply, so that's all I will say.
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Daberry, this web site you site (puregas) appears to have copied my list without my permission. I've sent him a warning e-mail to remove it.
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what type of solution would you like me to figure out?

everyone clean out their entire fuel system and drain it after each use?

everybody change out their fuel hose and all rubber parts to compatible materials?

check your tank with Sargel before you crank it up?

that has about as much appeal as the nutty idea of trying to make businesses switch over a fuel tank...your only idea so far. Well, that and

I've advised NOT filling your tank until you are going to use it to ensure you have fresh fuel and keeping your fuel filters changed regularly. That, perhaps, is why I haven't had any E10 fuel issues with my 14 year old merc.

The rules have changed. We all have to change.

Your list is good as long as it is current. But it is your list and it is your responsibility to police it.

People with a lot more knowledge and power than you have given us this 'gift' of biofuel and all the 'internet research' you do won't stop E-10, E-15 or as many E's as they want to give us.

All we can do is change with the times and make do.
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   terryf
Thanks Pete. I see at least 2 commenters are willing to roll over and allow the gov to implement useless costly rules to consumers and force something that is pointless. Remember all of this is based on the belief that carbon destroys the enviornmentr and the jury is still way out on that science.
So what can be done about it is a change in administration and the EPA are appointed not voted in. They need to be reappointed. Push back guys dont just roll over and say there is nothing we can do. We can make sure enviornmental wacks dont get appointed to the EPA by voting in level headed representatives of the people. Not career politicians. I will fight this ethanol junk however I can because at the very least it costs us all more money because yethanol is less fuel efficient and you get less mileage using it. That costs us all in our vehicles on the highway right now. Why because they bought into the enviornmental d-dayers who claim that we are destoying the planet. Thats what it boils down to they have bought it now Al Gore is worth 100 million more than when he started this campaign for global alarmism. Its all false bad science and we are paying for it already.
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Terryf, you're 100% correct. This ethanol gas stuff is entirely political. The so called benefits touted by the 'tree huggers' was that it results in cleaner burning and lower emissions, which was proved false by independent testing back in the 1990's. Then it was supposed to reduce our dependence of foreign oil, but since ethanol has a 30% lower BTU heat value than gasoline, it results in 6-8% lower fuel economy on vehicles, thus requiring MORE gas to be used, thus negating any reductions in imported crude oil. It's all political and about $$$$$.........nothing else. Besides the problems it causes marine engines and gas powered garden tools, the hundreds of thousand acres of additional corn that is planted in the midwest, and the additional fertilizers being used is what LSU Environmental Science group says is causing the huge increase in the Gulf 'red algae' or hypoxia layer, which threatens marine fisheries in the entire gulf coast region. Then, there is the fact that it has caused all food products made from corn to skyrocket in price.

Watch the 'sxxt hit the fan' later this year when EPA appoves 15% ethanol and when boat owners learn they can't burn E-15 in their engines! And, when homeowners learn they can't burn E-15 in lawnmowers, weedeaters, blowers, edgers, chain saws, etc.........that's when the public will become aware that while EPA only requires refiners to sell 8.25% of their total gasoline sales as ethanol gas in 2010, several majors, like Exxon and Shell have elected to sell 100% of their gasoline as ethanol gas. It will be a public relations nightmare for them. We wouldn't be having problems finding ethanol free gasoline if they followed current EPA requirements.

Hopefully, conservatives will take back the U.S. Congress and Senate on November 8th, and we can get them to rescind this program, or at least eliminate the tax credits they are being given to sell this trash.

Terry, by the way, I see from your profile that you live in North Louisiana. Do you guys see any ethanol free gas stations in your area? I don't have any on the list from north Louisiana.
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   daberry
Pete, I read the EPA report you posted, and I get a different take on the 8% renewable. If I understand what you are saying correctly you are saying only 8% of gasoline sold needs to contain ethanol. The way I read it is 8% of the total liquid fuel they sell (gasoline and diesel) has to be renewable fuel for 2010. It goes up every year, that is why the next step is E15 so stations can comply with the increasing mandate.

Also, on another note, the more I read about the current corn based ethanol the more I see it is a total sham. The EPA requires any renewable fuel to have as a minimum a 20% reduction in greenhouse gases. Most of the current corn ethanol production facilities could not meet this, so the EPA grandfathered in all the ones who did not meet that, then stated that with improving technologies they felt it was possible for the 20% reduction in some of the newer state of the art facilities. Have you ever heard of a Federal Agency approve of something based on what they THINK might probably be possible, rather than what currently exists? So probably most of the facilities have no reduction in greenhouse gases (GHG).

There has also been great debate as to how much fossil fuel it takes to make 1 gallon of ethanol. The range is you get between 0.8 and 1.6 gallons of ethanol for each gallon of fossil fuel burned.

So:
1)by EPA standards (which are politically influenced) corn ethanol has probably minimal to any benefit on GHG reductions. Most of the more recent studies by independent scientists show increased GHG production from corn ethanol as compared to gasoline.

2) it takes pretty much 1 gallon of fossil fuel to make 1 gallon of ethanol. Maybe a little better, maybe a little worse.

3)Nitrogen fertilizer creates hugh deadzones though out the northern gulf. Also compounds released from Nitrogen fertilizers are more harmful to the ozone than CO2. I highly recommend that everyone read this article, it will only take a couple of minutes and is full of more information than the last 50 I have read.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=nitrogen-fertilizer-anniversary

These are just 3 reasons why corn ethanol is worthless, I have found many more, so Marshmaniac how is this a gift to us?

Hopefully all the scientists who are opposed to this junk can muster a voice against the strengthening corn ethanol lobby.
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   Teddy J
It is a shame that most 'action' regarding this Ethanol discussion happens because of individual and personal 'agenda', instead of 'We The People'.....sad stuff.
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   Goo_Tee
A salesman convinced me last year that the XP3 was the best on the market. I purchased three boxes for my Rem 700 30-06 and this is where my trouble began. I set the vise up at the range and right away I was disappointed with the pattern the XP3. I started doubting vise, gun, and myself for a while. For this price of those XP3 they have to be right and that’s what I lead myself to believe. Well and behold I was back at the range again the following weekend doubting everything but the XP3’s. Five trips total to the range I still had doubted the XP3’s but it was time to hunt. My eight-year-old son and I were two weekends into rifle season when really great buck came out 100 yards broad side. I had no doubt he was a shooter ”8pt or better rule” so my son couldn’t find this monster in a 10x50 Nikon monarch, that’s when dad “his Hero” picked up to shoot. The XP3 dropped this bad boy in tracks for about a long second and then off to the races. I found a small trace of blood and hair and that is it. Now because of those over-rated, over priced, super fast XP3’s every one I know can tell you how dad missed a great buck at 100 yards and my son killed a doe at 150 without using the “RED TIPPED BULLET”. I promise the next one I miss will not be with a XP3.
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'These are just 3 reasons why corn ethanol is worthless, I have found many more, so Marshmaniac how is this a gift to us?'

DaB..it is a gag gift

I think some of you folks are reading my posts incorrectly. I am not for blended fuels, I am for the reality of us having to use blended fuels.

Many believe that since Pete and I joust we are on different sides of the issue - we aren't. We just choose to deal with it differently.

I choose to work within the system.

I am no expert on the stuff. All I can tell you is what I've seen working with the stuff and the best ways we handle it.

Pete is no expert on the stuff. He copies and pastes data and writes letters to politicians that don't do any good. His list is great but unpoliced and the 'blogs' I've read are mostly accurate.

I deal with it for a living and can tell you how the real world is...this isn't a fantasy or a movie from the 1950's - Jimmy Stewart is not in this one.

You can fight this until your butt is blue and you'll look back and see what a waste of time it is - that isn't negative, that is a fact.

Instead of cussing those who force us to use blends, try lobbying the makers of the machines to be able to handle E10, E15, E85...that is the only thing that will result in a positive outcome.

You won't leave Placid, Motiva, Marathon, Exxon et al with the billions they've spent refitting their refineries to pump out the stuff. No one will make my employer and his competition waste the millions they've spent getting set up for E10.

Unfortunately, when the conservatives win congress, they won't get rid of the EPA mandates..they want the votes from the corn belt too. Farmers up there have sunk billions into ethanol plants.

Tooooooo much money in the pipe.

Buy and use conventional gas as long as you can but enjoy it while it lasts, it won't be long.
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   daberry
You know I agree it is an uphill fight against the Ethanol lobby, but the only error I see in that argument is nothing is wrong with ethanol. The problem is corn ethanol and first generation ethanol plants. As long as ethanol is produced which is GHG positive, does not require almost an equivalent amount of fossil fuel to produce it, does not require tons of Nitrogen fertilizer screwing up the environment, changing land use from duck breeding grounds and forest, etc, etc, etc. I am all for clean energy. But corn ethanol is not clean, give me gasoline before corn ethanol any day.

The major oil companies will not lobby for corn ethanol as long as there is still ethanol coming in. Sugarcane ethanol is a decent choice for now, then maybe cellulose ethanol and other technologies.

But they all have to see ethanol is a very small part of the answer. It does not matter how much we produce it is only a very small drop in the bucket. This is a quote from an article I referenced. 'The U.S., for example, put 24 percent of its 2007 corn harvest into ethanol, yet that generous contribution amounted to only 1.3 percent of the nation's use of liquid fuels. Based on this and other early findings, the SCOPE report projects that substituting 10 percent of the liquid fossil fuels used for transportation with biofuels could require a third of the world's arable land, causing trouble not only with nitrogen pollution but also food security'

So in 2007 we used 1/4th of the national corn harvest for ethanol production acheiving 1.3% of liquid fuel. Tell me how are we going to meet the mandates set which have us at 32% of liquid fuel from renewable sources. Do the math, it's not possible.

I disagree with Marshmaniac about our ability to have a voice in this country. Have you ever heard of the Tea Party movement?
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The only reason ethanol is in gasoline today is because of governmental mandate and subsidies. Take away the mandate and subsidies and ethanol is history in gasoline. How did an 'intelligent' government take such action? It is because they are intelligent in their own eyes, drunk with power, and busy feeding their massive egos. Our government has done such things and more because men(us)stood by and allowed them to do it.
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We do a have a voice when it comes to electing our officials...we vote.

But man, as much as I'd like to see that stuff go away I just can't see it...too much money invested throughout the economy.

it has intertwined itself into every facet of the economy and won't be stopped until a viable alternate energy source is promoted to take the place of gasoline.

Lord knows what they will come up with next...

I'm thinking of a liquid methane product that currently coats the deep ocean floor and is more abundant than our crude reserves :D just give it 20 years
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   gauger
Wanna get the ethanol out of your gas? Have the gubmint stop subsidising farmers and having the farmers give the politishuns a little kickback off those subsidies.
Check out who are the biggest lobbying groups and campaign contributors. Agriculture and insurance.
We're gettin' it in both ends.
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Emmett, you said it plane and simple. We need to bring our troop's back to protect us from our Government. Across this whole wide world, we the people can get along, it's our Government's that cause all the trouble that we have right now, if we could get rid of the 'LEECHES' we would be a lot better off.

Robert Sharon
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