Automotive Future – What You Might Not Know About Ethanol

With the introduction of ethanol as an alternative fuel source for vehicles, there have bee rising hopes that the vehicle industry will see an end in the gas price hikes and the increasing concern for environmental damage car emissions bring. However, it is unfortunately untrue and most of us do not even realize it. For one, ethanol production will not lower gas prices; it is just one way of decreasing the dependence we have on the valuable oil OPEC controls.

If you think that ethanol has never touched your engine yet, you might be in for a surprise. There are already many regions that have started selling ethanol blended fuel to reduce pollutants from emissions escaping into our atmospheres. With most vehicles, it is safe to use mixtures up to 10% ethanol. E85 vehicles have also come into the market from various automobile manufacturers such as Ford, GM, and DaimlerChrysler. E85 is an alternative fuel and can only be used with vehicles that have engines suitable for it.

E85 is a mixture of pure ethanol and a little gasoline for safety measure because of ethanol’s clear flame. There have been about thirty car models that were released capable of running on E85, unleaded gasoline, or the combination of both in one tank.

While ethanol is a fuel that can be agriculturally beneficial, clean-burning, gives off quality performance and is renewable, it still would not be able to solve global warming. The emissions from cars would be safer, but the production of ethanol still presents a hazard to the environment. Modern farming practices do depend on machineries that are diesel-powered and the distillation process to produce ethanol is dependent on electricity derived from coal. Coal and diesel both emit greenhouse gases that can damage the environment. Luckily, researches are looking into the possibilities of reducing or totally eliminating the greenhouse gases emitted in ethanol production via technological advancements or producing ethanol from other materials or crops.

If you think that you are saving up on gas consumption expenses by using ethanol products, you might be in for a surprise. Ethanol may actually cost you more money since it does not produce the same level of energy your vehicle can get from gasoline. You are likely to get approximately 20% reduction in fuel efficiency from your vehicle when using ethanol mixtures as fuel.

Aside from the lower energy production from ethanol blends, fuel flexible vehicles are mostly in the big cars category, meaning more tank space and fuel guzzling. Ethanol compatible vehicles need a larger tank because the energy you get from your fuel is around 80% less than gasoline and to make you go the distance, you would need more fuel in your tank.

With all the myths debunked, it may sound as if ethanol is not the miracle we need for a cleaner earth and an independent fuel resource. Nevertheless, it would not be correct to assume that this is entirely true. The ethanol production industry is still new and many changes can be made toward its improvement.

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