Ethanol Blended (E-10) Gasoline that is coming to the US [Archive] - Forum


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Mike Jung
04-08-2006, 05:08 PM
So with the US this summer changing their gasoline formulation to ethanol blends.
To stop using MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether).

...The ethanol in E-10 Unleaded adds two to three points of octane to gasoline...

After having a read of this thread: About 87 vs. 89 Octane Gasoline ? (

Will you still use 87-octane gasoline (after they blend it with 85-octane gasoline & ethanol to make it 87-octane) ?

When I fill my Mom's Sunfire GT with Sunono ethanol (up to 10%) blended gasoline; I always reach for the 89-octane (which is 87-octane gasoline blended with ethanol to make 89).

Mike Jung
04-08-2006, 05:57 PM
from: ( cle&c=MGArticle&cid=1137835226894&path=!business&s=1045855934855)
Fuel switch hitting you at the pump
Gas prices again on rise
Saturday, April 8, 2006

The switch to ethanol in gasoline could wind up somewhere between a "minor annoyance and a major train wreck," one industry participant says.

Another sees pump prices rising to $3 a gallon in some areas.

Higher prices are possible because of expected shortages in some regions as fuel suppliers prepare for and get used to handling ethanol-blended gasoline.

Ethanol is replacing another chemical in gasolines sold in urban areas such as Richmond and Hampton Roads, where air pollution can be a problem. The chemicals make gasoline burn cleaner.

As soon as this weekend, shipments of low-octane gasoline for ethanol blending will begin arriving at terminals in Richmond and Norfolk. The gasoline will be mixed with ethanol, another name for grain alcohol, to raise it to regular 87 octane or a higher grade of fuel.

A couple of weeks ago the fuel began making its way by pipeline from refineries along the Gulf Coast.

Some supply disruptions, including shortages or outages, could accompany the arrival of the new fuel, many petroleum-industry watchers expect.

A Mechanicsville fuel dealer, John Zehler, who is a close student of the oil industry, said he sees Virginia motorists paying $3 per gallon of gasoline in some fuel-short markets.

Oil companies, as directed by Congress, have begun substituting ethanol for the additive methyl tertiary-butyl ether, or MTBE.

The oil companies are making the ethanol switch sooner than required. When Congress passed an energy bill last year, it denied them protection from lawsuits over the use of MTBE, which has polluted water supplies.

A Department of Energy agency said this week that the transition to the new blend of gasoline and the amount of refinery maintenance required this month could set the tone for gasoline prices this summer.

The average U.S. retail price of regular gasoline rose 9 cents per gasoline in the week that ended April 3 to $2.59 per gallon.

In the Richmond area, the price of regular gas climbed 2 cents per gallon yesterday to $2.60 per gallon.

One positive sign is that the price of May futures contracts for crude oil and regular gasoline fell slightly yesterday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Daily wholesale prices of gasoline, however, have uncharacteristically been running much higher than futures prices.

The president of the Virginia Convenience Petroleum and Grocery Association has asked state officials to consider requesting temporary relief from the federal requirement that only special cleaner-burning fuels be sold in Richmond and other urban areas. If relief were granted by the Environmental Protection Agency, filling stations in Richmond would be able to sell conventional types of gasoline sold in less-populated areas until the kinks were worked out of the supply chain.

Mike O'Connor of the convenience store group said the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy has asked him to gather information about the fuel-supply situation. Several terminals have been out of gasoline this week as they prepare their storage tanks for ethanol-mixed fuel, he said.

Because ethanol mixes with water, all water must be removed from gasoline storage tanks. O'Connor said that a shortage of a new kind of fuel filter required on gasoline pumps might also cause a problem for some dealers.

O'Connor said that one oil-industry analyst group has said that the switch to ethanol could wind up somewhere between a minor annoyance and a major train wreck. "Until we get there, I don't think there is any way to tell."

Mike Jung
04-08-2006, 06:05 PM
from: (
Sugar In Your Tank: US To Import More Ethanol

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--U.S. energy companies phasing out methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MTBE, will have to use cane-based ethanol from Brazil and elsewhere as a gasoline additive this year, with the domestic corn industry unable to meet immediate demand with corn-based ethanol, experts said.

Refiners this spring are voluntarily phasing out MTBE - which currently accounts for 1.5% of the nation's fuel supply and more in some parts of the U.S. - replacing it with ethanol to avoid water-pollution lawsuits. By mid-year, gasoline containing 10% ethanol will be sold in much of the U.S.

"We'll need more foreign ethanol, especially in the short term, to replace MTBE," said Dave Juday, senior agricultural analyst with World Perspectives Inc., advisors in Washington. "The U.S. corn industry can't provide all the extra ethanol that will be required this year. But we'll eventually have a domestic surplus, with more ethanol capacity expected to come on stream," reducing the need for imports later in the decade.

In the U.S., ethanol is produced mainly from corn, while big sugar growers Brazil and Central America use the sweetener for fuel. U.S. industry, particularly Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) - providing 29% of the nation's ethanol - is gearing up to meet the additional demand. The U.S. could see a doubling in the number of ethanol plants, currently at 95, helped by federal subsidies, energy analysts said.

Meanwhile, U.S. cane-based ethanol imports are expected to more than double in 2006 from 511 million liters in 2005.

"Moving U.S. ethanol, produced in the heartlands, to population centers on the coasts, where demand is heaviest, is a logistical challenge," said Edward Murphy, downstream general manager of the American Petroleum Institute in Washington. "Because ethanol absorbs water and corrodes pipelines, it must be trucked or moved by rail to consumption areas for final blending." More tanks are needed to store and blend ethanol on the East Coast, where it's difficult and expensive to construct them.

Imports, however, have the advantage of arriving at major population centers.

U.S. ethanol prices are rising, while MTBE prices sag ahead of the voluntary MTBE phase-out, Juday said. The cost of producing ethanol in the U.S. is about $1 a gallon - higher than it is in Brazil, where ethanol prices are also strengthening. "And in the U.S. spot market, we're hearing of ethanol selling above $2.50 a gallon now," he said.

"We've got a 51-cent-a-gallon subsidy on U.S. ethanol output, down from what was a 54-cent subsidy, and that about offsets the federal 54-cent tax on Brazilian ethanol imports," Juday said. Another 2.5% ad valorum tax is imposed on Brazilian imports.

The current MTBE price in the U.S, is $1.74 a gallon.

"It's going to cost refiners more to produce gasoline with ethanol, and the increase will likely be passed on to consumers," Juday said.

The U.S. will need another 2 billion gallons of ethanol in 2006, on top of the renewable fuels standard of 4 billion, with much of that coming from imports, Juday said. Under the renewable fuels standard, a certain percentage of motor fuel in the U.S. must be obtained from ethanol, biodiesel or other renewable sources.

The s udden burst of ethanol demand stems from last year's energy bill, which didn't give refiners legal protection from water-contamination lawsuits. Since then, the industry has been quickly migrating to ethanol. Hundreds of lawsuits meanwhile are pending against U.S. makers of MTBE, now unprotected legally.

Every major U.S. oil refiner plans to stop using MTBE before the 2006 summer driving season, Guy Caruso, head of the federal Energy Information Administration said last week. He told the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that gasoline prices should continue to rise this year as a result.

In 2005 under the Caribbean Basin Initiative, the U.S. imported 392 million liters of ethanol from Caribbean and Central American nations, mainly Jamaica, Trinidad, Tobago, Costa Rica and El Salvador, according to the International Trade Commission. The CBI allows ethanol to come in duty free from 24 nations, subject to a limit. The Central American Free Trade Agreement also allows duty-free treatment, but doesn't increase overall access to the U.S.

Brazilian and European wet ethanol can be processed at dehydration plants in CBI countries for duty-free shipment to the U.S, so a lot of Brazilian ethanol enters U.S. shores that way. Canadian ethanol is sent to the U.S. duty free under the North American Free Trade Agreement, while Mexico, a high-cost sugar producer, hasn't been much of an exporter.

The U.S. imported 118.4 million liters of cane ethanol from Brazil in 2005, with the bulk of that arriving in the last quarter, according to the ITC.

Meanwhile, Brazilian ethanol prices are rising and will remain strong until the nation's center-south harvest, which just began, picks up steam. Anhydrous ethanol at the Sao Paulo mill gate last week averaged 55.5 cents per liter, or $2.10 a gallon, compared with 56.3 cents per liter, or $2.13 a gallon, during the March 20-24 period, according to the local Cepea-Esalq index. In March, prices averaged 55.4 cents per liter, or $2.10 a gallon.

"While most cars in Brazil are flex-fuel and can run on any combination of gasoline and ethanol, in the U.S. only 3% of autos can operate on E-85, or 85% ethanol," said Edward Murphy of the API. "A 10% ethanol mix is all that most U.S. vehicles can handle."

Auto makers continue to sell more E-85 cars but drivers, stymied by few ethanol vendors, have often had to run those vehicles on gasoline.

The U.S. is expected to produce 16.2 billion liters of ethanol in 2006, while Brazil can make 15.8 billion liters, according to commodity-merchants Louis Dreyfus Group, based in Paris.

-By Susan Buchanan, Dow Jones Newswires

04-08-2006, 06:10 PM
I don't care what blend of ethanol it is. Ethanol blended is better than non-ethanol blended. That's all I care about. I hopefully won't be doing much driving this summer. I hope to ride my bike to most places. Hopefully this reduces me filling my tank from once a week to once a month...

Mike Jung
04-08-2006, 07:46 PM
from: (


RISING: The price of gas, which is currently approaching $3 a gallon and is near in some places, will be at its highest ever by Memorial Day.
Photo: Getty Images

April 5, 2006 -- The pain of $4-a-gallon gasoline for your beach trips is already on its way to New York gas pumps - thanks to corn fields in the often-parched Midwest.

Excluding geopolitical troubles, the new culprit being blamed for picking the pockets of motorists this season is a colorless, environmentally friendly liquid called ethanol - distilled from corn or sugar cane into a volatile explosive that soups up gasoline.

Even without threats of hurricanes that typically wreak gas-pump havoc, energy traders are betting - by nearly three to one - they'll see the highest prices ever for gasoline by Memorial Day.

"Leaving out the issue of hurricanes, we're going to see some $4 gasoline appearing in some isolated cases," said Jamal Qureshi, senior gasoline analyst at PFC Energy in Washington, D.C. "If hurricanes really hit the refinery system as in the past - well, we saw what that can do."

Most motorists are unaware of what they're facing this summer driving season when they gas up.

To the anxiety of many energy-watchers, America is switching all its gasoline by May 5 to a new blended gasoline that uses 10 percent ethanol to create its octane rating.

The old octane booster, MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether), has been virtually outlawed as a cancer-causing pollutant and won't be used after May 5.

Instead, motorists and gas station operators will have to rely on America having enough corn to keep ethanol flowing in huge quantities to blend their cleaner-burning gas.

New York and Connecticut are already on ethanol, but New Jersey and most of the rest of America haven't yet switched.

"There's some new problems and challenges ahead in the national switch to ethanol," said Qureshi.

The biggest unknown is whether there's enough; next is getting it distributed.

"Ethanol doesn't travel well - in pipelines it separates into water and liquids - and has to be trucked wherever it goes."

The blending is also done at the retail level, usually at the wholesale tank farms just before it's trucked locally to service stations.

"Traders remain extremely nervous about gasoline supplies, especially with the switch to ethanol nationwide," said energy analyst Peter Beutel of Cameron Hanover.

04-08-2006, 09:28 PM
Sounds like we're getting focked, yet again.

I sure hope the administration, and the country as a whole, is looking at alternative fuels more closely now...