Category Archives: Personal Automobiles

Jay Leno Wants To Ban Ethanol In Gasoline


Jay Leno says that putting ethanol in gasoline results in fires in older model automobiles.   As many of you know, Leno is a collector of classic jaylenoaw_20150302p10 Leno-Ethanol-1cars, most of which are old cars. In a posting in Autoweek, March 4,2015 titled “Jay Leno hates ethanol” he says:

“There have been a lot of old-car fires lately. I went through the ’70s, the ’80s and most of the ’90s without ever having read much about car fires. Suddenly, they are happening all over the place. Here’s one reason: The ethanol in modern gasoline—about 10 percent in many states—is so corrosive, it eats through either the fuel-pump diaphragm, old rubber fuel lines or a pot metal part, then leaks out on a hot engine … and ka-bloooooie!!!”

 Once in my business career, I was the manager of our methanol-in-gasoline program. The company spent in the high six figures on laboratory work to determine the safety of methanol (not to be confused with ethanol) as a gasoline additive.  The program tested fuel lines, gaskets, fuel tanks, etc. Basically everything that this blend would encounter. The concentration of the methanol in the mix was an important factor. The work was completed and we got EPA approval to use. We knew that some of the older vehicles  owners might need to be alerted about the properties of the mix. At that time there was no Renewable Fuels Standard so people were not going to be forced to use the blend. Not too long after getting the EPA approval, the company decided to go out of the methanol business. End of story.

Jay has several more complaints about ethanol blended in gasoline at 10%:

“There’s more. I find that gasoline, which used to last about a year and a half or two years, is pretty much done after a month or so these days. If I run a car from the teens or ’20s and fill it up with modern fuel, then it sits for more than two months, I often can’t get it to start.     Ethanol will absorb water from ambient air. In a modern vehicle, with a sealed fuel system, ethanol fuel has a harder time picking up water from the air. But in a vintage car, the water content of fuel can rise, causing corrosion and inhibiting combustion.

Leno believes the Renewable Fuel Standard has done more harm than just that of damaging his and other people’s cars.   He says:

“Blame the Renewable Fuel Standard. This government-mandated rule requires certain amounts of ethanol and other biofuels be blended with gasoline and diesel fuel. “I just don’t see the need for ethanol. I understand the theory—these giant agri-business companies can process corn, add the resulting blend to gasoline and we’ll be using and importing less gasoline***. But they say this diversion of the corn supply is negatively affecting food prices, and the ethanol-spiked gas we’re forced to buy is really awful.

The big growers of corn have sold us a bill of goods. Some people are making a lot of money because of ethanol. But as they divert production from food to fuel, food prices inevitably will rise. Now, if you don’t mind paying $10 for a tortilla…”

He would like some action here:

“It’s time for us as automobile enthusiasts to dig in our heels and start writing to our congressmen and senators about the Renewable Fuel Standard, or we’ll be forced to use even more ethanol. Most people assume, “Oh, that’ll never happen. They’ll never do that.” Remember prohibition? In 1920, all the saloons were closed. It took until 1933 before legal liquor came back.”

At most marinas, gasoline containing no ethanol is supplied as small craft engines can be destroyed by the ethanol-gasoline mix. So boaters might want to join Leno and the automobile enthusiasts.

Leno has more to say about this issue and you can read it by clicking here on this website:

http://autoweek.com/article/car-life/jay-leno-hates-ethanol

***Actually I believe he means “importing less crude oil” rather than “gasoline” but it doesn’t alter his point of view. These days we have plenty of domestic crude oil so we don’t really need the ethanol to stretch our gasoline supplies.

cbdakota

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Are Not Ready For EVs


evpluginUnknownWired has a posting titled “A Two-Day Battle to Charge My Car Convinced Me We’re Not Ready for EVs” by Alex Davies. Davies relates that he borrowed a Nisan Leaf for a test run. He planed to make a trip from San Francisco to Mountain Valley, California for a meeting. The distance from his apartment to the meeting is 35 miles. The mileage available meter on the Leaf indicates its range at the current charge was 50 miles. The trip to the meeting was uneventful. The problems begin when he knows that the battery charge is not sufficient to get him back to his apartment. What follows was several hours getting the Leaf charged.

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Chinese Reject Electric Cars


Henry Lee of the Harvard Kennedy School reports the Chinese chineseelectricsimagesgovernment cannot make their people buy electric cars. The American “Green” press insists that China is the leader in green technology and that they want to join in a pact to reduce CO2 emissions.   Well if you watch what the Chinese do rather than what they say, you would know they have no intention of cutting back on the use of fossil fuels.

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August Electric Vehicle Sales


This might be the right time to begin separating monthly sales of plug-in hybrids vehicles from battery vehicles.  So here goes.

Plug-in hybrids (PHV) August Sales.

The August PHV sales were up by 83% over July’s sales.  Volt led this category with 3,351 vehicle sales and a 52% share of this market. Volt year-to-date sales were 14, 994. The Prius PHV sales were 1,791 and with year-to-date sales of 6,822.   Others making a showing were Ford C-Max with sales of 621 and Ford Fusion Energi with 600.

pluginsalesaugust136a00d8341c4fbe53ef019aff36fe6e970d-800wi

(Click on chart for clarity)

The chart does show some reasonably good upward movement for PHEV sales. But not to get too excited just yet, Green Car Congress posts that: “With overall light-duty vehicles sales of 1,503,151 units in August (up 17% year-on-year), according to AutoData, plug-in hybrids had a 0.4% share of the August new vehicle market.”

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) August Sales

The Nissan LEAF August sales were 2,420 with year-to-date sales at 14,123.

Tesla is the elephant in the room.  The next report on sales will be at the end of the third quarter so it is a guess where they rank in the scheme of things.  Green Car Congress reports sales of Leafs plus a number of other models with sales in the 200 or below would add to August BEV sales of 3,206.  They estimate that upward of 1700 Teslas were probably sold in August increasing the total BEV August sales to about 4,900 units. BEV sales would be about 0.3% of the August new vehicle sales.

Still far from impressive.

cbdakota

Fuel Cell Vehicles–Hydrogen Too Costly


A previous posting, “Fuel Cell Vehicles”, reviewed the basics of the fuel cell and the fuel cell vehicles.   At the end of that posting, it was said that: “There are a lot of things going for H2 powered fuel cell vehicles except the economics.”

Hydrogen form Periodic Table of Elements

What does that mean? There are two factors that make H2 non-competitive versus other alternatives.  Factor one is that hydrogen (H2) is very costly to produce, and distribute.   The second are the physical characteristics of H2 that increase the cost of distribution and use.

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Fuel Cell Vehicles


Like the tide, going in and out and so does the Fuel Cell Vehicle favorability.   Right now favorability is pretty well in the tank, but not completely.  The city of London is installing hydrogen (H2) fueling stations with the objective of encouraging their use.  California has a similar program, as does Germany.

Some of you may not be familiar with fuel cell cars because they have been  out of the spotlight recently.  The following is an overview of  the  fuel cell and the fuel cell car.   The cartoon below pictures most of the hardware needed.

Fuelcellcarforblog

Courtesy of http://www.imageproduction.nl

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July EV Sales Down But Still Some Hope For 100,000 Sales By Year End


July sales for the leaders, Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf were off compared to their June sales.  The Volt sold 1,788 in July versus 2,698 in June.  The Leaf sales were 1,864 in July versus 2,225 in June.

The table below shows the models having sold more that 1000 vehicles year-t0-date.  (Tesla would be in this table but they only report sales quarterly.)

MODEL JULY SALES YEAR-TO-DATE SALES
Nissan Leaf 1,864 11,703
Chevy Volt 1,788 11,643
Toyota Prius Plug-In     817   5,035
Ford  C-Max Energi    433   2,915
Ford Fusion Energi    407  1,991
Ford Focus Electric    150  1,050

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