My first attempt at adding a pic to an article here. Sorry if it comes out wrong.
New federal law requiring 10% ethanol in ALL gasoline went into effect 01/01/08. Okay, so what does that mean for you and me?
Well, depending on your vehicle, you will now get somewhere between 3.5% and 8% fewer miles per gallon of fuel. And the ethanol affects emissions too. All else being equal, CO should drop, HC should drop (both are GOOD things), but NOx will go UP dramatically. So what? Well, it just so happens that NOx (oxides of nitrogen) are primary components of smog and acid rain. I don't know about YOU, but I feel greener already!! Oh, and one thing the emissions testing equipment does NOT check for is formaldehyde.....which will ALSO go up due to the increased ethanol content. And let's not forget about the benzene....
I'm a big fan of alternative fuels. Really I am. All I'm saying is that when we change what we put INTO an engine, we also change what comes OUT. Automakers are cranking out woefully inefficient machines at ridiculous prices and legislators keep passing laws that don't really DO anything to improve matters.
Example: Catalytic converters were a band-aid solution to a much deeper problem. Anyone here know what one actually DOES? Here's the simple version: it burns fuel that the engine FAILED to burn. Now, if the fuel doesn't BURN, then that fuel doesn't do anything to move us down the road.....so it's just wasted. Did the automakers try and make more efficient engines? Not really. They came up with the catalytic converter that choked our engines, killed what power we HAD, and dropped our fuel economy even MORE....and our legislators said, "HEY, that's a GREAT idea! EVERY vehicle should have one or 2 of those on them! We'll make it a LAW!"
Did you know that those things actually "wear out"? They do.
Did you know that certain fuel additives can "poison" them and make them stop working? They can.
Any idea how much energy (e.g. OIL) goes into making one? Rest assured that the number is astronomical.