Earning E85 Ethanol Rewards

In Wisconsin, drivers of E85 ethanol flex-fuel vehicles waited in line for free Cenex gift cards. Anyone who purchased eight and a half gallons or more of e85 between 10am and noon received free twenty dollar gift cards from the the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association.

The promotion was very successful, vehicles of all sizes showed up. They reportedly sold about 500 gallons of E85 during that time and 42 free Cenex gift cards were given out.

Throughout the year of 2007, the ethanol industry were able to produce six and a half billion gallons of ethanol. The produced ethanol is capable of replacing approximately 228 million barrels of foreign oil.

If all vehicles used e85, this alone can reduce ozone-forming pollution by twenty percent. A typical e85 ethanol vehicle operator can save as much as four tons of CO2 every year if they used e85 ethanol instead of regular gas.

Perhaps other markets in the United States should try to push E85 like they do in Wisconsin. With ethanol in the north-east virtually non-existent, this may drive consumer interest up in markets such as this.

21 ways to save at the gas pump

With the national price for gasoline over four dollars a gallon, many people will have big problems filling their car’s gas tank. Americans are now spending about four percent of their take home pay on fuel. Gasoline now rivals the costs that consumers pay for housing and food.

Below is a list of different ways consumers can save at the gas station.

  1. Use e85 ethanol – If your car is a flex-fuel compatible car, use e85. E85 is a blend of gasoline that consists of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. If you do not have a flex-fuel vehicle, consider using an e85 ethanol conversion kit. Using ethanol supports America and its farmers. Check your car’s operation manual to see if your car is a flex-fuel vehicle.
  2. Use natural curves to slow down – Using the ground to slow your speed seems more like a way to save your brakes. But if you don’t use your brakes to slow down, this means you will have to take your foot off the gas pedal sooner when approaching a stop.
  3. Use cruise control – Using cruise control will keep your car going at a constant speed. When you don’t use cruise control, your speed will vary by a few miles an hour as your vehicle travels up and down hills. If you accelerate too much, you waste gas. If you slow down then accelerate again you use more gas. Staying at a constant speed will save on your miles per gallon.
  4. Follow the speed limits – If you follow posted speed limits, you can improve your fuel economy by 7-23%. Different vehicles vary but gas mileage usually decreases when traveling above 60 miles an hour. Every 5 mph that you drive over 60 miles an hour is basically paying an additional $0.20 per gallon for gasoline.
  5. Use cash when filling at the pump – Recently, many gas stations have been doing a little bit of underhanded advertising. They advertise a cheaper price on their large billboard, however, when you get to the pump you may see another, more expensive price, ten or so cents. That more expensive price is for people who pay with their credit cards, the cheaper price is for cash payments.
  6. Keep tires properly inflated – Under-inflated tires can reduce your miles per gallon by 0.4 percent for every psi drop in tire pressure of all the tires. When the tires are properly inflated they are safer and they can last longer. Properly inflated tires add up to 3% to your fuel economy.
  7. Remove excess weight – If your car has books, golf clubs, tools, clothes etc, take them out of your car. Extra weight means it takes more fuel to get up to speed.
  8. Keep windows closed – Having the car’s windows open all the time while driving creates drag. Drag reduces your car’s miles per gallon.
  9. Get regular oil changes – Having your oil changed every 3000 miles or every three months will help keep your engine well lubricated. A well lubricated engine runs smoother and more efficiently.
  10. Change your oil and air filters – Aside from improving your gas mileage by up to 10%, changing your filters regularly will help save your engine. Air filters remove and keep out impurities from your engine.
  11. Have your car tuned up – Keeping your vehicle properly tuned can increase your fuel economy by up to 4%.
  12. Wax your car – A bit of a stretch since the savings are negligible but keeping your car clean will reduce drag. The smoother the surface, the more aerodynamic.
  13. Remove roof rack – A roof rack, when loaded, can decrease a vehicle’s fuel economy by 5 percent. If the roof rack is not being used, it still can produce drag.
  14. Do not let your car idle – When you idle your car, you are simply wasting gas. Your car only needs about 30 seconds after it starts for it to be ready to drive.
  15. Use the correct octane gasoline – Check your car’s owners manual. If you are paying for premium gasolines, you may be paying five to thirty cents more a gallon then you need to be. Most cars on the road today needs the lowest octane gasoline. Using anything above that may be a waste since you will not get better gas mileage.
  16. Use the recommended grade of motor oil – Using your car’s recommended grade of motor oil will increase your fuel economy by up to 2%.
  17. Use fuel injector cleaner – Regular fuel injector treatments allows your car to clean its fuel injectors. Clogged fuel injectors means the gas does not burn as efficiently as it should so your car will require more to counter act the inefficiency.
  18. Use public transportation – If you pay taxes, you are paying for it anyway. Using buses and trains is much more friendly to the environment. However, it will reduce your gasoline budget but it may raise other costs.
  19. Walk, run, bike etc. – Short trips in the car may be unnecessary. If you’re driving around the block, try walking. It will save you gas and it will improve your health.
  20. Carpool – If you can find one other person to drive to your school or place of work, you improve your fuel economy by 50%. If you find three other people, you fuel economy improves 66%. And so on.
  21. Do one stop shopping – Don’t drive from store to store. The constant stopping and starting will waste gas.

Estimates for tune ups, fuel savings from vehicle maintenance, full roof racks, keeping tires properly inflated, using the recommended grade of motor oil, and speed limits are based on studies and literature reviews performed by Energy and Environmental Analysis, Inc., Washington, DC.

Air filter savings based on Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 1981. Automobile Fuel Consumption in Actual Traffic Conditions. Paris, France. Tests were performed before the introduction of computer-controlled, fuel-injection engines. The Department of Energy is currently researching the fuel economy effects of clogged air filters on modern engines.

Ethanol Content may double in gasoline

The ethanol supporters are looking to raise the content of ethanol in every day gasoline from 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline 20 percent ethanol and 80 percent gasoline. This will double the nation’s use of ethanol to further reduce America’s oil consumption. E85 (85 percent ethanol 15 percent gasoline) is still seemingly hard to find in many states, e10 has been utilized greatly across the country.

The only threat that can get this shot down is can today’s cars use twice the ethanol that is currently available in e10? Some say, older vehicle engine’s may not be able to run on e20 because it will damage their engines.

The University of Minnesota and Minnesota State University have conducted studies to help ethanol out. They found that e20 will not damage engine parts. The e20 blend is not enough ethanol for engine parts to break down.

Even though there may be skepticism regarding ethanol as the fuel of the future, numerous states in America have laws requiring a certain percent of ethanol must be used in fuel. In Minnesota, they are looking to change the requirement to 20 percent ethanol in the next few years.

Unfortunately for ethanol, there is still doubt for twenty percent ethanol fuel blends. The main issue facing e20 is will it be able to be consumed by America’s vehicles? The doubters say twenty percent ethanol will corrode normal engine parts unless flex-fuel kits are utilized.

In a USA Today article, USA Today blew the whistle on the move to e20 in Australia. Reportedly, e20 testing in Australia lead to the damage of 40 percent of all the car’s catalytic converters.

In order for e20 to be distributed country wide, the EPA must test the emissions and the effects on engine parts before it will become legal. If e20 is used before the EPA runs their tests, e20 may void the car’s warranty.