The Ethanol Papers - Paperturn manuscript - Flipbook - Page 13
2. Freeing individuals from the philosophical and societal anguish that their automobile desires or requirements were existentially irresponsible, if not downright globally catastrophic - This concern grew out of the 1970's alarm that big
cars were rapidly draining the world's petroleum supply while choking us all with
Of course, most of us now know that the global supply issue was a canard,
while the health and economic issues were and are the serious problems that
must be overcome.
We believe that people should own and drive what they want. If they want a
large vehicle that burns lots of fuel, and they can afford it, then they should have
the freedom to do so. The only legitimate concern is if the vehicle spews too
many harmful emissions into the air. If a fuel could be easily substituted for
gasoline or diesel that reduces harmful emissions, regardless of the size of the
vehicle and its engine, then vehicle size is irrelevant.
By the mid-2000's we were reporting and opining on alternative fuel and energy
issues almost as often as we did on conventional automotive issues. However,
we hit an intellectual roadblock. Although we gained great book knowledge, we
had little personal practical knowledge and experience to back up the
We looked for additional opportunities to test drive realistic alternative fuel vehicles: Vehicles powered by compressed natural gas, hydrogen, propane, electric, and ethanol. Obviously, our ownership of The Auto Channel opened the
door for us to do quite a lot of this.
Also, even when not test-driving press fleet flex-fuel (ethanol) vehicles, I experimented with using higher blends of ethanol-gasoline in hundreds of non-flex
fuel vehicles I drove. When traveling and driving rental cars, I did this a lot. What
I discovered was that every non-flex fuel gasoline-powered vehicle I drove could
use high levels of ethanol-gasoline blends with little or no change in vehicle
performance. And, of course, no damage was ever done to the vehicles.
I splash-blended E20, E25, E30, E35, E40, and so on by first pumping in E85
and then topping off with E10.
Naturally, we couldn't do the same level of experimentation with CNG and hydrogen since it wasn't possible to test dedicated CNG, propane, and hydrogen press fleet vehicles with the same regularity (and no car rental company
offers these types of cars for rent).