Posts Tagged ‘Ethanol’

vlam2014_lowresThere is about a week left before Election Day.

Remember motorcycle-only checkpoints?  Too much ethanol in gasoline?  Health insurance discrimination against motorcyclists?

There is and have been a wide variety of issues on Capitol Hill related to motorcycling.  Election Day choices will affect motorcyclists and that’s why it’s important for all of us to cast our ballots in the November general election.

The AMA Government Relations Department put together a guide for their members and you can access it (HERE) to take stock of where candidates stand on motorcycling issues as you decide how best to cast your ballots.

Some members in the winner-take-all government believe this wild ride on robot scooters from the guys at OK Go represent motorcycling at it’s finest…  a clever video, but they are clearly not masters of “wind in the face” road trips!

Photo courtesy of AMA.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Ethanol Boosted Gasoline and Harley-Davidson

That’s horseshit!

No, I’m not afraid to put that in the title.  It’s just if I do, this finely crafted missive is unlikely to pass the blog filters.  In fact, those of you working at companies probably won’t see it pass through your company filter now that I’ve spelled out the word.  Because that’s how afraid of plain English this country is.  And if you’re protected from reality, how can you know the truth.

And speaking of truth…

What kind of crazy world do we live when environmental and industry groups who frequently oppose each other,  AGREE to jointly ask Congress for thorough and objective scientific testing before allowing an increase in the amount of ethanol in gasoline?  The ethanol industry, primarily lead by the Growth Energy trade group has been pushing hard to allow the amount of ethanol in gasoline to increase by 50%.  It’s called E15 and some 36 groups have signed a letter that went to the majority and minority leaders of the U.S. Senate urging opposition to any amendment to the coming energy bill that would authorize the sale of gasoline with more than 10% ethanol.

But, today the contrite attitude of the Obama administration granted the request of ethanol producers and will permit higher concentrations of the corn-based fuel additive in gasoline for vehicles made in 2007 and later.  The EPA announced its “rubber stamp” decision just minutes later on how they will allow refiners to blend as much as 15%.  The fact is that the Obama administration doesn’t have the power to order use of E15, however, the decision will have profound impact to motorcyclists.

Automotive manufacturers (GM, Ford, Chrysler) have all expressed major concerns and believe ethanol concentrations of higher blends can damage exhaust systems, engines, fuel pumps and destroy catalytic convertors.  By-the-way, this decision excludes ALL MOTORCYCLES, marine engines and non-road engines such as snowmobiles.

Who wins with this “boosted” blend ratio?  Well let’s follow the money…  Corn-ethanol lobby groups like Growth Energy (headed up by Wesley Clark) will benefit.  The U.S. pays a $0.45-cent tax credit to gasoline refiners that make a blend of as much as 10% ethanol.  They win.  Farm exports will increase and they win.  Poet LLC, based in Sioux Falls, SD is the largest U.S. ethanol producer followed by Archer Daniels Midland Co.  They win.  In fact, the annual market value for ethanol in the U.S. has risen to $27.1 Billion since federal support began under the Jimmy Carter administration.

Who loses?  Consumers.  Corn prices, cost of food, cost of fuel and cost of maintenance or repairs.  And then there is the ever present mis-fueling issue. Lastly, how long until measures are put in place for motorcycles?

Photo courtesy of Flickr

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Ethanol Producer Magazine

Ethanol Producer Magazine

An interesting article in Ethanol Producer Magazine about the conversion and tuning process of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle to run E85 fuel (85% ethanol and 15% ordinary gas). 

The use of E10 Unleaded is approved under warranty by major motorcycle manufactures including Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha.  In fact, Harley goes so far to actually promote/recommend the use of renewable, clean air fuels such as E10 because of their environmental benefits.  Their stance is on E85 is bit less clear.  However,  Ronald M. Hutchinson (Sr. VP Product Development; bio) recently provided some insight in an interview with QuickThrottle.com (October 2008 edition):

Question: Is Harley doing any initial research on alternative fuels and energy sources?  Answer: I can’t really talk about future products.  But I can tell you that we are looking at and have run and currently have motorcycles that run on a much higher level of ethanol because we sell a lot of motorcycles in Brazil.  Fuels there are sugar-based ethanol that have slightly higher energy content than stuff we get here.  But regardless we already hve the capability of providing products that do just that – that run on a higher percentage of ethanol and we are also looking at a variety of different alternatives.

More than 40 percent of the gasoline sold across the U.S. contains oxygenates such as ethanol.  There has been an dramatic increase in the availability of E85 as well as the number of automobiles that can operate on E85 (called Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFV’s)).  It will be interesting to watch how this progresses for motorcycles.  For a current list of E85 station visit E85.

Photo courtesy of Ethanol Producer Magazine web site.

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