Today’s Headlines

  • Pedestrian Killed, 5 Injured When Reckless Driver Causes Edgewater Pileup (Tribune)
  • Writer Sues After CTA Denies FOIA Request for Ventra Contract Records (Sun-Times)
  • 19 Aldermen Call for City Council Hearing on Red Light Cams (Tribune)
  • Active Trans Speaks Out on Evanston’s Davis Street PBL Delay
  • 47th Ward Wants Office 2-Minutes Away From Argyle Stop to Provide Parking (DNA)
  • Hertz May Partner With Walgreens to Offer Car-Share From Drugstore Lots (Crain’s)
  • BWLP Discusses the City’s Proposal for PBLs on Clybourn
  • Aldermen Pour Water on Proposal to Require Ethanol at Gas Stations (DNA)
  • Man Survives After Driving Car Into Barrington Hills Swimming Pool (CBS)
  • BACP Hosting Pedicab Licensing Workshop August 8 at City Hall (DNA)

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  • BlueFairlane

    I keep thinking the ethanol thing is going to die out, but dumb people keep bringing it back, usually with some suggestion that ethanol burns cleaner, and that it reduces demand on foreign oil. This is wrong for a lot of reasons, but here’s the biggest: ethanol contains a lot less energy than gasoline. The more ethanol you put in gasoline, the less energy you’ll have in the mix. With a gallon of E85, you’re down to about 72% of the energy you get in the same gallon of gasoline, which means your car can only do 72% of the work.

    What does that mean? My 2002 Honda Civic gets about 35 mpg on gas. If my Civic could extract energy from E85 as efficiently as it can from gasoline (which it can’t), then it would only manage about 25.2 mpg. My Honda can use 10 gallons of gas to travel 350 miles. At peak efficiency, it would only travel 252 miles on 10 gallons of E85. In order to travel 350 miles, it would need 13.9 gallons of E85. That 13.9 gallons would contain 11.8 gallons of gasoline, increasing my gasoline use 1.8 gallons to travel the same distance. Ethonal increases oil demand.

    So good on the City Council.

  • None of them were reported using that argument, though. But E85 means has ethanol mixture up to 85% and E15 means there’s 15 percent of ethanol. Does your calculation resulting in increased oil use still hold when the ethanol percentage is 15%?

    “Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) was skeptical that increased ethanol production wouldn’t lead to increased food prices with a reduced supply of corn.”

    I don’t believe that’s true. There’s corn for eating and there’s corn for turning into feed and high-fructose corn syrup.

  • Mishellie

    Wait… is that the same Barrington Hills that’s trying to ban bikes for being too unruly? But a car crashed into a swimming pool?

    Hahaha.since no one was hurt… that’s funny.

  • Str0ng

    It’s not dumb people per say. It’s pork barrel politics at its finest. Midwestern politicians are clearly good at going to DC and bringing home the subsidies for their farmers, both “mom and pop” and corporate.

  • skyrefuge

    No. I think you’re mixing up E85 and E15. E85 is (up to) 85% ethanol, 15% gasoline. E15 is the inverse, 15% ethanol, 85% gasoline. You’re correct that you’d need 13.9 gallons of E85 to travel 350 miles, but that would contain only 2.1 gallons of gasoline, thus *reducing* your gasoline consumption by 7.9 gallons.

    E15 has much more energy content than E85 (I couldn’t find a number, but commonly-used E10 has 96.7%, so E15 must be at least 90%+)

    Think about it, if you can go 350 miles on 10 gallons of gasoline, the only way you’d need to use *more* gasoline when adding ethanol to it is if the added ethanol actually had a negative energy content. Yes, at its best, ethanol is a dumb, scientifically-questionable, politically-motivated concept, but it’s not quite *that* bad!

  • BlueFairlane


    No. In fact, you can ignore everything I’ve written here and pay attention instead to skyrefuge below.

  • Fred

    It also takes about a gallon of gasoline to make a gallon of corn ethanol, so for every gallon of ethanol burned you’ve also burned a gallon of gasoline. The benefits of corn ethanol have already been well debunked.

  • Christopher Murphy

    How much bike traffic does that section of Clybourne get that it needs a PBL? I’m all for PBLs where ever possible, but I think the money could be better spent on Elston or Milwaukee.

  • what_eva

    While it pains me to say so, Austin is correct. Food prices are up due to the reduced supply of corn for ethanol. It’s *not* the price of edible corn, it’s the price of meat due to higher prices for feed corn.