Give Consumers Real Choice; Replace MPG with CPM and Replace Regular(E10) With Flex-Fuel(E85) It's That Simple!
By Bob Gordon
President and Co-publisher
The Auto Channel
Author's Note: This article is based on an April 2009 rant that concerned Big Cars and the fuel they run on. Improving the MPG of vehicles using today's regular gasoline is just another diversion from the needed migration to a total CPM (Cost per Mile) concept which got lost in the article. After re-reading it today I felt that it deserved to have a spotlight of its own. What do you think? email@example.com
AUTO CENTRAL - July 14, 2010: MPG is NOT the problem, it's the MPG of "what" fuel that is the problem. So how can the elimination of our neurotic national concern for MPG (of Gasoline) help save our country's economy, improve the world’s environment; help the good guys make the bad guys non-starters and allow the free market to solve our economic problems while empowering motorists to drive happily into the sunset, in a vehicle that is both big enough for their practical needs and powerful enough for their emotional needs...how indeed?
Simple, Replace All of Today's Gasoline(E10) With Tomorrow's High-Test Flex-Fuel(E85)
Before any more studies, before any more alt fuel announcements and before any more alt fuel options, our government and energy bureaucrats must stop acting on the behalf of big oil and their self-serving propaganda; "...that there is not one silver bullet solution to replace gasoline but many" and that "...adding more ethanol into regular gasoline makes it an ALT fuel" putting it into the same bucket as esoteric future fuels that really do need, more study, scientific development and infrastructure creation and delaying E85's adoption as the New Regular.
Just increasing the amount of alcohol in regular gasoline, from 10% to 85% does not make it an ALT fuel, it is just a logical, immediate improvement and migration from today's ecologically and politically harmful Old Regular(E10) Gasoline, to tomorrow's cleaner more sustainable and domestically produced High-Test Flex-Fuel(E85)
New Regular needs no more major studies, it is ready for prime time now, just ask those scientists and car guys who really know and have the freedom to tell the truth...replacing all Old Regular with High-Test Flex-Fuel(E85)is not a big technical deal, not a big distribution infrastructure deal, not even a big manufacturing deal, but only a big political deal. But even if converting over to New Regular is a problem, it is a problem we must solve.
After years of The Auto Channel being involved in this argument, no one, that is NO ONE has told us with unbiased certainty that High-Test Flex-Fuel(E85) will cause the sky to fall in on American motorists.
For those of you out there old enough to remember the Leaded Gasoline versus Unleaded Gasoline upheaval and controversy of the 1970's; "Oh Ma G-d without lead in my gasoline my car will not run, Oh Ma G-d without lead in my gasoline my car will hiccup its way down the road, Oh Ma G-d without lead in my gasoline the world as we know it will end" Guess what? Nada.
One day I was pumping "Leaded" and a few days later the pump served "Unleaded"...whoosh, no bull, no protests, no calls to study alt fuels none of that, and it happened overnight, politicians and bureaucrats knew it was right and just did it, and the sky didn't fall; or the world end; stalled cars and trucks did not clog every road and freeway across our nation...nothing happened...nothing, except poison lead was eliminated from our air.
In a 1996 release the EPA said "The elimination of lead from gas is one of the great environmental achievements of all time, thousands of tons of lead have been removed from the air, and blood levels of lead in our children are down 70 percent. This means that millions of children will be spared the painful consequences of lead poisoning, such as permanent nerve damage, anemia or mental retardation. The actions taken today, although procedural, mark the end of a quarter-of-a-century of work to keep Americans safe from exposure to lead from gas."
Just as nothing bad happened when lead was eliminated, nothing bad will happen when Old Regular becomes New Regular, except maybe the check engine light will come on due to the leaner burning New Regular. Your post 1984 car won't miss, it won't buck, in fact your car will have more uumph because of the higher octane(110) of the High-Test Flex-Fuel(E85)and your car will last longer, as tests show that the cleaner burning New Regular Gasoline leaves less carbon deposits on internal engine parts.
So like the 1971 mandate that said "no more leaded gasoline" then, so now must our politicians and their bureaucratic minions remove themselves from under big oils thumb and do the right thing RIGHT NOW and pass laws or rules that mandate the elimination of the 100 year old status-quo a reality that the oil companies fashioned and perfected 100 years ago, and which they still benefit from today.
Solving Tomorrow's Mobility Fuel Problems Must Come After Solving Today's Problems
As long as Old Regular Gasoline remains “the fuel” and as long as High-Test Flex-Fuel(E85) is treated like an ALT fuel, and as long as our government funds more “study” of long term alt fuel options and solutions, without mandating Old Regular's replacement then the longer the oil companies will be able to continue to pocket trillions of dollars each year selling us our smack.
So until we are off the oil teat (at least 85% worth), our government should not be wasting time and money on studies of future solutions while the replacement of Old Regular Gasoline with New Regular Gasoline is not one of today's top of mind collective efforts.
Our bureaucrats must stop diverting our nation's treasury and brain power looking for a futuristic gasoline replacement, we must first focus all of our efforts on the immediate replacement for 75% of the gasoline we use. Before we alt ourselves to death (and we are, with hundreds of billions of dollars given to Big Power to study the “smart grid” and many other billions studying other “answers”), there needs to be law that mandates the immediate replacement of all Old Gasoline(E10) with High-Test Flex-Fuel(E85), and which will, at the least, immediately eliminate the need for imported oil ($1 billion dollars a day) and allow our scientists and environmentalists to get out from under the ticking OPEC time bomb of uncertainty by providing them with breathing room, and giving them back the time needed for their research, testing and developing our future's true ALT fuels whatever they may be.
Real Choice Of Mobility Fuels
As consummate capitalists the owners of The Auto Channel believe in the marketplace, BUT today the marketplace cannot be expected to decide which alt fuel if any will win out because there is no real choice!
It is our vision that alternative fuel choices in the future must include ALL of them, we have more choice of water, cola's and beer than we do fuel for our vehicles, so a future with a smorgasbord of “not a single answer” alt fuels will serve the future’s motorists better.
Some day after our government did its job correctly, tomorrow's vehicle buyers will have a choice of which approved and supported fuels they will “fill-up “ with, only then can the marketplace truly choose the winners.
Ok so what does this have to do with MPG(G) Miles Per Gallon (of Gas)?
Everything! MPG (G) is a metaphor for “isn’t gasoline great” a mindset that has allowed big oil to control our freedom to be mobile...no matter how impressive an MPG , we believe that it really stands for “bad for children and other living creatures”
MPG and GAS are three letter words that go together like trans-fats and heart attacks; cancer and toxic wastes; fast foods and obesity; DDT and species elimination; terrorists and supporters.
All MPG(G) improvement pronouncements should be equated with a question similar to; how much less are you beating your children lately?
We need to change the MPG (G) mindset into a CPM (Cost Per Mile) mindset which we believe better reflects a motoring reality...we should eliminate references and deification of MPG, just as we must eliminate imported oil based fuels as our primary mobility energy source.
We believe that in an oil free future every driver’s refueling events will be made with conscious choices….which weekly fill-up fuel will be determined at that moment by each driver who will determine their vehicle’s calculated CPM rating using each available fuel’s cost at that exact moment, along with consideration of the type of driving they will be doing that “tankful”, and which fuel makes their vehicle “drive better”…it will be their choice.
As a real bonus, fuel dispensing companies can establish and maintain Personal Carbon Usage Accounts, which will allow every motorist who choose to reduce their carbon footprint that fill-up, to benefit monetarily by trading or selling their unused carbon allotment(if there is an under budget remainder) in real time…it will be their choice... hey this is still America..
At that point in the future all approved mobility fuels will be ubiquitous...Gas Stations will become CPM Refueling and Recharging Stations providing customers with access to approved and taxed fuels (no one seems to be talking about the potential drastic reduction of highway fund revenue from the elimination of controlled and measured refueling options.) .
The Filling Station's fuel pumps must change from just vending 3 octane levels of gasoline plus diesel, to offering New Gasoline, Ethanol, Propane, LNG, and Liquid Hydrogen and other over the horizon fuels.
Gaseous fuel pumps must vend CNG, Hydrogen, Methane and other formerly exotic concoctions that may power tomorrow’s vehicles.
Refueling Islands will offer Recharge connections for every Electric Vehicle technology, and compressors for Air Powered vehicles.
And stations can offer battery change out for customers of Project Better Place and its competitors.
In a new sensible world, alternative fuel choices will include ALL of them…in the future cars and truck will be built with its buyer’s choice of power plant(s)…some vehicle buyers will want their vehicles to run on every approved and supported fuel available… its their choice, then and only then can the marketplace choose a winner.
In this future, vehicle buyers will have the choice and will be in control...their budget and their practical and emotional needs will determine which vehicles and which fuels they will favor...flex fuel combination's will be offered that reduce CPM, while maximizing performance...what an idea...and a non MPG(G) world is the first stop on our new superhighway.
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