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Hi All:

___I had a 96 mile run home this morning in low 40 degree temps and a 10 - 12 mph headwind. With that, I expected the worst (maybe 80 - 82 mpg) yet received a great 88.1 mpg segment albeit with a heck of a lot of work …

___The issue I am having is that not 2 months ago in similar temperatures and conditions, I don’t believe I would have come close to that mileage using the oxygenated winter fuel formulations (RFG or reformulated gas) found here in the Midwest. IIRC, these RFG fuels are supposed to promote cleaner exhausts of most automobiles by ~ 2 - 5% yet I can almost guarantee that I lose ~ 8 - 10% in fuel economy thus burn 8 - 10% more fuel and pollute ~ 6% more taking the 2 - 5% cleaner fuel used into consideration? The EPA’s reason for mandating the use of RFG is completely upside down from my viewpoint and I am more then a bit ticked off about this given that our current fuel pricing and foreign oil supply issues seem to laugh in the face of the EPA’s draconian and ill-advised RFG winter solution.

___Since I haven’t read much on RFG in the past 3 or 4 months (I could use a refresher), does anyone know if the EPA is ever going to repeal or do something about this non-sensical fuel solution for winter use or am I the one way out to lunch on this?

___Thanks in advance.

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:293rudzd][email protected][/email:293rudzd]
 

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http://www.epa.gov/otaq/rfg.htm

RFG is a general term that applies year-round.

When you refer to winter gasoline, I'm pretty sure you are talking about oxygenates added to reduce CO.

http://epa.gov/otaq/oxygenate.htm

See if you can find some numbers... most of what I see on the main pages is about total pounds of pollution eliminated and not % reduction of vehicle emissions.
 

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Good questions xcel-

Oxygenated gasoline is periodically a hot topic out here in Ca. We’ve had it for a while and the MTBE is proving to be a larger problem than the CO2 (at least in the short term). IIRC last year there was a big political move to try to do away with it (oxygenated gas and MTBE) as some folks believed it was not effective. The EPA dropped the MTBE requirement, but only if ethanol was substituted. Common perception out here was that the EPA was supporting the Midwest farm lobby.

As I understand it there are more than a dozen different gasoline formulas in the US due to different state requirements. (We are frequently reminded of this when we [Californians] complain about high gas prices.) So I do not know if our experience is relevant to yours.

Supposedly oxygenates do not effect gas mileage. Your mileage observation is an interesting one…I wonder if this is why you don’t find too many of us Californians talking about our LMPG…Nah…we are all probably in too much of a hurry. :wink:

I am writing this all from memory because I found the EPA site to resemble more of a “pep rally” than a useful searchable data base. Maybe someone with more expertise can educate both of us
 

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dan said:
MTBE is proving to be a larger problem than the CO2
MTBE is a groundwater pollutant. Its job as an oxygenate is to reduce CO and other emissions, and to the extent that it does its job, it will slightly increase CO2 emissions, but not in any significant way (we're talking changes in ppm concentrations here, with the "parts" being the CO and the "millions" mostly being CO2 and H2O vapor from proper combustion).

CO (carbon monoxide) pollution isn't nearly the problem in California that other emissions are. Additionally, CA gov't scientists argue that not only does ethanol increase VOC emissions which can make smog worse, but also that gasoline can now be produced that burns cleanly without relying on ethanol or MTBE. Or so I gathered from an NPR story last week.

The EPA has tons of data on their site. Problem is it can be hard to ferret out from the PDFs, especially if it is full of legalese.
 
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Hi Dan and Tim:

___The reason RFG was mentioned is that it has higher O2 content then previous generations and Winter gasoline adds another few percent on top of that. O2 content is not burnable thus adds nothing to the mix. As O2 content is increased for Octane or winter blend, the energy content goes down using either MTBE or Ethanol. Fortunately, Insighter’s are not too concerned with higher then 85/87 Octane.

___I am just a bit concerned because my fuel economy appeared to be down as much as 10% on the higher oxygenated winter gas formulation (similar temperatures) vs. the summer blend that I am currently using here in Illinois. How is a reduction in tail pipe emissions of 2 - 3% per gallon burned going to actually help the environment when I am using upwards of 10% more fuel in gallons under the Winter gas blend?

___I guess I am looking for the magic bullet of fuel blends with low sulfur (California fuel(s) at 30 ppm or less), lower Benzene (aka Blue Planet Fuel), and yet still maintain the summer formulations throughout the year for higher fuel economy. Instead of the 18 or so different mixtures, I bet we would all save money if there were just 2 or 3 blends around the country instead? Illinois got hammered back in the summer of 2000 because a particular refinery making Chicago/Milwaukee area’s summer blend w/ Ethanol blew up and guess who paid the consequences? I believe Arizona got caught in the middle of something similar last July/August as well … And the California driver must be paying for low sulfur retrofits to all refinery’s as the cost you guys pay is nuts!

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:3pv8ck71][email protected][/email:3pv8ck71]
 

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Hi xcel-

The more I learn about Insights the more I realize how unique they are and how they are unique. I have no doubt about the validity of your observations. I do think it may be possible that particularly because of the “lean burn” feature; a small percentage drop in the available energy/Gal. of fuel could affect our cars mpg more than others, particularly for drivers like you that drive to maximize “the window”.
I dunno. Whaddaya think? :wink:
 
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Hi Dan:

___You are probably right. Having the ability to see a longer segment’s mileage in a particular range of temperature gives the Insight owners the ability to see the differences in real time vs. just about anything else that may not be effected as much? I wouldn’t have probably noticed in the Corolla given the lower fuel economy and warm air vs. colder air fuel economy would have to be deduced over 600 + miles instead of 96 with a number staring back at us in our Insight’s. This has got to effect std. ICE equipped automobiles as well but I just don’t know by how much?

___Good Luck and Thanks.

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:thrwzw3h][email protected][/email:thrwzw3h]
 

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I believe another issue you may run into with wither gas (regardless of RFG or oxygenates) is that the gas is blended with a higher percentage of volatile compounds to help cold weather starting and emissions. The volatile compounds will tend to have a lower density, hence lower energy per gallon of gas.

Several pages of good reading at:

http://www.faqs.org/faqs/autos/gasoline-faq/part1/index.html
 

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Hi xcel, Corey872-

Xcel- I’m not sure I explained my theory well. I will try again: The “lean burn” feature of the insights allows a non linear response to various variables effecting mpg. Example: Speed: If you were to graph the mpg at different speeds, there would probably be a plateau somewhere in the 50-55mph range that would represent where lean burn can be most effective. An experienced Insight driver with a sensitive right big toe such as you or Rick Reese can easily beat that number significantly by allowing speed to drop off gradually and maximize time spent in the “window”. A graph of your average mpg over mph would probably show an even higher plateau over a similar (possibly slightly broader) area. The fact that your mileage is about 50% better than mine is that you manage to stay in that window much more than I do. Anything that keeps you out of that window is going to hurt your mileage more than mine. I am proposing then that it is possible that a 1-2% decrease in available energy in fuel could possibly lead to a slight narrowing of the window. The narrow window would affect your mileage disproportionately to mine because you spend more time in there than I do.

Maybe you got all of this the first time and I didn’t “catch your drift” in your response. Maybe everyone understands this completely and you are all uttering a collective “Duh!” (After all I am the guy that was wondering for the longest time where the fourth sparkplug could possibly go.) Maybe I am still not explaining clearly. Anyway that is my theory. I’m sticking to it, and am thinking of applying to the DOE for a 16 million dollar grant to explore it. :D

Corey872- Great site! I am just beginning to check it out. It seems so clear and easy to use. I have been looking for a resource like this.
 
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Hi Dan:

___It is not often when someone’s theory grabs me by the lapels and says hey Mr., this is more then likely what is really going on! Thinking outside the box as you just did probably explained it in terms I can understand better then a quarters worth of fuel use, distance, and temperature data in a spreadsheet with the accompanying 3D graphs …

___You are probably right on or we would be seeing more bitching about this in the media. In the bigger scheme of things, it is probably too bad for me during the winter months in particular I guess :(

___Next question … Do the southern states ever use winter blend fuels as well? I will have to look that up tomorrow.

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:3lp2ld9y][email protected][/email:3lp2ld9y]
 

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xcel said:
'Do the southern states ever use winter blend fuels as well?
Seems to vary by year. See the document "Table of Winter Oxygenated Fuels Programs by State" at the link below:

http://www.epa.gov/otaq/oxygenate.htm

It lists 11 states "currently" implementing the winter oxygenation program: Texas, Colorado, Montana, Utah, Alaska, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Minnesota, Washington. I put "currently" in "quotes" because the document is dated 2001.
 
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Hi Tim:

___Thanks for the link!

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:q3pk3xhu][email protected][/email:q3pk3xhu]
 

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Hi xcel-

You are too kind. ( I hope you got the wrinkles out of your lapel!) I’ve been working on digesting Corey872’s link, (it goes slow due to the lack of chemistry digestive enzymes.) I found an item related to your first question:

http://www.faqs.org/faqs/autos/gasoline-faq/part3/

"8.1 What causes an empty fuel tank?

* The most likely reason is that your local garage switched to an oxygenated
gasoline, and the engine management system compensated for the oxygen
content, causing the fuel consumption to increase ( although the effect on
well tuned engines is only 2-4% )"

The link has lots of great tech facts. I wonder how dated info from 1996 is?
I have some dispute with his treatment of the topic concerning “Hubbert Curve” (item 4.2 page 1) but that is too far OT for here. Besides the author’s field is chemistry.
 
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