E85 and Hybrids

Discussion in 'Alternative Energy' started by Kevingr, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. Kevingr

    Kevingr East Central MN

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    There was a thread going on about E85 and various things related to that such as the added cost to a vehicle, the lower gas mileage etc. I'd like to respond to various aspects of using E85.

    I own a 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan that is an FFV (flex fuel vehicle) that runs on E85 or straight gas. I purchased the vehicle new in 1999 and now have about 100,000 miles on it, maybe 40,000 of that has been on E85. When I purchased the van it didn't cost anymore than a vehicle that didn't run on E85. I change the oil every 4000-5000 miles and I do NOT use the oil that Dodge recommends for using E85. I have had absolutely no problems with this vehicle, other than the usual brakes and tires. I do all the recommended service such as tune ups and filter changes. My mileage does go down into the low 20's from the mid 20's for combined city/hwy driving. I live about 15 miles out of a small town and 70 miles from a major city. We drive a lot, but it's never just city or just hwy. When gas was $3.00 a gallon here I was buying E85 at $2.55, now they are about the same. The only reason I don't use it all the time is availability.

    I also own a 2005 Toyota Prius hybrid. I average 40 miles to the gallon with that car between summer and winter driving. Winter driving really lowers the mpg. I'm happy to get 35mpg in the winter and 45mpg in the summer.

    The reason I have these cars is to use less oil and save on emmissions. I feel that for those of us who can afford to purchase the higher priced Prius or use the E85 that costs the same as gas but gives us less mileage, is the right thing to do. Eventually the price of Hybrids will come down, and more E85 will be available. But somebody has to buy the cars and buy the E85, eventually things will balance out, plus it will pave the way for more and different technologies. At least that's what I hope I'm doing. :)
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Glad to hear the reliablility is there, it was the one thing I worry about. Save a little on fuel and spend twice the savings back into parts and service!! I guess E85 is an American thing and I'm guessing its ethanol. We can buy blended ethanol that is supposed to burn cleaner and it's my preference as it does make (every vehicle I've tried) run smoother, and chainsaws etc. start just a bit quicker.
     

  3. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    Only a few things will change the "gas guzzling" mentality of North American drivers :
    - the price of fuel skyrockets
    - the government provides incentives for those who choose efficient vehicles - in effect, penalizing those who choose gas guzzlers

    More or different technologies would be nice, but not required - the technology is already there to easily get 60+ mpg in a commuter car. North Americans didn't want those cars and the automakers didn't want to build them (not enough profit on a small, low priced and fuel efficient vehicle). Japan and Europe have had many fuel efficient vehicles available for years, just by necessity... where are ours?

    A 1993 Honda Civic, Ford Festiva or Geo Metro is probably more fuel efficient than 98% of the new vehicles available in North America - which tells me that fuel efficiency is currently not our priority.

    cheers,

     
  4. SolarGary

    SolarGary Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    I like my Prius a lot on all fronts.
    19,000 miles and our grand total mileage is right at 50mpg, counting every single tank of gas -- even the ones with really bad conditions.
    As Kevin says it does do a bit worse in the winter, but still good.
    We don't do a lot of real city driving, so maybe that accounts for the somewhat better gas mileage.

    Like Kevin, I bought it to some extent just to try and support the idea of less pertroleum and less greenhouse gas, but I think the dollar saving on gas (over $1000 in the first year for us) is a good return on the extra up front cost.

    Gary
     
  5. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have a number of friends who have Prius Hybrids, from new to the first year made, and they all like them. Likewise friends that have Civic Hybrids. Also a couple of people with the Honda Insight, the 2 seater. One fellow regularly gets over 70 mpg, even on backroads driving.
    The thing that bugs me is that our 1992 Chevy Geo Prizm (toyota corolla with chevy trim) gets over 40mpg on the highway fully loaded, and our other older Hondas get 40mpg or even better on the highway (old Honda Civic VX and a HF). They were EPA rated in the low 50mpg range on the highway. My son follows a car efficiency mailing list on the web, and there are reports of 70mpg from these models of cars, from the early 1990s. Of course these are mechanically inclined car nuts trying for optimum fuel efficiency, but they are keeping good records and making an honest effort to do things to their cars that could be repeated by others to get similar results.

    Like someone said above, the auto industry does not consider fuel efficiency to be a very high priortiy.
     
  6. Esteban29304

    Esteban29304 Well-Known Member

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    Like WisJim said, There were several great little cars in the late 80's, early 90's that offered great MPG. I drive a Subaru Justy & have gotten as much as 46mpg with it. It averages 41mpg overall. The Hondas & Geo Metro that were mentioned could get a little better. Also, the Ford Festiva, & of course, diesel VW Rabbits/Golfs. Find one with low mileage, if possible, & save gas money!
    I am all for the hybrids, electrics, & other cars that can get great MPG, & also lower emissions.
     
  7. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    Wrong the automakers could make those cars but you couldn't afford them and reliability is not there. Look at any new product that comes out and you will see a class action lawsuit within a month for any little bitty problem. Don't blame the automakers blame the lawyers.

    mikell
     
  8. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    Wrong? Example : 1994 Geo/Chevy Metro XFI - 53mpg city, 58mpg highway - on gasoline. The Metro/Sprint/Firefly/Swift (joint venture between GM and Suzuki). The Suburu Justy may be in there as well????

    These cars were built from mid-late 80s to late 90s - they were very affordable and they remain extremely reliable (my family has two of them).

    Low priced and high efficiency vehicles are not made for one simple reason - not enough profit for the automakers. You only have to look to Japan or Europe to find low priced, ultra-efficient and non-hybrid vehicles - vehicles from Honda, Suzuki, Toyota and many others.

    Could GM, Ford or Chrysler manufacture a low priced, safe, reliable, 60mpg, gasoline powered vehicle? Easily. Will it be a profitable vehicle? Probably not... its difficult to hide lots of profit in a new $10,000 vehicle.

    I fail to see how lawyers and "class action lawsuits" are related to offering conventional high-efficiency automobiles - no more relevant than manufacturing any other product

    cheers,

     
  9. Kevingr

    Kevingr East Central MN

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    I'd have to agree with Janon, but I'll go back a little further. I had a 1976 Datsun B210 in college that got in the low 40's all the time. But from a practical standpoint it was pretty small. I'd have a tough time getting my family of 4 in it for an extended trip. On the other hand my little very roomy on the inside Prius handles us very well.

    If the auto makers could make a small car roomy and use every inch of space and make them practical for at least 4 people, maybe they could make money on them. At 3 bucks a gallon they should be able to make a "good" practical car for around $17,000 and have a good seller that they can make money on. The Chev Malibu is probably close to that practicality, but the mileage still isn't there.
     
  10. slowsuki1

    slowsuki1 Well-Known Member

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    if yuor worryed about the enviroment you should convert your car to propane lots cleaner burning fuel.
     
  11. Kevingr

    Kevingr East Central MN

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    Goes back to practicality. Doing the conversion and maintaining the conversion can be way beyond most people's ability. Finding places to fill up on propane would be nearly as difficult as finding a station with E85.

    But, if you could get a manufacturer to build a propane vehicle that is an FFV so I could also put gasoline in it when I couldn't find propane, I'd certainly consider it.
     
  12. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    Well... Toyota offered the gasoline powered "Echo" here in Canada, and it became extremely popular because of its low price and high fuel efficiency (manual = 35/42). I don't believe the Echo was ever offered in the U.S. Toyota now has the "Yaris" which replaces the Echo... but only in a gasoline version. The Toyota Yaris 1.4 litre diesel is not available here in Canada.

    I believe the Toyota Echo, Pontiac Vibe and Chevy Aveo may be the same car... at least powered by the same engine. ???

    cheers,
     
  13. fud2468

    fud2468 Active Member

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    The Echo definitely was sold in the US, but it was not a good seller, and was discontinued.
    Regarding hybrids--when it comes time for major repairs, one has to go to the dealer, most non-dealer shops will not be able to handle them. Also, the eventual battery replacement cost should be factored in.
    Ray Mac
     
  14. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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    Propane is a lot easier to find because of all the motorhomes that use it for cooking, heating and powering generators. Just stop at any truck stop that handles motorhomes.