Thursday, July 31, 2008

E85 prices coming down with gasoline

Meijer has E85 at $3.22 as of yesterday afternoon.

I've seen a number of no-name gas stations in Hammond, Indiana with gas at $3.65.

So it appears that the huge drop in crude oil prices in the last couple of weeks is translating into cuts in gasoline AND E85 prices.

My spreadsheet says that E85 should cost $2.68 a gallon.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

CEL turned off itself

I was successful in getting the CEL to turn off by itself. Gassed up with the tank at ~32% ethanol, and within a few drive cycles, it was off. I had a long run up to O'Hare (about 50 miles each way for me) and that did the trick.

This is yet another confirmation that 30% is a safe limit for the amount of ethanol this car can run without fear of a CEL.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What SHOULD E85 Cost? 7/22 edition

I just re-ran my spreadsheet.

As the price of oil has plunged, so has ethanol on the CBOT and unleaded on the NYMEX.

How does $2.63 sound?

A lot better than $3.46!

Meijer is SUCH a ripoff. I with Family Express would build a station on Indianapolis right by the Bohrman. Even they're making money at $2.99 a gallon.

Lucky tank #13

I filled up at Meijer yesterday afternoon. Here are the stats:

Price E85: $3.46 a gallon
Price 87 Octane gas: $3.96 a gallon

Gallons E85: 4.513
Gallons 87 Octane: 10.036
Gallons left from tank #12 (@~37.670%% ethanol): 1.851

I'm assuming that the E85 is 79% ethanol, 100 octane.

Ethanol content of tank #13: 32.12%%
Octane of tank #13: 91.167

32% ethanol is a level that I know the ECU can handle without a CEL. The only question is, will the CEL clear by itself, or do I need to disconnect the battery again? I'm going to just drive it and see if it goes away.

It's a little hard to say exactly because the dealer reset the mileage, but I think that tank 13 finished with a mileage of 24.2. Average speed was 31 mph.

Once again, shortly after I filled up, Meijer dropped the price of E85 by 10 cents a gallon! D'oh! My timing is impeccible.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Disaster Strikes!

I brought my car to the dealer on Friday for its 10k miles service. When I got the car back, I noticed that they had reset everything, indicating that they had the battery disconnected.

One thing that having the battery disconnected does is reset the ECU. Everything that the ECU "learned" about running on E85 (short term and long term fuel trims, in particular) was lost.

Seeing as I was running at 38% ethanol, I was worried that I'd get a CEL.

Well, on the way to work today, I got one!

Damn! This is a setback. Luckily, I'm within a day or so of a new tank. But I'll have to back off the ethanol content down to 30%. This is going to set me back weeks.

On the positive side, this shows that the ECU can adapt to higher ethanol content as long as you increase the ethanol slowly and give it time to learn and adapt.

Also, I think that this shows that the CEL is set when the difference between STFT and LTFT becomes too great. Again, by slowly increasing the amount of ethanol in the tank, you can overcome this problem.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


The afternoon after I bought E85 the price was 5 cents per gallon less.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tank #12

I filled up at Meijer this morning. Here are the stats:

Price E85: $3.74 a gallon (YIKES!)
Price 87 Octane gas: $4.24 a gallon

Gallons E85: 5.998
Gallons 87 Octane: 9.004
Gallons left from tank #11 (@~38.501% ethanol): 1.398

I'm assuming that the E85 is 79% ethanol, 100 octane.

Ethanol content of tank #12: 37.670%
Octane of tank #12: 92.222

Tank 11 finished with a mileage of 24.2. Average speed was 31 mph.

Price of E85 is insane. I'm pretty sure that this is the most I've ever paid for it. Come on, Meijer, give us a break! My spreadsheet is still showing that E85 should be about $3.10 or so.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Close to a new tank...

...gas gauge light went on this morning.

I'm in a bit of a quandry. I need to take the car in for an oil change and the 10k mile service. I don't want a CEL going off before I go in, so I probably won't be increasing the amount of E85 in the tank on this next fillup. If anything, I should probably back off a bit.

That stinks!

Also, my appointment at the dealer isn't until the 18th. I might have ANOTHER tank by then. That would be two "wasted" tanks!

Dillemas, dillemas.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Still an idiot

Sorry, I keep cross posting items from my other blog, mistakenly.

I'd like to keep the local politics and the E85 separate!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Comment on new train station in Gary

Commenter g has an awesome comment on the proposed station in Gary:

There is already a train station in Gary that hasn't created development. Same thing as the Genesis Center and Rail Cats' stadium. I don't think the sweetheart deals for the Bennigan's and new strip center across the street are nothing more than public funds used for private gains.

This is a terrible idea being pushed by the contractors in the "Gateway Group" and the politicians they can buy.

How does it possibly help Gary to remove the train station in Miller? That is their tax base and to make it even less attractive to live in would be a disaster.

Just raise the platforms at Miller and downtown Gary like NICTD has already done in recent years for all the other stations (at least from OD/Portage to Chicago) and the "travel time" problem will be solved.

Besides, $120M for a new station that hardly anyone will use and is reported to be only 60K SF is just a mind-boggling number at $2,000/sf. Sure, the rail elements might be expensive, but this has ridiculous profits built in for the contractors to pay their cronies. Just like the Rail Cats' stadium cost and the cost to build the new strip center across the street, THIS WILL JUST BE MORE OF THE SAME THIEVERY OF TAXPAYERS FOR PRIVATE GAINS.

Sorry for the rant, but this is preposterous an so many levels.

At the Railcats stadium, someone said that it cost $54 million to build that stadium, which works out to be $10,000 per seat. That's more costly than New Yankee Stadium in the Bronx!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I'm an idiot.

Obviously that last post was meant for my other blog.

Lake County Solid Waste Board sends "educators" on junkets

How would you like to go to Put-in-bay on taxpayer expense?

While many Hoosiers are curbing their travel plans due to high costs of living, three district employees and a contractor will again use taxpayer dollars to attend a weekend retreat to plan recycling programs for the upcoming year.

In the past two years, these county employees have billed the district more than $5,000 for room and board at some posh locales.

In August, the educators used property tax revenue from the agency's travel budget to stay at the Ahoy Bed & Breakfast in the town of Put-In-Bay, Ohio. Located on South Bass Island in Lake Erie, Put-In-Bay bills itself as "the Key West of the North" on a municipal Web site.

In August 2006, the retreat was based at the New Buffalo Inn & Spa in New Buffalo, Mich.

Waste Management Executive Director Jeff Langbehn said the educators "basically lock themselves in their rooms and work 12-hour days" during the annual August retreats.

Besides the three educators, taxpayers also pay travel costs each year for Diane Thurber, a former Solid Waste district official who Langbehn says has unmatched recycling educational expertise.

Solid Waste has an annual travel budget of about $15,000.

Lake County Commissioner Gerry Scheub, a member of the Solid Waste Management District board of directors, defended the trips.

"A lot of people in county government travel to Las Vegas or Hawaii, so traveling around the Midwest isn't so bad," Scheub said.

"Well, I base my position on the results," Scheub said. "We have the best Solid Waste district in the state, it does very positive work."

Scheub is an idiot, and one who is up for re-election in November. Defense of this obvious waste should come back to haunt him.