Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2007 Alternative fuels Previous Next
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Urbanoutdoors
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Username: Urbanoutdoors

Post Number: 296
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 12:04 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

http://www.metromodemedia.com/ features/AltFuels0018.aspx

So who is putting the first one in detroit? Is it feasible yet?
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Lilpup
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Username: Lilpup

Post Number: 2114
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 12:11 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

the first what? ethanol plant? corn field?

(Message edited by lilpup on May 11, 2007)
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Urbanoutdoors
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Username: Urbanoutdoors

Post Number: 298
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 12:16 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

No, strictly Alternative fuel Gas Station. The Plants are coming as we can see from the New Center investment.
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Lilpup
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Username: Lilpup

Post Number: 2115
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 12:24 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

strictly alternative - the market isn't there yet it's going to be a while UNLESS it's an unattended fuel only depot - no extra overhead cost OR the fueling aspect is a tiny part of some fast food/retail type development

gas stations are really expensive to run
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Redvetred
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Username: Redvetred

Post Number: 13
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 5:31 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There are many places to obtain alternative fuels in Southeast Michigan that have been in business for years, albeit somewhat quietly. Here's a rundown by fuel:

E-85 - 20 locations with many Meijer stores leading the way.
Natural gas - 9 locations at Meijer and MichCon sites.
Biodiesel - 5 locations in the Ann Arbor area suppled by Barron & Sons.
Hydrogen - 2 private locations in Southfield and Taylor
Propane - 20 locations at many local U-Haul sites.
Electricity - 0 locations but Detroit Edison, some businesses and a few hotels had charging stations available going back almost 100 years.
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Ordinary
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Username: Ordinary

Post Number: 211
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 8:47 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

GM has a website called www.livegreengoyellow.com It had some info on locations for E85. I don't know how up to date it is.

I have a 2002 minivan that can run on E85. Does anyone have any experience with the E85? I'd like to try it but I'm kind of afraid it might screw up my car. The owner's manual says that you have to have a certain kind of oil because the E85 is thin and can get into the crankcase. I think that's what it said.
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Detourdetroit
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Username: Detourdetroit

Post Number: 301
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 8:51 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

snickers bars
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Ordinary
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Username: Ordinary

Post Number: 212
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 9:11 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Detourdetroit,
I'm not sure what you mean.
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Lilpup
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Username: Lilpup

Post Number: 2118
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 10:21 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

snickers bars = alternative energy
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Redvetred
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Username: Redvetred

Post Number: 15
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 10:34 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ordinary,
Based on the age of your minivan, I'd be hesitant to run ethanol through the fuel system if you haven't used it before. Ethanol cleans the fuel system very well and could clog your fuel filter quickly resulting in poor performance or worst, stalling. If you really want to try ethanol, put in a new fuel filter first and have a spare ready because you don't know how dirty your fuel system is. I would check with a qualified dealer technician.

Ethanol burns cleaner (better for the environment) and you might notice improved performance which is why a number of race cars use ethanol. A big HOWEVER though: it generally costs more than gasoline unless there is a subsidy in place and you get around 15-20% less miles per gallon due to less energy content.

I won't get into the energy equation needed to produce it but ethanol makes farmers happy and those people who have invested in companies that supply seed, fertilizer and tractors. And next year is an election year.
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Lilpup
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Username: Lilpup

Post Number: 2119
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 10:40 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I've been periodically checking the E85 price at a station I pass daily - it's been running nine to ten cents per gallon below the price of 87 octane "regular" gas
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El_jimbo
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Username: El_jimbo

Post Number: 147
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 10:56 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

hmm...I have a 99 Escort. Would I basically destroy my car if I filled up with E85?
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Lilpup
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Username: Lilpup

Post Number: 2120
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 11:08 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think the first flex fuel cars were the 2000 model year. The owners manuals will say if your car is flex fuel capable.
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El_jimbo
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Username: El_jimbo

Post Number: 148
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 11:17 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Oh well. Maybe in 2010 I'll buy a Volt and then fill the tank with ethanol. That would be DOUBLY environmentally aware.
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Ordinary
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Username: Ordinary

Post Number: 213
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 11:25 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Redvetred,
Thanks for the info. I probably won't bother. I just had a new fuel filter put in and it's one of those where the guy had to lower the gas tank to get at it. I don't want to have to have them do that again.
I'm also kind of skeptical about the environmental benefits of using E85. I've read in a few places that it takes a lot of energy to produce it. Maybe I shouldn't have sold my Archer Daniels stock.

Maybe I'll blend up some snickers bars and pour 'em in the tank.
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Urbanoutdoors
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Username: Urbanoutdoors

Post Number: 300
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 12:25 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

So everyone heard we are supposed to boycott gas on May 15th! It jumped 15 cents over night I just payed 3.29! CRAZY....
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Ndavies
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Username: Ndavies

Post Number: 2607
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 12:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Boycotting fuel on one day won't do shit. The fuel companies will just snicker since they know you'll have to buy it either the day before or the day after. Stop driving if you really want to have any effect on the price of fuel.

I will be buying fuel on the 15th since I'd assume fuel will jump in price on the 16th due to the extra left over demand from the day before.
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Danindc
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Username: Danindc

Post Number: 2463
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 12:49 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'd like to pose an honest question to any ethanol proponents. What happens when enough people start using ethanol that there isn't any corn left to eat?

The easiest way to deal with "high" gas prices? Boycott gasoline entirely, or at least reduce the amount of driving you do.
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Lilpup
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Username: Lilpup

Post Number: 2121
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 1:13 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

ethanol can be made from a lot more than just corn
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Mbr
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Username: Mbr

Post Number: 143
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 1:22 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Half of the corn we produce is for animal feed. If we stop eating animals the problem is easily solved.
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Redvetred
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Username: Redvetred

Post Number: 17
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 1:39 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ordinary,
You're welcome. Don't discount using a very small amount of ethanol soon in all gasoline. As an oxygenator, ethanol replaced MTBE which was classified as carcinogenic in California. Ethanol is not. It's just corn liquor - moonshine.

Yes, you might have sold ADM too soon - up from 32 to 36 since January 1; Terra Nitrogen (fertilizer) is up from 32 to 94 this year and John Deere (tractors) is up 30 points too.
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Mbr
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Username: Mbr

Post Number: 144
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 2:08 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Here's a link regarding my previous claim of 50% of our corn being produced for animal feed. Also, if we cut down on High Fructose Corn Syrup like we should and use natural sugar we can take a huge chunk of that corn demand away, more than enough to make room for ethanol.

http://www.ncga.com/WorldOfCor n/main/consumption1.asp
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3rdworldcity
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Username: 3rdworldcity

Post Number: 629
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 3:16 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Here we go again. First, my main business is the production of crude oil and stripped natural gas in north TX. Obviously, I follow the topic with great interest.

Bush says, correctly, that the country is "addicted to oil." He views the addiction as primarily one negatively impacting our balance of payments deficit, one that has made us the largest debtor nation on the planet, and one which in not too many years will be a second or third world-type country. I don't think Bush views the problem as impacting the so-called "global warming" problem, and rightly so.

Bush's response to this addiction, shared by most of you and every president since Carter, is the development of "alternative fuels."

As an oil producer, I'm thrilled with his approach because it's a pie-in-the-sky solution which will never meaningfully diminish the reduction of crude oil use, thereby maintaining high oil prices for a very long time.

As a citizen, one concerned for my grandchildren's well being, I'm appalled at his reliance on alternative energy to solve the country's reliance on crude oil, that is, imported crude oil (over 60% of our consumption.)

Ethanol: The adverse impact of corn-based ethanol production on across the board food costs is beginning to be felt already even though the "movement" is in its infancy. Cereal costs are up. Animal feed costs are up and therefore meat products are now more expensive.

If 100% of corn produced in the country were converted to ethanol production, it would satisfy 20% of auto fuel consumption.

Remember, Congress' imposition of ethanol use as a percentage of auto fuel was a thinly disguised farm subsidy. It's gone from bad to worse. Every gallon of Ethanol costs us $.54 or more of our tax dollars and is rising. Ethanol results in 20% less milage per gallon than gasoline (add that into the cost factor.) Ethanol cannot be transported by pipeline or conventional tanker trucks; it must be pressurized at all times. Therefor, its production must be done in many smaller "refineries," close to corn growing areas, AND consumption points. The cost of moving the corn to the refinery and the cost of moving the ethanol in pressurized tankers to distribution points, further increase its cost disadvantages over gasoline which is generally refined in 400,000 bbl per day refineries and shipped long distances very economically by pipeline. And, there now appears to be growing concern that ethanol emissions may be more harmful that gasoline exhaust. When the full cost of ethanol becomes generally known, consumers will rebel. And even proponents of ethanol are beginning to acknowledge that large scale production of corn based ethanol is not going to be possible and if its use is to be increased it will have to be made from other sources (at a much higher cost than corn) or imported from Brazil where it's been produced for years from non-corn stock (Congress is already being lobbied to put a tarrif on imported Brazilian ethanol.) Finally the cost to actually convert corn to ethanol takes more energy than results from the process. Doomed to failure.

Electric cars. Where does electricity come from? Coal and natural gas fired generating plants.

Hydrogen: manufactured commercially from natural gas.

Propane: Last year we "stripped" about 800,000+ gallons of propane from natural gas we produce. Last year I bought 4 new Silverado p/up trucks for our field people and we decided to convert one of them to propane. We then after analyzing the idea decided not to as it was totally uneconomical. Our fuel costs at the time would have been $1.05/gal, (what we were getting paid for it) and the difference between that cost and gasoline would have taken more than 4 years to recapture the $6,500 conversion cost. Our trucks last about 3 years. And even w/ modern propane fuel technology, the people in TX I know who have converted claim that propane use (while being clean burning and extends engine life by a factor of years) is very annoying because engine performance is adversly affected by climate and other factors, and acceleration is sometimes dangerously slow.

Global warming. A very interesting topic. Talk with geologists. The planet has undergone dramatic climate changes for millions of years. 13,000 years ago what is now SE MI was under a half mile of glacial ice. If it weren't for the period of global warming that started 11,500 years ago ( and is continuing as we speak) we wouldn't be here today. The period of global warming we're in now will inexorably continue for 1000 +/- years regardless of any level of human activity. If we implement every possible way to slow gw we may end the period of gw by only a hundred years or more before the next period of global cooling and glaciation commences.

Everyone talks about glaciers receding. They are in some places in AK and in others are not. I've been to AK many times and have hiked across several glaciers. The Exit glacier in Seward, for example, has receded about 8 miles, mostly since 1880, well before human activity could have been even an arguable cause. A major glacier (can't remember the name) in the Wrangel-St. Elias National Park near Kennecott has receded even more since 1870.

The major so-called adverse changes resulting from gw are just simply Mother Nature at work, only very slightly affected by human conduct, and not enough to justify the destabilization of national economies and standards of living.

I've been a member of the Sierra Club for many years, However, it has strayed far from its original purposes and as a non-profit, it's hard to justify Carl Pope's (the director) $600,000 per years salary. It's just another lobbyist, supported in part by many smallish independent oil producers like me who believe that the exploitation of our remaining oil resources in ANWR and high potential off-shore areas now off limits, will remain undeveloped as a result of environmentalists; do you think I want more oil coming into the country, thereby diminishing my income. I'm patriotic but not that patriotic.
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El_jimbo
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Username: El_jimbo

Post Number: 150
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 3:58 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

3rd world city,

Would the electric car be a more viable option if the US created more of its electrical energy from nuclear power or renewable energies like hydroelectric, solar, and wind power?
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3rdworldcity
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Username: 3rdworldcity

Post Number: 631
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 5:09 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Sure. We should be building nuclear power plants as quickly as we can. France is light years ahead of the U.S. and has a far more practical, realistic energy policy than we do. A high percentage of its electricity is nuclear generated. And very safely, at that. I'd love to see more nuclear power in this country, provided the savings are passed on to consumers. My TX electricity costs are in the $80,000/month range, and as a result of corruption and politics among the most costly in the country.

Hydroelectric power has been exploited pretty thoroughly where possible and is a cheap source of power.

I know a guy who has invested vast amounts of money in wind generated electricity (wind farms) and because the process is limited to a few geographical areas (long periods of sustained wind), generally far from the ultimate consumer (except in several parts of CA). I have been told that the economics don't justify its widespread use.

The solution to getting out from the burden of imported oil is simple and should be the keystone of our energy policy is the exploitation of our shale oil resources in 3 or 4 western states, reserves of almost a trillion bbls of economically recovered oil. Thats more that all of the OPEC reserves. That's primarily a mining operation however; the shale is strip mined, hauled to crushers, heated so the kerogen is released in the form of oil, which is then refined. Last I heard the cost would be about $30.00 per bbl. on a large scale basis. We could decrease our dependance on foreign oil by several million bbls/day. We're currently importing over a million bbls/day of oil from Canada's tar sands (a similar mining process.) Fat chance of the environmental lobbyists permitting that.

The U.S. is going to end up broke before long but we'll lead the planet in the number of spotted owls.

(Message edited by 3rdworldcity on May 11, 2007)
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Lilpup
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Username: Lilpup

Post Number: 2122
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 5:25 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

lol, biased much?
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3rdworldcity
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Username: 3rdworldcity

Post Number: 633
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 5:40 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hey, Lilpup, I've pretty clearly stated that what the country should be doing is not in my personal best interests and what it fails to do benefits me greatly. I wouldn't call that bias. I'd call it honesty. However, bias is not necessarily a bad thing. Bias (one views) is bad only when those views have no rational foundation. (There's probably a better definition.)

People vote their pocketbooks, not necessarily a good thing.

(Message edited by 3rdworldcity on May 11, 2007)
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Lilpup
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Username: Lilpup

Post Number: 2124
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 9:19 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

So you, who are involved in domestic oil production, wouldn't benefit from the use of strip mined domestic oil shale?

btw - there is minimal hydroelectric power generation in Michigan, and the untapped potential for wind energy here is enormous

and we're an agriculture state, so locally produced ethanol looks pretty damned good - tie it in with wind, solar, hydro power sources and it just looks that much better
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3rdworldcity
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Username: 3rdworldcity

Post Number: 636
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 10:47 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Lilpup: You don't understand. The more oil that comes into this country from any source including domestically - that is, increased supply -- reduces prices. So although it would be great for the country to develop its shale oil resources, it would hurt me. Currently, oil producers profit from very high demand and relativley diminished supply. OPEC and Saudi in particular has for years been overstating their excess production capacity until they found out they did not have any and has seen its influence over oil prices diminished quite a bit. Saudi is desperatley trying to regain excess capacity ability. As I posted on another thread recently, the OPEC countries announced last week they intend to spend $20.2 TRILLION in the next 25 years to be able to keep up with and hopefully exceed demand.

Have the importation of foreign cars and the growth of foreign car production in the U.S. helped the former Big 3? I want to see more oil coming into the country as GM wants to see more Toyotas.

Just where is there ANY commercial hydroelectric capacity in MI?

Did you read or comprehend at all my comments re: ethanol? Sure MI has got great ability to produce ethanol. So what? It's way too expensive and continuing w/ corn based ethanol production will raise food prices astronomically. Even ethanol's greatest cheerleaders are beginning to admit that. But, continue to be a true believer if it makes you feel better.

Why is it that there is no commercial wind generation or solar energy production in MI? BECAUSE THEY WON'T WORK HERE!!!!!
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Ccbatson
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Username: Ccbatson

Post Number: 505
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 10:57 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

When using E85 (in compliant vehicles) MPG goes down 30-50%...therefore costs are artificially low estimates by the same amount. That is with tax breaks and subsidies. Realistically, the price of Petrol would have to be north of $5.50 a gallon in order to have E85 make economic sense (WITH subsidies)
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Lilpup
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Username: Lilpup

Post Number: 2126
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 11:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

Why is it that there is no commercial wind generation or solar energy production in MI? BECAUSE THEY WON'T WORK HERE!!!!!



Um, yeah, they DO work here, they just haven't been pursued very much - Mackinaw City and Traverse City both have commercial wind power generators and studies have shown that utility scale wind power is available, especially on the western side of the state.

Commercial solar really isn't necessary - small scale solar works fine, as is demonstrated by all the solar panels popping up on freeway signs and in other places.

The pump price of ethanol is less than gasoline right now, and the ethanol industry is still dealing with start-up costs. Once more plants are online and capacity is achieved the price will come down. Furthermore you can whine about subsidies all you want, but nothing matches the cost of having to send armed forces to the Middle East to protect our 'interests'.
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Ccbatson
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Username: Ccbatson

Post Number: 512
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 12:13 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Subsidies and tax breaks that ultimately get payed for by the taxpayers is what allows E85 per gallon price to be low. It is akin to paying the per gallon price at the pump from your left pocket, and the subsidization cost from your right. In the end you end up paying the whole bill, you just don't realize it at the pump.

Plus E85 is, and will be 30-50% less effeicient (20MPG on Petrol is 12MPg with E85).
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Lilpup
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Username: Lilpup

Post Number: 2127
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 12:25 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

as if gasoline costs nothing more than pump price
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Ccbatson
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Username: Ccbatson

Post Number: 515
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 12:28 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Also true, but state determined averaging 50 cents a gallon, way lower than the manipulations in favor of pushing E85.
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Fishtoes2000
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Username: Fishtoes2000

Post Number: 204
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 12:45 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Chalk it up to an "honest" mistake when discounting alternative fuels while failing to mention IMHO the most promising one: biodiesel.

quote:

Why is it that there is no commercial wind generation or solar energy production in MI? BECAUSE THEY WON'T WORK HERE!!!!!


Really? Did they recently take down those modern wind turbines in Mackinaw City?

According to a report on the US Fish and Wildlife web site: "The State of Michigan possesses significant wind resources, especially within its boundaries over the Great Lakes. These resources, combined with recent offshore wind energy successes in Europe, have encouraged this preliminary assessment of the potential for offshore wind energy development in Michigan and the Great Lakes. Wind energy technology has improved significantly over the last few decades and commercial offshore turbines are now approaching 3.6 megawatts (MW) in capacity. Technological advancements combined with government incentives have made wind energy fully cost-competitive with traditional sources of electricity. The advantages of offshore wind in Michigan include higher average wind speeds compared to onshore sites, proximity to population centers and grid connections, at least somewhat mitigated aesthetic and noise concerns, and the ability to transport and deliver very large pieces of wind energy equipment using a well-established water transportation infrastructure."
http://www.fws.gov/Midwest/eco _serv/wind/references/Michigan OffshoreRpt.pdf
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Redvetred
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Username: Redvetred

Post Number: 18
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 5:48 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What were these people smoking to propose putting wind generators in the Great Lakes? We are trying to protect our freshwater resources not install structures in them. I can just see a drunken boater running into one and becoming sushi. What headlines in the local papers!! Fortunately, the report says there is "little interest". Next, they will probably fund a study to use the tides in the Great Lakes to generate power. Let's all slow the flow of the Detroit River.

The report also states that: "combined with government incentives have made wind energy fully cost-competitive". Of course, anything can be competitive with enough government incentives. It's been more than 30 years of incentives and the technology is still not cost competitive and "3.6 megawatts (MW) in capacity" is not very much considering one power plant typically generates 750 MW. Yes, studies have shown that there are a few locations along the Lake Michigan shoreline which have enough wind but not thousands of megawatts.

No one fuel will supplant petroleum use but Biodiesel could help as one tool in a portfolio of alternatives to reduce increased usage. With proper additives, B10 and B20 (10% and 20% biodiesel) even work OK in cold Michigan winters. Proper additives are key, though, or your get waxing which plugs the fuel lines. If you have a diesel engine, it's worth trying and, yes, sometimes it does smell like french fries, it is cleaner and cleans the fuel system.
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Peachlaser
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Username: Peachlaser

Post Number: 83
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 9:37 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I agree with Lilpup. You can not simply forget $100 billion a year being spent in the Middle East in support of our oil interests when calculating costs of different energy sources. Opponents of alternative energies always talk about government subsidies for the alternative programs but never include the cost of the Iraq War in the equation when calculating their costs. I do not think there is a single magic solution, but it will be made up multiple new technologies.

The primary motivator will be to decrease consumption and increase efficiency. The past has shown that most Americans will not do this on their own without either incentives or penalties. When given the choice between a big SUV, truck or efficient vehicle, most Americans have gone for the most-inefficient choices.

I think that gasoline taxes should be directly tied to the cost of Middle Eastern wars so that a true cost of the product can be seen. In the American way, if you have $300 to fill up, go ahead, but if you don't, you find either a more efficient vehicle or you do not drive as much as you did before. Driving down demand is going to be the only way to make prices go down.

As for patriotism, I think it is much more patriotic to purchase and drive efficient vehicles that do not increase the imbalance of our trade than drive big in-efficient vehicles that reward foreign countries that are trying to kill us. Efficiency is Patriotic!
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3rdworldcity
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Username: 3rdworldcity

Post Number: 638
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 10:06 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Marquette also has a central steam system which is largely paid for by the taxpayers, but that's no problem because all benefit. I was not aware that Marquette still has wind generated power. The last I heard was that it was too expensive and was to be discontinued.

Do you remember the hullabaloo a couple of years ago when the proposal was floated to put wind turbines off Martha's Vinyeard, and Teddy Kennedy and a slew of other liberals howled like hell because of the alleged environmental /visual damage even though studies showed that it would be hughly economically successful. The were rightly accused of hypocracy. Those studies, mostly governmentally sponsored, claimed that the area off Martha's Vinyard was the best place in the country for massive wind energy production.

However, a year or so later a friend of mine who was going to be an investor in the deal showed me a comprehensive study they commissioned which showed that only under the best of circumstances it would be a very marginally profitable deal (even w/ all the tax incentives). Very sophisticated people. That idea was quickly dropped.

Another friend, who has a large ownership interest in a wind farm in TX and owns almost 100,000 acres of "wind rights" in Kansas and OK tells me it's a lousy business.

Redvetred is possibly correct about biodiesel. I recently posted on another thread that according to the Oil & Gas Journal a week or so ago, it was reported that Marathon is going to spend $3.3 billion to expand its LA refinery for the purpose of increasing it diesel fuel production capacity. Its studies apparently show that by 2020 diesel fuel usage will surpass gasoline consumption. That presupposes that car manufacturers will have accelerated diesel engine technology to the point where the benefits of diesel will justify mass usage in cars. It's not unreasonable to expect that biodiesel will be a factor. Ask Willie.

Redvetred, you make some excellent points.

(Message edited by 3rdworldcity on May 12, 2007)
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Peachlaser
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Username: Peachlaser

Post Number: 84
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 10:38 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Diesel is coming on strong. In the ALMS, Audi is racing with a V-12 twin turbo diesel. It is quiet, fast, powerful and does not smell when it comes by. Its maximum torque is at idle and then carries this huge torque throughout the powerband.

I did see it blow smoke one time though. Don't know if it was a fluke or not.

I have a question. I once heard that diesel has a higher energy component than refined gasoline and that if you were charging for this 'energy-per-liter' then diesel would be more expensive than refined gasoline. It seems that the savings in cost is because you do not have to pay for the extra refining. Is this correct?
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3rdworldcity
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Username: 3rdworldcity

Post Number: 639
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 12:18 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Personally, I don't know the answer to that question. However, a wealth of info about these topics (from an industry point of view) is the American Petrolium Institute. Go to http://www.api.org/

I checked the site to find the answer to your question, but didn't spend the time to get it if it's there. I did see some info on the new diesel fuel standards that are being implemented by the EPA (Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel) that must be implemented soon, and the cost of diesel fuel is sure to increase.

That site addresses many of the topics of interest on this thread.
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Mikeg
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Username: Mikeg

Post Number: 842
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 2:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Energy content (measured in British Thermal Units - Btu) of different fuels:

1 gallon of ethanol = 83,333 Btu
1 gallon of E85 blend = 89,000 to 98,000 Btu
1 gallon of gasoline = 124,000 Btu
1 gallon of diesel fuel = 139,000 Btu

The crude oil refining process results in a spectrum of hydrocarbon products each having a different density. You cannot adjust the refining process to turn out let's say, 100% light products like gasoline or 100% heavy products like diesel. The basic refining process can be adjusted only across a fairly narrow range to yield more lighter products at the expense of other heavier products (and vice versa).

The selling price of diesel, just like that of gasoline, is determined by both the supply and demand that exist at the moment and can be expected to be at least as much as the cost to produce (refine) it. The cost to refine a petroleum-based product is a separate issue, but it would stand to reason that if heavy products like diesel do not need extra steps to increase yields (like the catalytic cracking performed to squeeze out more gasoline), its cost to produce should be lower than that of gasoline.
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Ccbatson
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Username: Ccbatson

Post Number: 517
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 11:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Diesel and biodiesel are likely the most promising alternates as far as fuel goes. However, unlike E85, it is not "backwardly compatible". New vehicle purchases are required along with infrastructure changes and performance compromises (I know there are diesel race cars recently being shown off, but....in the real world...). They are also still noisy and smelly (but better than they used to be).
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Peachlaser
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Username: Peachlaser

Post Number: 85
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 8:36 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Is it correct to say that raw crude is refined and you may get three products out of the process? Refiners then sell the three different products and charge for the refining process for each. Is it similar to processing wheat and removing the wheat germ and husks and then the processors sell 'white' wheat, wheat germ and fiber. With these, they have three products from one source, charge for all three products and charge for the process of processing each. If you want all the benefits, you buy whole wheat. So, diesel is the 'whole wheat' of the fuels? Less refining, more energy per liter and closer to its 'crude' beginnings.

As for alternative fuels, my dream has always been to have a system that generates hydrogen using low-cost or 'free' sources. It can be a low-capacity system using solar or wind to create a small amount of hydrogen during the day. Then at night, refuel. I have always heard that hydrogen requires more energy to produce than is generated. If the energy source is solar or wind, then the costs are negligible once the initial investment is made. If you produce more electricity than needed, sell it back to the grid. If the solar or wind do not produce what you need, then you use electricity as a backup. Small and safe energy production modules such as this would be similar to Henry Ford putting a 'self-contained' powerplant into the automobile.

The same for ethanol. The energy being used to produce it should also be alternative. If not, you are just converting energy and using energy in the process rather than using a renewable resource in production.
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Mikeg
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Username: Mikeg

Post Number: 843
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Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 10:46 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

So, diesel is the 'whole wheat' of the fuels? Less refining, more energy per liter and closer to its 'crude' beginnings.



Your analogy to wheat is a poor one since the crude oil refinery products are not as interchangeable to the consumer's engine as the milled wheat products can be to the consumer's recipe or stomach. Nor is the milling process of wheat analogous to the refining process of crude oil into petroleum products. Crude oil is heated and the many valuable petroleum products are distilled off at their inherent condensation temperatures. The non-distilled, residual refinery products are less commercially valuable since they are thick and are typically sold as bunker fuel for ships.

It doesn't matter how inexpensive diesel might be to produce - as long as demand for diesel fuel and home heating oil (they come from the refinery's same distillation output stream) meets or exceeds supply - the selling price is set by the market, not by its production costs.

In the olden days, diesel fuel and home heating oil were pretty much interchangeable, but not any more. As of this June 1st, all diesel fuel sold in the US must meet the Federal EPA's Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel (ULSD) standard, which limits the sulphur content to less than 15 parts per million in the diesel fuel used in all on-highway vehicles (and <500 ppm for use in off-road engines, except in CA, which has the same <15 ppm standard for all engine usages). The purpose of this regulation is to reduce nitrous oxide (NOx) and particulate matter emissions to the atmosphere. ULSD can be used in all existing diesel engines but the ULSD regulation is being implemented in conjunction with Federal EPA regulations requiring that all Model Year 2007 and beyond on-highway vehicles with diesel engines must include high-efficiency catalytic exhaust emission control devices (which would be rendered useless if fuel with higher than 15 ppm sulphur is burned in the engine).

Additional refining steps are required to reduce the sulphur content and the resulting product has
  • less aromatics content, which reduces the energy content by ~1% and increases the cetane number (which reduces the ignition quality)
  • less natural lubricity since the extra processing also removes naturally-occurring lubricity agents.

Therefore, ULSD must have even more additives included to make up for what is lost in the extra refining steps before it can be sold.

ULSD fuel does cost more to refine and distribute than the previously-produced Low Sulfur Diesel fuel. Because of ULSD's additional refining steps and additives (which change by the season), it is also subject to more of the same refinery and distribution constraints as the EPA-mandated reformulated gasolines, which cause price spikes when capacity is less than demand.
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Sturge
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Username: Sturge

Post Number: 2
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 11:10 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

------------------------------ -------
Global warming. A very interesting topic. Talk with geologists. The planet has undergone dramatic climate changes for millions of years. 13,000 years ago what is now SE MI was under a half mile of glacial ice. If it weren't for the period of global warming that started 11,500 years ago ( and is continuing as we speak) we wouldn't be here today. The period of global warming we're in now will inexorably continue for 1000 +/- years regardless of any level of human activity. If we implement every possible way to slow gw we may end the period of gw by only a hundred years or more before the next period of global cooling and glaciation commences.
------------------------------ --------------

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
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Mikeg
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Username: Mikeg

Post Number: 845
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 12:06 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I would say that, "It is difficult to get a man to understand scientific issues once they have become heavily politicized."

"ERAU professor seeks balance in global warming debate":

James Wanliss, a space physicist who teaches at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, showed students the two films in an honors course titled "The Politics and Science of Fear" because he said more and more the public is being sold one side of an issue with many dimensions. "I fear that attempts are being made to purposefully subvert the public understanding of the nature of science in order to achieve political goals," he wrote in an e-mail. "Science is not about consensus....

John Olivero, professor and chairman of the [Embry-Riddle] department of physical science -- allowed that skepticism is an essential tool of the scientific method. "Science lives with internal conflict all the time," Olivero said. "Part of what we have to do is continually challenge each other...."


(Message edited by Mikeg on May 13, 2007)
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Sturge
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Username: Sturge

Post Number: 4
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 12:17 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

... and nothing will ever be done about it. So I guess we'll just have to wait and see who is right. For the sake of our future, I hope he's right, but that's a big gamble.
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3rdworldcity
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Username: 3rdworldcity

Post Number: 640
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 12:46 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Sturge: You state "(It)is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."

First, I don't get a "salary." My income, however, is not at all dependent on whatever my view of global warming may be. The fact is that the continuing focus by people like you on a quixotic view of the issue rather than a more practical and enlightened approach to a national energy policy does tend to keep crude prices high, and therefore my pocketbook full. Think of George Costanza full.

Also, your quoted statement is basically unintelligible so I'm not sure that my response actually addresses what you are attempting to espouse.

Mikeg: Interesting article you posted. Did you notice that two persons quoted as authoritative analysts of the issue are a Professor of Sociology and a 'freshman activist" who with assumed authority worn like a cloak by such naive no-nothings states: "There is virtually no scientific debate about global warming or its cause." Ignorant as only a freshman can be.

Also, Mikeg, excellent and informative response re: the vagaries of manufacturing diesel fuel.

(Message edited by 3rdworldcity on May 13, 2007)
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Mikeg
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Username: Mikeg

Post Number: 847
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 1:37 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

3rdworldcity,

I saw those quotes from that sociology professor and freshman "activist", neither of whom were from ERAU. Apparently, the writer contacted them because he felt compelled to provide some kind of "balance" against the comments from the space physicist and the professor of physical science at ERAU. Apparently Al Gore was unavailable for comment....
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Sturge
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Username: Sturge

Post Number: 5
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 2:00 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

LOL. Thats a quote from Upton Sinclair.

In case you have no clue who he is:
Upton Beall Sinclair Jr. (September 20, 1878 November 25, 1968), was a prolific American author who wrote over 90 books in many genres and was widely considered to be one of the best investigative journalists of his era. He gained particular fame for his novel, The Jungle (1906), which dealt with conditions in the U.S. meat packing industry and caused a public uproar that partly contributed to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act in 1906.

Funny you think a quote from one of America's premeir novelists as "unintelligible". You have no credibility.
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Sturge
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Username: Sturge

Post Number: 6
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 2:08 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Anyhow, as I said, nothing will ever be done. We'll see who is right. I pray you are right.
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3rdworldcity
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Username: 3rdworldcity

Post Number: 644
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 8:27 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Actually, I'm quite familiar w/ Sinclair as I was an English major and his works, especially his social muckraking ones, were popular in the '50's.I confess I was not familiar with his quote, which you used w/o attribution.

And, as a matter of fact, many considered his later works in many ways unintelligible. Sinclair himself felt the public never really understood "The Jungle" and got the wrong message he was trying to convey. Check it out.

Finally, your entire post # 5 above was copied verbatim from Wikipedia, again, without attribution. The folks can decide who's credible.
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Ccbatson
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Username: Ccbatson

Post Number: 523
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 9:08 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Many unrelated issues are getting mixed in this discussion that should not. Most strikingly is GW and alternative fuels. GW in the form of man made (or even influenced by man) as described by Al Gore is pure nonsense. Even if he were correct (he is not), it would have little to do with alternative fuels as the produce the biproducts he blames for GW in roughly the same amounts once you take into account all of the processes required to arrive at the final consumable form of these fuels.
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Sturge
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Username: Sturge

Post Number: 7
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Monday, May 14, 2007 - 1:02 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My apologies for not citing my sources. I didn't think to do it and didn't mean to try and take credit for it.

I'll just have to agree to disagree.
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3rdworldcity
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Username: 3rdworldcity

Post Number: 645
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Monday, May 14, 2007 - 9:05 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Fair enough.

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