There has been ethanol in gasoline for a lot longer than lots of people think. Henry Ford's first vehicle was actually powered entirely by this biofuel back in 1896. Standard Oil began using it in its fuel formulas in the 1920s that can help engine performance. It wasn't until the latter part of the twentieth century that this sustainable fuel product began to be sold commercially. The combination of rising oil costs and environmental issues has resulted in the use of this additive as a replacement for other petroleum-based ingredients that power the nation's cars.
Over the last few years, there has been a growing controversy over the accepted amount of ethanol in gasoline; trying to balance costs, environmental issues, and performance has made this a somewhat daunting task. The legal limit for gasoline-powered engines is 10 percent; some producers of this product are in the process of obtaining a waiver to enhance the permissible amount to 15 percent. This is where the conflict between producers of engines and producers of this renewable energy source is the sharpest.
Proponents of enhancing the amount of ethanol in gasoline cite the compelling argument that because this product is produced domestically, enhancing its usage would help decrease dependence on foreign fuel supplies. As the industry grows, the number of American jobs that would result would also enhance. Lastly, because this renewable energy source is less environmentally harmful than its petroleum counterparts, the overall high quality of life both within the country and elsewhere might be improved.
The arguments of opponents are also compelling. Producers point out that the much lower energy content of these fuel blends ultimately translates into more fuel usage and higher costs for the consumer. The newer flex-fuel cars, which use a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, actually have a much lower gas mileage than their conventional counterparts. A second argument is that older engines (those made before 2001) are not approved for the newer blends and might suffer damages. Lastly, there is an ongoing discussion as to whether land that can be used for growing food crops should, instead, be used to create crops for fuel.
With all of these competing positions, determining the level of ethanol in gasoline is more crucial than ever. With the number of providers enhancing, end-user merchants have to be able to verify that the products that they receive are blended correctly and are the fuel loads that were specified in their orders. Cutting edge instruments, such as portable computerized analyzers and infrared spectrometers can be used on-site to offer information in as little as a minute. With this information, merchants and end-users can feel confident that the fuel that they are using is in line with the specifications for their particular application.