Although an apparently attractive alternative fuel, E85 is unethical. Here’s why.

Currently a bushel of corn produces about 2.8 gallons of ethanol.

Now let’s take a look at fuel economy. The average 2011 passenger car can drive 34 miles on one gallon of gas. The average 2011 light duty truck will go 25 miles. This is considerably better than the MPG ratings from 1980 (car 24 – Truck 18).

These MPG ratings are based on gasoline. You must remember that fuel economy for E85 is approximately 30% less than gasoline. It just so happens that fuel economy has increased since 1980 by about 30%, so E85 is like a 30 year time machine. The average 2011 car would only go 24 miles on a gallon of E85. The average 2011 truck would squeak out 18 miles on a gallon of E85.

So you take your bushel of corn, and you convert it into E85 and you can drive your average 2011 car 67 miles. Keep in mind, the average round trip commute for an American is 32 miles. The average American, driving a 2011 car would use 2.5 bushels of corn a week just to get to and from work. If that average american drives a 2011 truck, they would use over 3 bushels of corn a week.

Keep in mind that a Bushel of corn is 56 pounds (8 gallons) of dry corn. It requires .63 lbs of corn to produce one 12 oz. box of Corn Flakes. Run a little math and you realize you can make about 88.9 boxes of cereal from that bushel of corn.

In the end, each American driving a very fuel efficient 2011 car would be burning 220 boxes of cereal a week, just commuting to and from work. When you consider the number of people all around the world who are starving to death, that kind of waste just can’t be justified.

You may have recently seen cars on the road with logos on the side designating them as part of a car share program. These crafty little programs are sweeping the nation, and with good reason. Car share programs allow members to use a car on a short term basis, and for a relatively small amount of money. Check out this handy chart, it confirms car sharing is becoming more popular.

Car share stas

Not only is the service affordable, and relatively convenient, but the vehicles are generally highly fuel efficient. Some services offer trucks, and other types of vehicles, but most rely on gas sippers such as the Honda Civic Hybrid, or Toyota Prius. I suspect here shortly, the all electric Nissan Leaf will be added to the rosters.

So, car shares are cheep, and good for the environment, but how do they work exactly? First one must apply to become a member. Once approved, you select a membership level, and in most cases pay some sort of small monthly fee. You then reserve a car when you need one, pick it up, drive it about, drop it off and pay a small hourly fee, plus a mileage charge. They also have daily rates as well, which include 100-150 miles for free, quite the bargain. Keep in mind gasoline and insurance IS included in the hourly/ daily plus mileage charge.

In Denver, It seems you have two main options, eGo car sharing, or Occasional Car. Both have locations all over Denver, and both are comparably priced.

eGo’s locations, Denver and Boulder:

car share eGo locations

Ego’s Pricing:

car share eGo pricing

Occasional Car’s locations in Denver:

car share occasional car locations

Occasional Car has several options for memberships and rates:

car share occasional car pricing

Both eGo car share and Occasional Car offer very affordable options. For those of us that live in the heart of Denver, locations close to where we live, work and play. As for those that live in larger cities such as Chicago, New York City, or Los Angeles, the car share programs are even more abundant.

Car share, it’s the way we will use an automobile in the future, so get hip to it now.

eGo Cars Occasional Car Zip Car I-go cars