okay, just my opinion here.
back in wwII , the government actually printed out brochures on how to convert cars etc to run on alcohol due to the fuel shortage. It was very common. Actually they also had some cars running on wood power........burning wood to power the vehicle, normally a truck.
The biggest reason alcohol was not good on an engine before the 90's, was a lot of rubber was still used as gaskets etc and alcohol would "eat" the rubber. I forget exactly when, but sometime in the early 90's, pretty much all vehicles went to the non-rubber type gaskets etc, which can be used with alcohol engines.
Today, I can convert any fuel injectied car made after say 1992 to run on alcohol just by buying a "computer" that just plugs in. The ONLY thing that this "computer" does is affect the time that the injectors remain open.
Alcohol is only approx 85-90% as efficient as gasoline, so the injectors need to stay open just a tad longer......that is all there is to it.
The BIGGEST problem that someone would have by switching their gasoline car to alcohol by just adding that "computer" is you will have to change your fuel filter once or twice after only a tank or 2 of alcohol. It is obviously a good "cleaner", so it is going to clean all of the gunk, varnish etc out of your fuel tank and clog the filter in a short time.
BUT, once the initial cleaning of the tank is done, from that point on it is just regular maintenance with a few exceptions.
What happens now is someone will run ethanol in their vehicle and then the vehicle will run like crap, so then they say alcohol is bad. What actually happens is the alcohol "cleaned" the fuel tank and clogged the fuel filter....making it run like crap. Alcohol was actually "cleaning" their fuel system and engine, not making it worse. Also, with too much alcohol, the vehicle is running worse because the injectors are not staying open long enough since the alcohol is less efficient..........
The exceptions to being different than gas - an engine run on alcohol will be much cleaner with basically no carbon deposits and should last a whole lot longer than an engine run on gasoline but will get about 10-15% less gas mileage......that's it.
Alcohol is not bad for a "gasoline" engine. The problems arise when the alcohol "cleans" the tank and the injectors are not staying open long enough.
The difference between a flex fuel vehicle and my 1997 truck - the flex fuel vehicle has that $400-$500 computer on it to adjust the opening of the injectors.......that's it. same engine, same everything.....
I have actually done quite a bit of research and was/am going to convert my 1997 truck to run on alcohol. The better "computers, normally running around $400-$500, will automatically "sense" the type of fuel you are using and adjust the injectors accordingly. The cheaper ones, $250-$300 or so, do not do that.
The ONLY reason I have not switched yet is the price of E85. Running alcohol, being only 85-90% as efficient as gas, means I am going to get approximately 10-15% LESS gas mileage. With the cost of E85, it does not add up economically if you are just switching to save money on gas. You would have the benefit of a longer lasting engine, but with today's manufacturing and tight tolerances, a gasoline engine will last for 300k+ if taken care of. My truck has 240k on it, so switching for a longer life just does not make economical sense.
BUT.........I have postponed it a bit, but I am doing research on making my own still and making my own alcohol - then it would make sense. Alcohol can be made out of virtually anything that has a sugar content. You could make it out of newspaper, but it would take an awful lot of newspaper.
Researching this, I did come across something pretty interesting tho. Turns out right here in Tn there is a company that makes alcohol fuel out of kudzu. Kudzu was brought here originally as an ornamental plant in the southeast and was also used as a high protein cattle feed plus to help with erosion on road sides.
Turned out tho that kudzu is a very, very invasive species and is virtually impossible to get rid of now. It has literally taken over road sides, woods etc.
But it also has a pretty high sugar content, as high as corn if I am not mistaken.
So basically all of the free kudzu one could ever want to make alcohol.....
Point being - the only reason we do not have alcohol based fuels is because the oil comapnies would not appreciate the loss of revenue. It made sense after WWII as gas was so cheap and we were still using rubber for gaskets etc.
But the moment we went to non-rubber gaskets..........
More importantly, while corn is great for making alcohol due to the high sugar content, there are a whole lot of alternatives we could be using, such as kudzu.
Anyway, once I get back on my project and figure out how to make a still, I will be switching my truck to alcohol. If it turns out I can make enough fuel to justify it economically, I will then switch over all of my cars and my boat.
I doubt I would switch my bike to alcohol for a few reasons, mainly tho due to the hit in gas mileage. Losing that around 10% in gas mileage makes a big difference when your tank is only 4.1 gallons.Buying the more expensive computer I could still use gas, but as more often than not I am on the road, it really would not make economical sense to spend the $400+ for the computer and still end up mainly using gas or E85.......but for the rest of my vehicles with big tanks......makes all the sense in the world.
I just need to find a bootlegger to show me how to build a good still