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Old Jul 30, 2005, 11:36 PM   #1
DakotaGuy
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My new Cornmobile (SUV)

Well I had to jump on the whole "Employee Discount" trend when I saw this 2005 Explorer 4x4 for $10,000 off the MSRP. I live in South Dakota where we do get nasty winters and I have a trailer to pull so I actually need an SUV. I looked at a few different ones when I settled for this one. It is an E85 vehicle which means it can run on any combination of unleaded fuel which contains up to 85% ethanol. We have a refueling station close to my house and I printed out a map of our state that shows all the E85 locations. We don't have a lot of them, but the number is growing.

Tonight I filled with my first tank of fuel since I bought it. They fueled it with E10 (10% ethanol) when I picked it up. It had about 1/4 of a tank left (I was driving all over the first day...lol) I saved $0.50 per gallon fueling with E85 at $1.69 a gallon. Of course we live in corn country here and have ethanol plants close so that helps with the price. I would say performance saw some improvement considering it is 105 octane. MPG dropped according to the trip computer by 3 MPG from 20 MPG highway to 17 MPG, of course the Explorer only has under 300 miles on it so it is hardly broke in. The engine is a 4.0L V6. Not as good on economy as a small car, but better then some of the Hummers and Suburbans driving around.

Nice quiet SUV to drive. It handles well and it also has the rollover canopy air bag system and a new technology called Advance Trac Roll Stability Control. Basically if you swerve to miss an object at a high rate of speed and you begin to over correct the vehicle takes over. It can sense if the tires are about leave the pavement and will activate brakes and reduce engine speed to bring it back under control. It is a technology that came from Volvo so I expect it to work well.

Ford seems to have made a lot of improvement in their build quality. The stereo is excellent and I like the power moonroof. Some people told me to go to a Japanese SUV, but after comparing the price and vehicle, they just did not seem worth $10,000-12,000 more.

I spent a year in Iraq, so I am happy to pull into a station and burn E85. It is true that it takes plenty of energy to convert corn into fuel, but natural gas can and is used for most of the process. The vehicle also pollutes less when burning on E85.

http://www.e85fuel.com/index.php
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Old Jul 30, 2005, 11:39 PM   #2
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Wow. I didn't realise you guys had ethanol fuel. That's really cool.
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Old Jul 30, 2005, 11:46 PM   #3
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Wow. I didn't realise you guys had ethanol fuel. That's really cool.
We have had it for a long time, but there has been no real push for alternative fuel vehicles in this country. They are finally doing a big push to get more gas stations to carry 85% ethanol fuel in this state.
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Old Jul 30, 2005, 11:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Abercrombieboy
We have had it for a long time, but there has been no real push for alternative fuel vehicles in this country. They are finally doing a big push to get more gas stations to carry 85% ethanol fuel in this state.

It's quite embarrassing that heaps of people over here (Australia) are so critical of America having such cheap fuel citing it as the reason alternative energies haven't kicked off yet we personally get no more alternative than diesel.

Corn fuel is a very encouraging step in the right direction IMO.
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Old Jul 31, 2005, 12:08 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by mad jew
It's quite embarrassing that heaps of people over here (Australia) are so critical of America having such cheap fuel citing it as the reason alternative energies haven't kicked off yet we personally get no more alternative than diesel.

Corn fuel is a very encouraging step in the right direction IMO.
Lately, ethanol has taken a large amount of criticism by some because they claim that it takes more energy to produce one gallon of ethanol then the energy it will make. The big oil companies have been at the heart of this rumor as well. This rumor is not true. Here is the real story.

"Current research prepared by Argonne National Laboratory (a U.S. Department of Energy Laboratory), indicates a 38% gain in the overall energy input/output equation for the corn-to-ethanol process. That is, if 100 BTUs of energy is used to plant corn, harvest the crop, transport it, etc., 138 BTUs of energy is available in the fuel ethanol. Corn yields and processing technologies have improved significantly over the past 20 years and they continue to do so, making ethanol production less and less energy intensive."

That is according to www.e85fuel.com
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Old Jul 31, 2005, 12:13 AM   #6
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That's not cool. Oil companies are way too powerful and influential for my liking. Even if it's actually less efficient, I still think it's great that there's an alternative just for the simple purpose of eroding the oil companies' control of the market.
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Old Jul 31, 2005, 12:18 AM   #7
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$1.69 a gallon! Thats awesome. I'm stuck paying $2.50 for premium and diesel.

The explorer is a pretty nice car. These employee discounts are such good deals. Good choice of wheels too. Good luck and I hope you enjoy it.

Did you get leather?
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Old Jul 31, 2005, 12:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EJBasile
$1.69 a gallon! Thats awesome. I'm stuck paying $2.50 for premium and diesel.

The explorer is a pretty nice car. These employee discounts are such good deals. Good choice of wheels too. Good luck and I hope you enjoy it.

Did you get leather?
It has leather seats. They appear to be a pretty decent grade of leather. Of course, nothing like the leather in a Mercedes or BMW. My stereo has Sirus Satellite Radio capability. I don't know if I will get it, does anyone out there have it that likes it? 6 CD/MP3 changer and 400 watts with 7 speakers and a subwoofer so it sounds nice. I am very curious about the radio since there is an Aux key on it, but in the Owner's Manual it says that key is not used for anything. Do you suppose there is actually a jack where an iPod could be plugged in on the back???

I did not get the 3rd row seat since I do not have a family and would rather have the additional room for hauling cargo.

By the way, MSRP was around $35,000 on the window sticker and I got it for right around $25,000.
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Old Jul 31, 2005, 01:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EJBasile
$1.69 a gallon! Thats awesome. I'm stuck paying $2.50 for premium and diesel.

The explorer is a pretty nice car. These employee discounts are such good deals. Good choice of wheels too. Good luck and I hope you enjoy it.

Did you get leather?
East of the mountains in WA state I had to pay over 3 bucks/gallon last week. Still, we don't know crap compared to the rest of the world where Tony the loan shark must work at the pump.

-BEN
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Old Jul 31, 2005, 07:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mad jew
It's quite embarrassing that heaps of people over here (Australia) are so critical of America having such cheap fuel citing it as the reason alternative energies haven't kicked off yet we personally get no more alternative than diesel.
I thought Australia does, although it's still petrol, it's still applied in a different way, I guess. It's called LPG or something to that effect. Not sure how much benefit it provides to the environment, but I do know it's better than not having an LPG system in the vehicle.
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Old Jul 31, 2005, 07:43 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Abstract
I thought Australia does, although it's still petrol, it's still applied in a different way, I guess. It's called LPG or something to that effect. Not sure how much benefit it provides to the environment, but I do know it's better than not having an LPG system in the vehicle.

LPG is liquified petroleum gas, not related to ethanol. Sure, I suppose you could say it's an alternative fuel source though. I stand corrected (sort of).

Either way though, it's still distributed by the major oil companies (mainly Mobil from memory) so from a political standpoint, it's exactly the same.
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Old Jul 31, 2005, 08:54 AM   #12
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Good buy, I think that anyone doing anything for the environment is good in my book. Plus, if you can get fuel for $1.65 a gallon, thats sweet! I pay about $2.30 here in maine, and I get about 29mpg in my ZX2..if you do the math, even with your gas mileage, we are paying about the same, but you probably have less emissions because of burning E85. Awesome. If anyone wants to see a cool vid about hydrogen cars, check this out.

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Old Jul 31, 2005, 11:48 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by joecool85
Good buy, I think that anyone doing anything for the environment is good in my book. Plus, if you can get fuel for $1.65 a gallon, thats sweet! I pay about $2.30 here in maine, and I get about 29mpg in my ZX2..if you do the math, even with your gas mileage, we are paying about the same, but you probably have less emissions because of burning E85. Awesome. If anyone wants to see a cool vid about hydrogen cars, check this out.

Nova ScienceNow
It would be nice to see more alternatives over regular gasoline. Hydrogen cars make a lot of sense to me, yet burning E85 is about as clean as it gets at this time. The website that I left above has information about the differences and why E85 is so much better then burning fossil fuels.

Well my friend and I figured that even with the 10% cut in economy I take burning E85, I still save about $5 every fill up burning it. When it is not available I will have to burn regular unlead like everyone else which will improve the milage I get with my SUV, but cost more and dump a lot more pollution into the environment.
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Old Jul 31, 2005, 12:04 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Abercrombieboy
It has leather seats. They appear to be a pretty decent grade of leather. Of course, nothing like the leather in a Mercedes or BMW. My stereo has Sirus Satellite Radio capability. I don't know if I will get it, does anyone out there have it that likes it? 6 CD/MP3 changer and 400 watts with 7 speakers and a subwoofer so it sounds nice. I am very curious about the radio since there is an Aux key on it, but in the Owner's Manual it says that key is not used for anything. Do you suppose there is actually a jack where an iPod could be plugged in on the back???

I did not get the 3rd row seat since I do not have a family and would rather have the additional room for hauling cargo.

By the way, MSRP was around $35,000 on the window sticker and I got it for right around $25,000.
I have Sirius in my car and I love it. Its especially great for longer road trips
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Old Jul 31, 2005, 12:19 PM   #15
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Does your exhaust smell like popcorn?


I actually ask that seriously too. My brother's fiancée's father (can't wait for that to get shorter ) converted an old MB diesel to run on vegetable oil. I hear it smells like french fries.
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Old Jul 31, 2005, 02:50 PM   #16
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Does your exhaust smell like popcorn?


I actually ask that seriously too. My brother's fiancée's father (can't wait for that to get shorter ) converted an old MB diesel to run on vegetable oil. I hear it smells like french fries.
I don't know, my brother asked me the same question. I guess I don't really know since I am not behind it when I am going down the road. I will have to smell the exhaust at idle and see. I think once the corn is turned into ethanol however, there is no smell. If there is my truck might get called a corn popper!

One other thing, there are many vehicles that have flex fuel capability and the person driving them might not realize it. You can tell by the VIN number (there is a chart on-line). Also, inside the fuel door it should say, "Ethanol Fuel (E85) or Unleaded Fuel Only." Other cars and trucks might have a leaf symbol with the letters FFV on the side or back. I am not sure how available alternative fuels are in other parts of the country, but if you have the capability to use it and you can find a refueling station give it a try. DON'T put it in your vehicle however if it is not rated for it. They have to install a lining in the tank, steel fuel lines, a different fuel pump and different injectors. There is also a sensor that can tell what the % of alcohol is present and it adjusts the timing of the engine for the best economy and cleanest burn.
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Old Jul 31, 2005, 02:55 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abercrombieboy
It has leather seats. They appear to be a pretty decent grade of leather. Of course, nothing like the leather in a Mercedes or BMW. My stereo has Sirus Satellite Radio capability. I don't know if I will get it, does anyone out there have it that likes it? 6 CD/MP3 changer and 400 watts with 7 speakers and a subwoofer so it sounds nice. I am very curious about the radio since there is an Aux key on it, but in the Owner's Manual it says that key is not used for anything. Do you suppose there is actually a jack where an iPod could be plugged in on the back???

I did not get the 3rd row seat since I do not have a family and would rather have the additional room for hauling cargo.

By the way, MSRP was around $35,000 on the window sticker and I got it for right around $25,000.

Good choice on leather. I hate the cloth used in most of the cars these days. The fords seem to have really stiff and hard cloth seats. Some other cloth fuzzes off.
As for the AUX button I know someone that has an Explorer with like a phone dock thing so when he gets a call on his cell he can talk hands free and listen through the audio system of the car. So there might be a possibility that that their is something to plug your iPod into. Ask your dealer about the AUX button or take out the radio and look your self. I'm sure there is something back there that you could plug into.

$25,000 for an pretty much loaded Explorer, not bad at all.
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Old Jul 31, 2005, 02:59 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EJBasile
As for the AUX button I know someone that has an Explorer with like a phone dock thing so when he gets a call on his cell he can talk hands free and listen through the audio system of the car. So there might be a possibility that that their is something to plug your iPod into. Ask your dealer about the AUX button or take out the radio and look your self. I'm sure there is something back there that you could plug into.
Visteon and Delphi supplies Ford with their stereos so I have been looking around on-line for answers to where the AUX button leads to. AUX on a home receiver usually switches to an input on the back. I will let you know if I find anything.
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Old Jul 31, 2005, 03:11 PM   #19
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Nice purchase man. Down here in Texas we have regular gas and diesel only basically. Its kind of embarassing. Second biggest state size wise, and second or third population wise (if I am not mistaken) and we have few alternative opportunities. Of course, I doubt my Nissan or my Honda would run on this stuff anyway, but it would be cool if it did.
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Old Jul 31, 2005, 03:51 PM   #20
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Willie Nelson would be proud of you!

For some odd reason I know Willie is a big supporter of E85 vehicles, I think I caught part of a 60min. or something.
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Old Jul 31, 2005, 05:06 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abercrombieboy
I don't know, my brother asked me the same question. I guess I don't really know since I am not behind it when I am going down the road. I will have to smell the exhaust at idle and see. I think once the corn is turned into ethanol however, there is no smell. If there is my truck might get called a corn popper!

One other thing, there are many vehicles that have flex fuel capability and the person driving them might not realize it. You can tell by the VIN number (there is a chart on-line). Also, inside the fuel door it should say, "Ethanol Fuel (E85) or Unleaded Fuel Only." Other cars and trucks might have a leaf symbol with the letters FFV on the side or back. I am not sure how available alternative fuels are in other parts of the country, but if you have the capability to use it and you can find a refueling station give it a try. DON'T put it in your vehicle however if it is not rated for it. They have to install a lining in the tank, steel fuel lines, a different fuel pump and different injectors. There is also a sensor that can tell what the % of alcohol is present and it adjusts the timing of the engine for the best economy and cleanest burn.
I'm gonna go check my car's door...Nope not listed there...gonna do a google search...and...it doesn't seem that my zx2 is going to burn E85 without a conversion kit.
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Old Jul 31, 2005, 11:07 PM   #22
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I have Sirius in my car and I love it. Its especially great for longer road trips
I love mine too. Only problem is around getting towards or away from my house there are lots of trees so I loose the signal a lot. But once I'm a main road it works perfectly.
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Old Aug 1, 2005, 11:50 AM   #23
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I love mine too. Only problem is around getting towards or away from my house there are lots of trees so I loose the signal a lot. But once I'm a main road it works perfectly.
All I need is the kit from Ford because the radio is Sat. ready, but how much is Sirius a month? Can you also get a small receiver for your house on the same account or does that cost more?
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Old Aug 1, 2005, 12:26 PM   #24
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All I need is the kit from Ford because the radio is Sat. ready, but how much is Sirius a month? Can you also get a small receiver for your house on the same account or does that cost more?
Theres mulitple plans you can get, monthly, yearly, and unlimited. If you sign up for one radio and you buy another its only $6.99 per extra radio (up to 4 total) to subscribe. I have pay an extra $6.99 for the sat. radio on my boat.

Sirius Plans

I am signed up for the two year plan.

You could get one of those portable ones so you could have it in your car. And you can disconnect it and bring it inside.
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Old Aug 1, 2005, 01:05 PM   #25
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Very glad to hear of your purchase and, even more so, that you're running it on an ethanol-based fuel. With a currently estimated date of mid-21st century that we will deplete all of our domestic, natural oil reserves, it really helps to do every bit to conserve (or just not use it at all).

My 1991 Jetta, a diesel, runs on soy beans. Well, not whole soy beans, but their extracts or whatever it is. And I get 40 mpg! The only drawback is that I just passed 220,000 miles and am reaching the end-of-life for this vehicle. I'll likely buy a 2000-2003 Jetta/Golf/Beetle TDI once the current Jetta does its final dance.
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