Latest Reader Qs (7/8/17)

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Here are the latest reader Questions – and my Answers:

J Rodney writes:

Is Flex Fuel good or bad for extending long term engine life?

I am specifically concerned about whether to use occasionally, frequently, or never the Flex Fuel option on my 2016 Chevy Impala LT.

Thanks for any guidance.  

My Answer:

Hi J,

If the engine/fuel system are set up to run high ethanol-content fuel (e.g., E15, E85) running it shouldn’t cause any problems – as it would in a car not set up to run high ethanol-content fuels. 

It’s not so much a question of good or bad as it is of different cost at the pump  – and mileage down the road.  You may pay more – or less – for E15/E85. And you will probably see a drop in fuel economy vs. straight gas (if you can find it) and E10 (common pump gas, which is 10 percent ethanol) because there is less energy in a gallon of E15/E85. 

Don Asks:

How much will automatic emergency braking (AEB) collectively add to the cost of all vehicles sold and how much is that per death or injury averted?

My Answer: 

This is hard to quantify because it involves already-embedded technologies such as the ABS and TCS systems as well as new technologies and software. Also, future maintenance/repair costs are at the moment unknown variables.

In addition – we should also consider that lives may well be lost as well as saved. There is this idea that humans are flawed (they are) but technology is infallible (it isn’t). Witness air bags – and also seat belts, which have killed people, too.

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  1. So what’s it’s like being the proud father of your very own website?

    This is how I imagine it must be sometimes…

    I don’t even know anyone who has a flex fuel vehicle (maybe they’re afraid I might think less of them?). I’m not buying a new car in the near future. I really did read the article, but didn’t have anything relevant to ask or answer.

    • Hi Tor,

      It’s – as with all electronic/computer-dependent things – both a blessing and a curse. I am able to publish freely, without censorship. But I now must do the work of several people and am at the mercy of these got-damned computers and software, which is inscrutable and all-controlling at the same time.

      This would be a great gig if I could just write and leave the rest to others and it all got handled.


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