PWA Educational Seminar—Powered By the Emerging Trends & Technology Network

SEMA Member News—September/October 2013  

PWA Educational Seminar—Powered By the Emerging Trends & Technology Network

Mobile devices are creating a commerce revolution. The Internet modernized sales and marketing a decade ago, but today’s companies need more than a website altered to fit smartphones. Smart businesses and smart marketers must learn to develop mobile-specific tools and techniques.

The new Emerging Trends & Technology Network (ETTN) will be hosting a Mobile Trends seminar at the 2013 Performance Warehouse Association (PWA) Conference, to be held September 22–25 in Phoenix. “How Mobile Is Radically Changing Your Business” will offer attendees the latest facts about the burgeoning mobile market and strategies for capturing sales using these cutting-edge devices.

Learn how an increasing percentage of commerce is shifting to mobile sales, how consumers are using mobile content to make purchase decisions and how your company can develop mobile content related directly to profits.

PWA is a private event. You must be a member of PWA and be registered to attend the conference to attend this seminar, which will take place Sunday, September 22 at 3:45 p.m.

Emerging Trend: Ethanol at the Pump
By Sean Crawford, JE Pistons

The annual ethanol targets are scheduled to continually rise to a cap of 36 billion gallons in 2022.
More than 90% of all gasoline now sold in the United States contains up to 10% ethanol. The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated that ethanol usage in fuel increase from nine billion gallons a year in 2008 to just under 14 billion gallons in 2013 and rise to 36 billion gallons by 2022. The laws that set the mandates were well intentioned—increasing our usage of renewable energy while reducing our dependence on foreign oil—but they were also potentially misplaced.

Most of consumption today is accomplished through the current E10 fuel (90% gasoline, 10% ethanol) commonly found at the pump. Alternatives such as E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline) for “flex-fuel” vehicles exist as well but are harder to find in most areas. It is important to note that gas-pump labels for E10 and below are subject to state law. Since states such as California don’t require a label, motorists may not be aware that they are putting ethanol in their tanks.

Ethanol has advantages. It can be produced from domestically grown corn or other biofuels and can carry higher octane ratings, assuming that it hasn’t been contaminated through water absorption. E85 has even become a popular low-budget race fuel for everything from supercharged modern muscle to turbocharged import vehicles. It would seem that a market like ours, with such an emphasis on performance, would welcome ethanol with open arms. The reality is that many types of vehicles and equipment were built long before chemicals such as ethanol had to be considered during the design and validation processes.

Ethanol is hydroscopic, which means that it attracts moisture and can produce increased levels of water in the fuel system. The current E10 blend has the ability to absorb 0.5% by volume before reaching a point where water will actually accumulate outside of the fuel mixture (called phase separation). For a 15-gallon fuel tank, that is about 1.2 cups of water that can be introduced into the fuel and supporting systems. This water formation can lead to metal corrosion and deterioration of plastics and rubber. The corrosion issue is most detrimental in carbureted vehicles that include hot rods, musclecars and a large number of production vehicles.

Many of the critical components of a carburetor, such as the main body and float bowls, are die cast from aluminum or zinc. When these materials are exposed to ethanol or the water often contained within ethanol, a corrosive combination can result that leads to carburetor malfunction and potential failure. The extra moisture can also lead to buildup of “sludge” that can clog the precision internals of a carburetor. In addition, the materials that are commonly used to manufacture gaskets, seals and fuel lines are not consistently manufactured with ethanol-resistant fluorinated polymers. After prolonged exposure to ethanol, these materials can deteriorate, clog fuel filters and result in dangerous fuel leaks.

The EPA and ethanol producers are pushing to allow a 50% increase in ethanol content in gasoline by introducing E15 to more markets. The reason is simple: to meet the federal law’s ever-growing demand for renewable fuels. SEMA is working hard to protect unsuspecting motorists and the companies that produce their vehicles and equipment. SEMA is asking that E15 be banned at this time and that the federal law’s renewable fuel mandates be adjusted to reasonable numbers that can be achieved in a free marketplace. Without such a change, E20 and E30 will be the next fuels being pumped into gas tanks.

Need more information? Visit the SEMA government affairs home-page to stay up-to-date. This is one trend that should not be ignored.