The problem is not the programming of the computer, the problem is that ethanol does not have as much energy (BTU's) per pound (or gallon) as gasoline. The engine is already optimized for what fuels you are running.
Keep in mind that if you run the engine any leaner (which you cannot as the fuel calculations are checked using the oxygen sensors in the exhaust system) or advance the spark further (which you cannot, as the spark is set using knock sensors) you run the risk of melting pistons or other damage.
Here, I pulled out an old Bosch book of mine and looked up some numbers for you. This will give you an idea of the differences.
These numbers are BTU's Per U.S. Gal.
Gasoline: 125,000 btu's
Ethanol: 84,600 btu's
Methanol: 64,600 btu's
Gasohol: 120,900 btu's (10% Ethanol, 90% Gasoline)
Diesel: 138,700 btu's
And now you also understand why diesels get better fuel economy. Also that is for 91 octane gasoline. Lower octane (87 and 89) actually have more btu's per gallon.
Sure, he either slowed down his driving or he was not being fully honest. Most computer chips will only modify things like timing and fuel flow so much. And most of them really only work at wide open throttle settings. Here is the problems. The computer looks at Mass Air Flow sensor voltage to determine the amount of air going into the engine. With that information, the computer calculated fuel flow. When the burn occurs, the spent exhaust gasses leave the combustion chamber and flow past the oxygen sensors. Those sensors send information to the computer as to how much or how little unburnt fuel is in the exhaust system. The computer uses that to modify its fuel calculations. Kind of like doing a math problem backwards to check the answer. We call that closed loop.
At part throttle operation, the computer is doing that comparison constantly. Any modifications to the fuel look up tables will be compensated for by the O2 sensor outputs. Where that changes is when you are operating at wide open throttle (max power) When the computer sees greater the 90% throttle, the o2 sensors are no longer part of the calculation and any programming will have an effect.
When chip designers are changing the parameters of the computer operation, their biggest concern (and target market) is the performance crowd. Hense, what they are able to do is generate greater horsepower, without having a detremental effect on fuel economy.
With spark cuves, you hae the same problems, especially with engines (like yours) that hae knock sensors. Again the timing is advanced until the spark knock is heard by the senosr and then it is reduced slightly. On a modern engine, the timing correction can happen from one firing event to the next. And at 3000 rpm that means within .04 seconds (if my math is correct). Again there is not much that the programmer of a chip can do to change that. Keep in mind that this is all occuring during part throttle operation.
There is just only so much that can be done with a fuel that has 67% of the energy of 91 octane gasoline.
And by the way, that is about what you are getting (61%)
Oh don't get me started. If you live in Cal then you are already are getting the shaft. Lets look at oxygenated fuel. The cost is greater, as the processing is more expensive, the energy btu's are lower, and to reallly add insult to injury, it makes the engine run richer and therefore burns more fuel.
Go back to the example about the O2 sensors. If you are running oxygenated fuel, you have more oxygen in the fuel and therefore more oxygen in the exhaust gasses. The computer sees that as having a lean mixture and adds more fuel to compensate for the issue. Ethanol does the same thing as well as there is a consideble amount of oxygen in ethanol.
And yes we are being sold a bill of goods with ethanol and methanol. It is all part of the government's requirement to quote - unquote our dependance on global fuels (see liberals). But with the increased amount of farm land being devoted to fuel plants, the great cost in fuel to grow and harvest those crops, etc, we are seeing an increase in the cost of food as well as fuel.
Until there is a demand for bio diesel, we won't see it. You notice that most of the small diesels are European (VW has an excellent diesel) that is because the Europeans have been dealing with the fuel costs for much longer then we have.
Take a look at this data for world fuel costs:
Well done and thank you for your service. Just so that you know, we have probably shared some of the same ground. My father was a career man with the Navy. Joined when he was 15 and saw his first combat before he reached 16 during the Pacific Theater. I was born at Pax River NAS in Maryland, and we had lived, until his retirement, pretty much everywhere. That includes 3 years in Japan while dad was flying missions over SouthEast Asia. (Flight Engineer)
The only thank you that I was able to give my father, was internment in Arlington. And this is not the country that it should be. We need another Ronald Reagan. Although G.W. I think will go down in history as a far better President then anyone has given him credit for.
Fruits and nuts indeed!
As for the F series, it is amazing just how far trucks have come. I can remember when they didn't come with A/C and Power Steering. Now they are just as comfortable and quite as a Lincoln.
Cheers XXXXX XXXXX Navy!
Ah the good old days.
When we were stationed at Magu, Phantom pilots used to fly over our house and bust our windows. (my dad was not a very popular Chief) I still love that bird and I remember when the Angels Flew her.
I remember the guys being able to bust Mach during air shows, Live Fire Demos, etc.
Phantoms Phorever! indeed.
However, "No Kill Like A Gun Kill" is still my fav (The last of the Gunfighters, F8 Crusader) sorry, I just had to do it.