Reader Question: More Ethanol?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Joseph asks: I see today that our Betters in Washington have solved our problems by “allowing” E15 gasoline year round. It reminds me of the scene in the movie Idiocracy where they bought soda rock then mandated watering their crops with soda so the economy would grow only to starve when their crops died. My question is how the heck can we avoid putting this poison in our tanks? Are there any national brands that “just say no?” My manufacturer recommends Top Tier gas, but I suspect that only means it has detergent in it and doesn’t have anything to do with the addition of this unwanted chemical. It is beyond stupid and will ruin your engine. I’m shocked that there seems to be no free market for auto fuel any longer. This is the dumbest thing I’ve seen out of Washington in a long time.

My reply: It’s not dumb – if you’re the government, or the ethanol lobby. E15 – which is 15 percent ethanol rather than the usual 10 percent – is even more caustic to older cars, which the government very much wants to accelerate the “retirement” of, for reasons that by now should be obvious. And 5 percent more ethanol means that many more billions transferred from our pockets to the pockets of the ethanol lobby.

A win-win… for them.

Be aware: If your car is not “flex fuel compatible” – specifically designed to operate on gas with an ethanol concentration higher than 10 percent – you risk engine damage and will void your warranty by using E15 or higher. Be sure what you’re pumping is correct for your vehicle (read the pump; see owner’s manual; there is also usually a sticker on the inside of the fuel door).

E10 should be regularly available  . . . for awhile. But the end goal is to use high alcohol concentration fuels to kill off older (pre-1990s) vehicles, so I fully expect that the government will mandate E15 and higher in the coming years. It will be sold as “renewable” and “good for the environment,” of course.

There are also still stations – here and there – that sell 100 percent gas (no ethanol). Here’s a search engine you can use to see whether there’s one in your area.

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Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. My local go to station used to sell 100% real diesel until a couple of months ago. Now it’s labeled as a 5-20% biodiesel blend. I checked out the other stations and they are all biodiesel blends no too.

    This bullshit is getting old.

    • Hi Guerrero,

      Agreed, it is.

      Especially in view of the fact that there is no longer any justification (market-based) for this pushing of “renewable” fuels. I am working up a rant on this subject…


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