Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Mark asks: A comment to your old article about ethanol prompted me to ask a question: What do we do when 15 percent ethanol is used and our vehicle is only good for 10 percent ethanol? I have a Suzuki Burgman scooter that’s only rated for the 10 percent ethanol. Many people out there are driving cars only rated for the 10 percent stuff as well. What do we do? What do those of us using vehicles rated for 10 percent ethanol do when the 15 percent ethanol gas is all that’s available?
Furthermore, though I don’t think the gov’t should mandate the use of ethanol, they do so anyway and won’t stop any time soon. That said, if there were going to be any fairness here, any justice, shouldn’t they phase it in over a period of years to account for the fact that many of us are driving vehicles rated for only 10 percent ethanol? Don’t they realize the harm this will cause people?
My reply: Of course they realize it will cause harm; they don’t care – because it serves several purposes of theirs. First, E15 (15 percent ethanol) will accelerate the “retirement” of the “old cars” these people have wanted to get off the roads for a long time. It is a way to do that without formally outlawing them. Instead, just deteriorate them.
Second, E15 is a sop to the powerful ethanol lobby – which controls both wings of the Demopublican Party as tightly as AIPAC. No one gets nominated for national office – or retains it – without bending knee to Big Ag. I have an article on deck about this.
But wait – it gets worse! There is a push for higher-than-E15 as the baseline fuel. This to accommodate the latest very high compression/DI-engined cars (it helps with CAFE compliance, which is why the car manufacturers support it).
The good news is – for now – E10 and even E0 (pure gas, not adulterated with ethanol) ought to be available for some time to come. The problem is it will likely get harder to find it, especially when driving outside your usual area.
The most ironic aspect of this whole mess is that the entire stated premise for the ethanol mandate – reducing dependence on foreign oil – is no longer relevant. America has become the world’s leading producer of oil and is on the verge of becoming a net exporter.
Marc just had a minor stroke…
Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
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