Home > Technology > Time to pony up that extra 10 cents a gallon

Time to pony up that extra 10 cents a gallon


So far we’ve learned that ethanol drives up corn prices, puts marginal lands into production, damages community institutions (let’s shut down the grain elevator to send our corn straight to the ethanol plant so we can’t change our minds later if the situation changes), uses bunches of water, uses bunches of energy (kind of a three card monty deal where we’ve just hidden the true energy costs), and probably doesn’t do much for pollution. and now, although this really shouldn’t be much of a surprise, ethanol will bork your engine. 

Part of the problem with ethanol has always been transportation and storage. It eats plastic so plastic or plastic lined containers or pipes corrode. So no pipelines. And we knew that it destroys plastic a long while ago. This article from Business Week presents damage to your engine as the new problem with ethanol. But it shouldn’t have been a surprise—if the fuel pump (repeatedly mentioned in the article) is plastic, it will be affected by ethanol. Surprise! And it’s an unpleasant surprise when you’re hit for $1000+ to repair your engine. So EPA, it’s absolutely a brilliant idea to raise the amount of ethanol in the gas to 15%. Why not make bad problems worse? If the government is worried about the disaster that is ethanol infrastructure failures in the Midwest, this won’t help. The build-out was unrealistic for what the land could produce even if we didn’t ever want to eat again, so let them fail. Please start paying attention to the science; the Bush-Cheney years are over. 

On a side note, I started getting a little paranoid earlier today when struggling with a very stiff and poorly wound gas pump line. I get regular gas to avoid the ethanol, but before I could push the button for regular, the freaking hose pushed the plus button. What made me paranoid was the arrangement of the buttons (this is one of the pumps with the square buttons sticking out from the bottom)—regular is furthest from the nozzle so if the hose is a problem, it will hit one of the more expensive grades first (over the winter plus went higher). How obnoxious.

Categories: Technology Tags: , , ,
%d bloggers like this: