Going Green

Monday, December 31, 2007

Missouri Ethanol Mandates

Should vendors be required to label pumps dispensing ethanol blends?

Dec 31, 5:08 AM EST

Missouri Mandates Ethanol in Gasoline

Associated Press Writer

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Pushing the button for regular 87-grade octane, Steve Smith said he thought he was filling his SUV with ethanol-free gasoline.

"I don't buy super unleaded, knowing that it's ethanol," Smith said, citing concerns about how ethanol could affect his vehicle.

But Smith was buying ethanol-blended gasoline, just as he had done several times before. Although many pumps don't announce it, almost all...(complete article here).

I personally prefer to see the label. I like to know what I'm putting in my vehicle. Usually I will choose an ethanol blend because typically the price is the same as regular unleaded but with a higher octane. Years ago, while traveling in Nebraska, I had some problems with ethanol blended gasoline stopping up fuel filters. That problem has been resolved now. I don't know if it's due to how the ethanol is blended or to changes in the newer model vehicles.


Jim's Words Music and Science said...

Thanks for posting this story. I think that the legislation referred to isn't about labeling, but about mandating that all gasoline in Missouri must contain ethanol.

There are various ways to look at this, but I am a strong opponent of corn ethanol as fuel: The Economist did an analysis which showed that corn ethanol producers are barely breaking even, in spite of large tax subsidies, while corn ethanol is having no effect at all on oil prices. As I report on my blog, many organizations from the (typically very conservative) National Academies of Science in the USA to the government of South Africa to Environmental Defense have all pointed out major problems with corn ethanol. Most of these include increased water use in areas that have precarious water tables or aquifers, and the enormous additional burden put on fresh water supplies by fertilizer runoff. The latter is already affecting the Gulf of Mexico.

If you have the chance, please stop by my site (http://greenchemistry.wordpress.com) to see what you think- I'm interested in any responses, positive or negative, and really prefer communicating with people who don't agree, in order for us both to improve out understanding (I'm not pre-judging how you'll feel, and I certainly don't object when people agree!).

Best wishes, Jim

Panhandle Poet said...

Thanks for your comment, Jim. Indeed the article is about mandating that fuel in Missouri contain a certain amount of ethanol. My point, although made rather obscurely, is that the ethanol is already in most of the gasoline dispensed within the state. The legislation would require that it be labeled as to content of ethanol.

Jim's Words Music and Science said...

Thanks, Poet! I guess I didn't really misunderstand your post, I just wanted to comment on how politics have turned something into an environmental mess that might otherwise have been a good thing (i.e. ethanol fuel- I say "might" because the jury is still out on some issues, though I must say that we can't expect to find a fuel with no environmental consequences). Best wishes, Jim

Panhandle Poet said...

Please contact me by e-mail at panhandlepoet@hotmail.com. I am interested in your "green" chemistry.