Despite the alleged ability of higher blends of ethanol to perform without problems in newer automobiles, there seems to be sufficient evidence that it doesn’t work well in non-automobile engines: snowmobiles, chainsaws, boats, lawnmowers, etc. With the government sponsored push for more ethanol all the time everywhere, pure gasoline (E0) is becoming increasingly scarce as demand for it shrinks because of ethanol mandates and the Clean Air Act.
A spokesman for Growth Energy, Chris Thorne, justifies the unavailability:
On the broader policy question, Thorne said the fueling needs of little-used non-road engines should not dictate the fuel policies — and options to limit pollution from — the much larger market of fuel for vehicle use.
“Exactly how many engines are at stake here?” he asked. “How much gasoline do they consume compared to the total amount of fuel consumed? If I get 2 gallons of gasoline a year for my lawnmower, that’s a lot. But that should prevent me from putting E15 into my car, that I put 40 gallons a week into?”
He said mandating the availability of conventional gasoline in the marketplace would be a poor policy response to a limited demand for non-ethanol gasoline.
Compare that with mandating the availability purchase of ethanol gasoline in the marketplace as a policy response to limited demand for ethanol gasoline. Earlier in the article, Thorne noted that he was not an economist, in response to questioning the effect that mandates have on the disappearance of conventional gasoline. He noted that if there is demand for it, markets will continue to provide it. Well — there was demand for it, and government mandated that refiners demand a different product. There wasn’t demand for significant amounts of ethanol, but I assume Thorne supports government mandates for it.
In related ethanol news, the EPA is expected soon to release its decision concerning the use of E15 in MY 2001-2006 vehicles. Bob Dineen wants to have a “constructive” debate about energy tax/subsidy policy. Growth Energy has submitted requests to make the E15 label less intimidating for consumers (note that their label excludes the EPA label which alerts consumers that use of E15 in older vehicles might cause damage).
Image credit: Rascaille Rabbit’s flickr photostream.