A recent New York Times article has helped to expose the frustration of unwilling ethanol consumers and their suppliers. Marine and small engines are sputtering across the nation and fuel efficiency in our nation's cars has decreased and all due to ethanol, or at least that is how many consumers see it. According to the article small engine repair centers are seeing an increase in fuel system repairs in small engines. Some researchers have indicated that ethanol is safe for small engines however.
It is well known that ethanol does reduce fuel efficiency. Now some consumers are avoiding ethanol blends and in some cases avoiding certain gas stations to purchase 100 percent gasoline. A niche market may actually be developing for 100 percent gasoline. There are now websites dedicated to identifying stations that provide ethanol free gas in certain markets and marketing campaigns targeting ethanol conscious consumers. A gas station in Oklahoma hung signs heralding "No Corn in Our Gas" and a station in New York posted a sign stating "NO ETHANOL 100% GAS." Even a state agency, Oregon's State Marine Board, posted a list of ethanol free gasoline suppliers on its website.
If the ethanol battle is a war of PR campaigns, it appears that Grassley and the ethanol industry is taking a beating. So the question now is whether the markets will be allowed to work or if the federal government will continue to manipulate the liquid fuel market through subsidies, tariffs, and mandates.
Originally posted 07/31/08 on Grassley Watch