The ethanol industry bribed your congressmen into forcing ethanol into
your car's tank. Another giant scam.
Last July was bad enough for motorists on a budget -- gasoline prices had
shot up to more than $4 a gallon. But for some the pain in the pocketbook
was about to get worse. At City Garage in Euless, Tex., for example, the
first of numerous future customers brought in an automobile whose fuel
pump was shot. A quick diagnosis determined that that particular car had
close to 18% ethanol in the fuel. For that unlucky owner, the repairs
came to nearly $900. The ethanol fun was just beginning.
City Garage manager Eric Greathouse has found that adding ethanol to the
nation's gasoline supply may be a foolish government mandate, but it has
an upside he'd rather not deal with. It's supplying his shop with a slow
but steady stream of customers whose plastic fuel intakes have been
dissolved by the blending of ethanol into our gasoline, or their fuel
pumps destroyed. The average cost of repairs is just shy of $1,000.
It gets better. Scott Morrison is the owner of the City Garage chain in
North Texas and he related the story of his technical director's run-in
with ethanol; in December he filled up his E85 Flex Fuel Chevy Suburban
at the Exxon station in Ovilla, just south of Dallas. His Suburban died
on the spot, because even an E85-equipped vehicle will not run on the
100% pure ethanol that Exxon station was pumping that day. In that case
it was not Exxon's fault but a mistake at the distribution center, and
Exxon (xom.) quickly made good for the cost of repairs.
On Jan. 16 of this year, Lexus ordered a massive recall of certain 2006
to 2008 models, including the GS Series, IS and LS sedans. According to
the recall notice, the problem is that "Ethanol fuels with low moisture
content will corrode the internal surface of the fuel rails." In layman's
terms, ethanol causes pinpoint leaks in the fuel system; when leaking
fuel catches your engine on fire, that's an exciting way to have your
insurance company buy your Lexus. Using ethanol will cost Toyota (tm.)
An Unpublicized Trend
Though the media is ignoring it, one can easily find many stories on BMW
(BMWG.DE) blogs relating similar problems with fuel systems damaged by
the use of ethanol. Certainly that was the case with Christi Jordan and
her 2007 Mini. For weeks it was difficult to start; Moritz BMW in
Arlington, Tex., inspected it and found severe carbon buildup inside the
engine. On her second trip to the mechanics they decided to test the
ethanol content of Christi's fuel and found it was much higher than the
federally mandated limit of 10%. This time the fuel pump had been
destroyed by the ethanol. The repair bill came to $1,200: As in all cases
where vehicles are damaged by ethanol, legally the factory warranty no
Jim Keppler, Moritz's fixed operations director, said he's had at least
10 other cases of ethanol poisoning in Minis over the past six months.
Christi was one of the lucky ones; Moritz covered her repairs. But
there's no telling how many motorists across the nation have had to pay
for fuel pumps, or fuel systems, that ethanol damaged. Most were probably
unaware of the real culprit behind the breakdown, because virtually no
repair shop tests the level of ethanol in the gasoline when these fuel
system problems occur.
And there are active lawsuits from boat owners; ethanol broke down the
resins in their fiberglass gas tanks, destroying their marine engines.
Additionally, those who deal in small gas engines for lawnmowers, edgers,
and weedeaters have quickly learned that, as Briggs & Stratton's (bgg.)
Web site warns, "Ethanol-blended gasoline can attract moisture, which
leads to separation and formation of acids during storage. Acidic
gasoline can damage the fuel system of an engine while in storage. B&S
strongly recommends removing ethanol-blended fuels from engine during
Like motorists, if landscaping tool owners put gasoline with more than
10% ethanol in their small engines, that immediately voids any factory
warranties. In the case of the Lexus recall, using just a 10% ethanol
blend was found to be destroying many of these engines also.
Another Government-Mandated Mistake
It now appears that in just a few years since the government forced
ethanol use on the country, engine and fuel system failures caused by
ethanol are causing major damage to more and more new and used vehicles.
This means the hapless owners are not only paying for snake oil in lower
fuel efficiency and more smog, but pay again when it damages their
vehicles and lawn mowers.
Pushed into it by the corn growers' and ethanol refiners' lobbying
organizations, today the EPA is starting to go through the public comment
phase on increasing the level of ethanol in our gasoline from 10% to 15%.
Time and time again we have heard from these groups, who now claim that
there is zero scientific evidence that a 15% blend of ethanol would do
any damage whatsoever if the mandate for ethanol were raised. As with all
statements made by vested interests, few outsiders have actually taken
the time to look and find out whether this statement was true.
In fact, it's false.
Not one mechanic I've spoken with said they would be comfortable with a
15% blend of ethanol in their personal car. However, most suggest that if
the government moves the ethanol mandate to 15%, it will be the dawn of a
new golden age for auto mechanics' income.