Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Jay Leno Hates Ethanol (Me, Too)

Didn't they ever hear the gasoline and alcohol don't mix?

Autoweek carries this explanation from the classic car aficionado.  People tell me that, sans mustache, I look like Jay Leno.  But don't be fooled into thinking he's just another incredibly handsome face.  The man is smart:

As someone who collects old cars, and keeps them up religiously, I am now replacing fuel-pressure regulators every 12 to 18 months. New cars are equipped with fuel lines that are resistant to ethanol damage, but with older cars, the worst can happen—you’re going down the road, and suddenly your car is on fire.
That would be bad.  Also, as Leno points out, you cannot leave ethanol-adulterated fuel sitting around for any length of time because of its hydrophilic nature.    

Why do we have this mess?  Jay nails it:

Blame the Renewable Fuel Standard. This government-mandated rule requires certain amounts of ethanol and other biofuels be blended with gasoline and diesel fuel. But when Congress first passed RFS as part of the Energy Policy Act in 2005, our demand for energy was increasing. Today, it’s the opposite. Total demand for fuel has decreased thanks to more-efficient vehicles, more hybrids and increased environmental awareness. The EPA is set to release the 2015 standard in June. Meanwhile, some legislators are pushing to reform or eliminate the Renewable Fuel Standard entirely.

I just don’t see the need for ethanol. I understand the theory—these giant agri-business companies can process corn, add the resulting blend to gasoline and we’ll be using and importing less gasoline. But they say this diversion of the corn supply is negatively affecting food prices, and the ethanol-spiked gas we’re forced to buy is really awful.

The big growers of corn have sold us a bill of goods. Some people are making a lot of money because of ethanol. But as they divert production from food to fuel, food prices inevitably will rise. Now, if you don’t mind paying $10 for a tortilla ...
This is one of those instances where political action could actually do some good.  I ding my Congressman and Senators every so often about the insanity of ethanol subsidies.  I think I'll send them the link to Jay's article with my next tirade. 

There are a couple of local stations where I can get non-ethanol fuel, but you have to go up to 91 octane premium.  That's not a problem for my bike which likes 91 anyway.  It's kind of silly for the lawnmower, trimmer, tiller and blower, but I do it just the same. 


  1. The small engine repair businesses love it. Which reminds me, need a new carb for my wife's Stihl arborist saw. Let it sit for a couple of years with ethanol gas. Rebuild kit still couldn't fix it. Grrrrrrr!

  2. At least Stihls are worth fixing. I grabbed a little Bolen's tiller three or four years ago because I needed one in a hurry. I even tried not to use the bad stuff in my pre-mix, but I guess I messed up enough that it died after two seasons. It's another project. I may try breaking it all down and seeing if I can revive it. I replaced it with a Stihl.

  3. I've had serious problems when I used ethanol-gas on my lawnmower. Had to take it to a repair shop, where the repair guy said if I didn't uses premium gas the carb would keep getting gummed up.
    Then this year I bought a new mower and the guy at Home Depot recommended I use pure gas in the mower. Then he was kind enough to tell me what station I could buy it at.

    I didn't know I could still get pure gas. Now I'm putting it in my truck too.It costs about 15 cents more a gallon but it will save a lot of wear and tear on the engine.
    And drastically reduce a possible car fire.

    Here's a link that shows all the stations, by state that still sell it:

    You guys probably already know about it but I'm glad I learned about it. Better late than ever, I reckon.
    I wonder how many billions in subsidies and car/mower/boat, etc. damage, as well as people getting hurt or killed by ethanol costs?
    Just to make some politicians feel good about themselves.

  4. That's a good link, Ben. Thank you.

    If you are in a strange town and you can't connect to the Web. Look for a biker. He or she will most likely know where the real gas is.