Eric Kerby: Photography, Web Design, Programming

Ethanol has a public image

July 4th, 2006 at 5:29 pm

Ethanol on the front lines

Happy Independence Day! This past weekend we drove up to Virginia's northern neck to see my aunt, uncle, cousins, and their new pug puppy. When we stopped for gas before the trip, I had to snap a shot of a sign on the pump, "Contains up to 10% ethanol." Originally, I thought this was to feed off of recent somewhat positive media exposure, but it seems more is involved. If you want a good read, follow my link to this PDF from the Virginia Petroleum, Convenience and Grocery Association. By the way, my Treo 700p's camera seems to work quite nicely outside. Read on for more info and another photo.

I'm not sure for how long, but Virginia has a law requiring the labeling of all pumps with blends greater than 1% of ethanol. Earlier this year, it seems there has been a huge push to rid the state of MTBE, an oxygenate that has been banned in many states. Ethanol blends serve to replace MTBE to meet octane requirements in gasoline. For those of you who have not heard my ethanol speech, I mentioned how the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act mandate oxygenate requirements for many areas with higher air pollution. Various regions selected different oxygenates, but these days they all seem to be moving to ethanol. Virginia is moving to ethanol not because of law, but because of the lack of liability protection for MTBE use by oil suppliers. Again, review this PDF from VPCGA and this info regarding reformulated gasoline (RFG) by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

I can only hope alternative ways to producing ethanol develop very quickly, or we will find ourselves in a pickle with the corn based junk. Also, it is worth noting that currently ethanol costs nearly a dollar more per gallon than regular gasoline. That is after government subsidies and for pumps in the Corn Belt states. It would be even more expensive with smaller subsidies and for states farther from ethanol plants. In other words, that "up to 10% ethanol" content is contributing to the high gas prices across the United States.

Here's another shot of the pump:

2 Responses to “Ethanol has a public image”

  1. Chris Grenga Says:

  2. Kim Says:

    Being said aunt, I am a little disgusted that you spent more time on the gas than your visit with ME!! I see where I rate-humph! I'll check back regularly for more on your nice visit to the country (details about people NOT computers or other inanimate object ERIC). . .wink, wink.

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