In case you missed it, America runs on Ethanol. This is a corn-based fuel additive that has been around since the 1970’s. Pushed by Agribusiness as an answer to the oil crisis back then, it has become big business endorsed (read: required) by the US government.
The problem is that it doesn’t work. In fact, it can damage engines.
Personal experience: In 2009, I purchased a brand new Impala SS and still drive it today. Shortly afterward, Ethanol appeared at every gas station. The label on the pump states: May contain up to 10% Ethanol. Other labels read: Contains at least 10% Ethanol.
I knew nothing of the biofuel except that it was the next best thing to happen to cars since fossil fuel. So, I filled up time and time again without a thought.
Then, my engine started to die. Literally. There seemed no rhyme or reason to it. Driving the highway at 70 mph, or along a residential area at 25 did not matter. With no warning, the engine dropped in power. My speed declined to ten miles per hour. Doing 25 in a residential wasn’t an issue. However, 70 on the interstate can be quite traumatic.
The dash display read: “Engine Power Reduced.” Followed by “Service Stabilitrack.” By some miracle, I survived each of these sudden power failures. Once able to get off the road, I turned it off, and waited. After several restarts, the error message on the dash disappeared. To add to the frustration, my mechanic reported no code errors recorded. So he couldn’t fix what wasn’t broken.
Then I found a forum on Edmunds.com with identical complaints. One member suggested Ethanol as the cause. He’d had his gas analyzed and found 45% Ethanol in his tank. Stopping the use of the bio-fuel has eliminated the problem for him.
I found one gas station, Wawa, which sells Ethanol-free gas. After three fill-ups, the problem has not returned. Perhaps the answer is that the computer couldn’t compensate for the half-gas mixture it was trying to draw power from. A few more trouble-free tanks will prove the point. (One can hope.)
Engine problems are not the only issue. Another demon of Ethanol is the diversion of actual food to third world countries going into our first world vehicles. How did we agree to feed our cars over our fellow starving human beings?
Here are some great articles if you’d like to read more about it, before you decide to stop using this piece of corn that is force-fed to us by the Feds.
And lastly, for my number-crunching peeps, here’s the word from the IMF on the situation:
Ethanol-free is a bit more costly. So ask yourself, is an extra fifty cents a gallon worth protecting your engine, the environment, and helping to feed your fellow man worth it?
I choose yes.
JL Mo is a mother of two full grown geeks, and Nana to their geeks-in-training. She is also the author of the McShane Mini-Mystery series, and has had a number of stories published in various anthologies which can be accessed on her Amazon Author Page.