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Published April 14, 2014, 10:20 AM

Ethanol and government myths debunked

Orrie Swayze from Watertown, S.D., and I have traveled many miles together as friends and American Coalition for Ethanol founding board members. We have gained a historical perspective on ethanol. I am certainly old enough to have one, and I have always wanted to team with Orrie to share our perspectives with others.

By: Merle Anderson, Agweek

Orrie Swayze from Watertown, S.D., and I have traveled many miles together as friends and American Coalition for Ethanol founding board members. We have gained a historical perspective on ethanol. I am certainly old enough to have one, and I have always wanted to team with Orrie to share our perspectives with others.

First, we must remember that Henry Ford favored E30 for his model T: Then government teamed with oil to keep ethanol out of gasoline markets by creating misleading myths and fears that E30 was illegal and would ruin engines. Lead octane then poisoned our children unnecessarily for 50 years.

I want to throw the entire Environmental Protection Agency in jail because it has not enforced the law. The clean air act of 1990 federal law phased out lead and, at the same time, phased out comparably hazardous benzene associated octane to the maximum extent achievable. EPA breaks this law because this difficult-to-fully-combust, hazardous octane still makes up nearly 25 percent of gasoline content and causes nearly all of gasoline’s hazardous pollution. Thirty percent ethanol can replace this octane, plus ethanol’s tailpipe emissions are noncarcinogenic or relatively harmless.

Health risks are Orrie’s area, and he tells me, because of today’s 10 percent blend wall, our children unnecessarily experience hazardous benzene related octane’s increased incidence of birth defects, childhood cancers and asthma. We all should be mad that this happens just because auto, government and Big Oil interests created myths that have kept 30 percent ethanol from replacing gasoline’s polluting, hazardous octane.

The first government-enabled myth that built today’s ethanol blend wall is gasoline tailpipe emissions are safe enough. Interestingly, EPA requires oil’s propaganda labeling on the pump, saying E30 will damage standard auto engines, yet EPA does not require any warning saying gasoline emissions often damage children’s health.

Government’s second myth is it’s illegal to use E30 in standard autos, yet owners can legally choose popular E30 if there is, as EPA defines, a “reasonable” basis to believe emissions are improved. I have traveled more than half a million miles using E30 or higher blends in my standard autos, and I have never owned a flex fuel vehicle because I saw no need for one.

Government’s third myth is that dealers automatically void a standard auto owner’s warranty if fueling with E30: The Magnuson-Morrison warranty act requires dealers prove to the owner that E30 caused the part failure, a difficult if not fraudulent task, as parts are essentially the same in both flex and nonflex models. Check with your dealer. To date, there have not been any legitimate warranty issues, or I would have been one of the first to know.

Of course, there is the government myth that standard gas station pumps cannot safely pump E30. I chuckle at that one because standard gas station pumps were the only pumps available when E85 was introduced nearly 20 years ago, and they are still safely pumping E85.

My dream is every American and all of agriculture, including our sugar beet industry, would have access to an ethanol market that is not limited by EPA and Big Oil’s nonsense or the ethanol blend wall that has been in place since the first model T was built.

Editor’s note: Anderson is a founding member of the American Coalition for Ethanol.

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