What Reduces Fuel Mileage? The Ethanol Mandate


Despite ridicule from the McCain camp, Barack Obama stubbornly insists that checking tire pressure is worth the 3 to 4 percent it saves in fuel, even as independent authorities like AAA and Edmunds disagree on the substance of that claim.  

But in an ironic twist, Americans may be losing real mileage because of a federal “solution” championed by Mr. Obama. As an Illinois senator, Obama is firmly in the pocket of Illinois-based Archer Daniels Midland, head honcho of the ethanol lobby, which is behind the mandate that every gallon of gasoline be mixed with 10 percent ethanol (technically referred to as E10).

In a July 26 New York Times article, “In Gas-Powered World, Ethanol Stirs Complaints,” a AAA official reports that the “organization has been getting calls from members blaming E10 for mileage drops of 8 to 20 percent. Drivers in Tulsa., he said, are complaining to their local service stations, saying, ‘I used to get 28 mpg; last time around, I’m getting 25. What’s going on?’ ‘’ That’s anecdotal and non-scientific evidence, to be sure. But it’s anecdotal and non-scientific evidence of a 10-percent reduction in mileage.

In fact, the ethanol industry itself acknowledges that E10 reduces mileage by about 2 percent, because ethanol contains one-third less energy than gasoline.

The ethanol mandate: Raising your food prices while reducing your fuel mileage. What a deal.


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