Posted by: David Kiley on October 27, 2006
The New York Times reports today that gas stations and testing labs are finding some corrosion on pumps dispensing E85 fuel. This is not surprising given the fact that car engines have to be specially designed to handle the fuel so avoid corrosion from the alcohol content of the fuel. Did nobody think about the pumps too? Jeeesh!
Turns out, according to the Times that the pumps were certified only for fuel that contained a max of 15% ethanol, not E85.
The finding is heightening concerns among oil companies about the safety of E85 pumps, and could threaten to slow the expansion of the fuel, which automakers, President Bush and lawmakers are pushing as a homegrown alternative to Middle East oil.
Whether or not you agree that ethanol is a technology and fuel we should be pursuing (there is disagreement), the U.S. is clearly making a commitment to it. This seems like a clear case where leadership is needed. The Administration should be pressuring oil companies (no, seriously)to use some of the ginormous profits they are making to modify pumps to handle the fuel. If the oil companies want to avoid windfall profit taxes from what may well soon be a Democratic controlled Congress, they might just think of the gesture first.