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I know a good use of gigantic oil company profits and a consumer gas tax

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.

Reader Comments


October 27, 2006 4:22 PM

This is the silliest suggestion/idea I've read on this column. Why should the gov't strongarm the oil companies (or anyone else for that matter)to do anything with profits/income that was legally earned just because you believe the profits are excessive? If this is such a great idea Mr. Kiley, what if someone thought that you earned too much money and wanted the government to take some of that money for a "better" purpose? Would you bow to such pressure? Your political correctness is rapidly diminishing what little credibility you have (had).


November 9, 2006 8:01 AM

E85 and alchahol is not the best way to go. Can anybody explain to me why I can't buy an SUV with a diesel engine? Why can't I buy a vehicle that runs on natural gas? Both vehicles have perfectly clean exhaust. (Assuming the diesel uses vegitable oil). Has the politicaly correct environmental movement shut off the use of alternative fuels? Any increase in fuel taxes should be used to build mass trassit. The rail system should be as extensive as our highway system.

Edward McClelland

November 12, 2006 11:10 AM

I can't believe we are even discussing this. It can't be too difficult to upgrade a pump to handle E85. What a bunch of crap!

Samuel McKibben

September 15, 2007 2:43 PM

Please could you let me know - if you know? Can the newhigh pressure diesels run on vegitable oil or not? I only see folk running old diesels on this kind of oil. Than you


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