Despite state efforts, ethanol fails to gain against gasoline in Georgia

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ATLANTA - State efforts to make ethanol a convenient and profitable alternative to gasoline are having limited success.

In 2007, legislators passed a pair of laws to encourage the manufacture and sales of E85, a blend of 15 percent ethanol, because lawmakers saw fuel made from plants like pine trees as a solution to multiple problems.

"The General Assembly finds and declares that facilitating E85 [would provide] improved air quality in this state through reduction of combustion of gasoline in motor vehicles; aid compliance with federal air-quality standards; promote the use of alternative domestic fuels that reduce dependence on foreign petroleum supplies; and enable increased availability of motor fuels crucial to the state's economy, welfare, and public safety, which may be especially critical in times of natural disaster or international crisis," one of the laws states.

The first measure removes the sales tax on materials used in the construction of factories that manufacture ethanol in Georgia. However, the tax break hasn't been enough to prevent several of them from failing, most notably the recent news that First United Ethanol is struggling with $100 million in debt.

A second law has resulted in grants totaling $452,000 that to allow retailers to install the specialized pumps required for E85.

"Georgia's E85 grant program has expanded the availability of E85 across the state," said Shane Hix, director of public affairs for the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority, which distributes the grants. "Through the state program alone, E85 pumps at 23 filling stations have opened, helping to increase the number of stations offering E85 from only four stations just two years ago."

However, the state hasn't added cars equipped for E85 to its fleet since there are still too few pumps dispensing it.

"That's why the state doesn't use that many of them," said Brad Douglas, commissioner of administrative services, which manages the state's motor pool.

But even where E85 may be plentiful, the Department of Administrative Services doesn't encourage agencies to buy ethanol-compatible vehicles.

"We've done the analysis, and E85 doesn't pay for itself," Douglas said.

What about the state's strategy to develop an alternative-fuels industry?

"That's where policy doesn't meet reality," he said.

walter.jones@morris.com, (404) 589-8424

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ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
7337
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 09/04/09 - 06:12 am
0
0
I've tried to use ethanol

I've tried to use ethanol blended fuel and find that my mileage is reduced by about 15% when I use it over nonethanol gasoline.

southern2
5942
Points
southern2 09/04/09 - 06:49 am
0
0
Where can you find

Where can you find non-ethanol gas? We are also a victim of reduced mileage. Another great government failure.

walrus4ever
354
Points
walrus4ever 09/04/09 - 06:49 am
0
0
You need at least a 40 cent

You need at least a 40 cent difference in price per gallon to offsey the reduced mileage and retailers wont give that reduction at the pump. I leave it alone.

Ginette
3
Points
Ginette 09/04/09 - 09:00 am
0
0
Do Gas Station at 2851

Do Gas Station at 2851 Washington Rd (close to Boy Scout Rd) has non-ethanol gas at about the same price as others. Our mileage is much better when we use the no ethanol gas.

Crazy Irish
0
Points
Crazy Irish 09/04/09 - 09:15 am
0
0
If you are in Aiken, there is

If you are in Aiken, there is a place on the corner of Pine Long Rd. and Howlandville Rd. The price is the same and others but I get much better mpg.

gnumbgnuts
0
Points
gnumbgnuts 09/04/09 - 10:11 am
0
0
Whoever sold this nation on

Whoever sold this nation on the 10% blend we see at almost every pump, and the E85 15% blend is a genius! He could sell Frigidaires to eskimos. Ethanol is a filler with no BTU value compared to gasoline. These blends should priced accordingly.

Little Lamb
45170
Points
Little Lamb 09/04/09 - 12:02 pm
0
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I started using Do Gas

I started using Do Gas several months ago, and my car runs better and gets better mileage. Ethanol has fewer BTUs per pound than gasoline. You can not get blood out of a turnip, and you cannot get better mileage out of fewer BTUs.

Fiat_Lux
15025
Points
Fiat_Lux 09/04/09 - 01:06 pm
0
0
I use Do Gas on Washington

I use Do Gas on Washington Road, but be aware that they have automatic shut-off at $35. There also is an Exxon station on South Belair just south of I-20 that sells non-ethanol gas, and no shut-off limit. At today's prices, based on mpg, I generally save $8--$15 per tank of gas by using non-ethanol. That really adds up with multiple cars on the road.

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