By Eric Peters, Automotive Columnist
The government can force you to buy health insurance — so why not gas, too?
The EPA has just issued another mandate — this one requiring that people who buy gas at stations where E15 (15 percent ethanol content) is sold buy at least four gallons of fuel. (See here for the news story.)
Why, you ask?
Because EPA knows that E15 — which it is pushing aggressively (because of aggressive pushing by the corn lobby, which makes billions off the force-fed “sales” of its product) is extremely bad news for any vehicle made before model year 2001 — and nearly all outdoor power equipment such as lawn mowers and chainsaws and so on that were not designed to deal with high alcohol-content fuels.
Alcohol-laced “gas” is extremely corrosive and — in older vehicles (and power equipment) that lack the ability to automatically adjust their air-fuel ratios to compensate — it causes a lean-running condition that can quickly overheat and destroy the engine.
So: On the one hand, EPA knows ethanol-laced fuel is bad news. On the other hand, it is pushing for ever-higher ethanol content fuels like E15. And in order to prevent what EPA surely realizes could be a potential PR disaster — and spoil its goal of mandating widespread use of E15 — it has decided to force us to buy at least four gallons of fuel at any station where E15 is sold, so that (for the moment) the damage caused by high-alcohol content fuels is minimized.
Here’s the deal: Many stations have multi-fuel pumps. You have probably used them. You select whatever payment method you’re going to use, then you select the type of fuel you want: regular, mid-grade or premium. It flows from the same nozzle. Which means, if the person before you bought E15, some of the backwash is going in your tank (or your lawnmower’s gas jug).
By forcing people to buy at least four gallons, the EPA is trying to make sure that enough real gas (or at least, “gas” with relatively low ethanol content) gets mixed in with the 15 percent ethanol E15 it is trying to cram down our throats at the behest of the agri-business cartels, under the guise of “renewable” and “clean” energy ( which, of course, it’s not) in order to avoid potentially embarrassing mass carnage of older vehicles and power equipment… at least, for a little while. Here it is, directly from the horse’s mouth:
“EPA requires that retail stations that own or operate blender pumps either dispense E15 from a dedicated hose and nozzle if able or, in the case of E15 and E10 being dispensed from the same hose, require that at least four gallons of fuel be purchased to prevent vehicles and engines with smaller fuel tanks from being exposed to gasoline-ethanol blended fuels containing greater than 10 volume percent ethanol.” (Italics added.)
This is going to be fun for motorcycle owners — because many bikes have tanks that don’t hold four gallons of fuel. Bikes with larger tanks only have slightly larger tanks. Most would have to be on the verge of running on fumes, in most cases, to take on four gallons of fuel. What happens when they can only take on 3.5 gallons? Or two? Will they be arrested? Tazered? What?
Gas is also heavy. It weighs about six pounds per gallon. This matters when you’re filling up a gas jug for outdoor power equipment. It’s why most jugs are 1 or 2/1/2 gallons — manageable. The next-up size is five gallons. It weighs 30 pounds — not quite so manageable. Will people be arrested — fined — or Tazered — for filling up gallon jugs instead of five gallon jugs?
But, all this is merely preliminary. A temporary inconvenience. The purpose of EPA’s four gallon mandate is to grease the skids for the bet-your-rear end-coming mandate of E15 “gasoline.” Once E15 replaces E10 (the current mandate) then the problem is solved. No more need to fret the backwash — because all the “gas” will contain 15 percent ethanol.
And the reason for that, if you’re “paranoid” (read: someone who notices trends) is — beyond the obvious rent-seeking of the agri-business cartel — the EPA’s determination to end-run exterminate older (especially, pre-computer) vehicles. This serves several purposes. First, it “helps” another corporatist cartel — the auto industry — since it de facto forces people to buy new cars — once their old cars have been rendered kaput. The corporatist state wants everyone on the monthly payment plan. Debt-free is anathema to its workings.
Second, killing off older vehicles eliminates the problem (for the government and its corporate cronies) of people outside the control grid. If you own an older, pre-computer car it is a threat to their plans because it is not subject to easy monitoring and control in the way a new car — fitted with mandatory Event Data Recorder black boxes and (almost always) a GPS receiver tied into its operating systems — is. When, for example, it becomes “the law” for all vehicles to be fitted with real-time data transponders that record everything you do behind the wheel (see Progressive Insurance; voluntary… for the moment) no vehicle not capable of being so monitored will be allowed.
Rather than the old frontal assault — an overt ban or even restrictions on their use — the subtler solution is to poison them to death. Feed them caustic fuel — and the “problem” takes care of itself.
Once E15 is mandated — and it will be mandated — the die will have been cast. Within a handful of years, anything not built to tolerate the alcohol-swill will be “retired.”
It’s devilishly clever, I’ll give them that. But it’s the work of the devil, nonetheless.