It is a renewable energy and would help the U.S. rely less on Middle East oil. Additionally, many feel ethanol does less harm to the environment than gasoline emissions.
However, the program in a lot of ways has done much more harm than good, both in the political landscape and in our own garages.
It turns out, ethanol-laced gasoline also gets worse gas mileage than traditional fuel.
And to top it off, many engineers and mechanics have concluded that ethanol is harmful to engines — especially small engines like lawn mowers, snow blowers, chain saws, generators and other two-cycle engines.
Boat motors also need ethanol-free fuel, and most marinas sell it. However, if you gas up your boat en route to a marina, you most likely will be putting ethanol fuel into your vessel’s gas tank, which can lead to serious issues down the road.
Some believe using gasoline with less than 10 percent ethanol might be OK, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2011 increased the amount of ethanol permitted in gasoline to 15 percent, despite strong opposition from the small-engine association.
Small-engine dealers in the Tri-Cities area are encouraging their customers to find ethanol-free gasoline, which isn’t easy to come by, to use in their small engines. In the Tri-Cities, premium gasoline at the Citgo station in Grand Haven and Ferrysburg and the Oaklea store in Robinson Township are ethanol free.
Some opponents charge Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat from the corn-rich state of Iowa, with masterminding the ethanol scam.
So, why is it so hard to pull the plug on the program?
Corn ethanol was always touted as a “stepping stone” to advanced fuels. That is still true in theory. But with the government supporting traditional ethanol for so long, it’s time to refocus our efforts on non-food-based fuels.
It’s time to write your congressman, senators and the White House and tell them what a corny idea ethanol fuel is.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.