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Farm Alcohol Faces Bad Publicity
Negative publicity about rumored bad effects of alcohol-blended gasoline is shaking up the ethanol fuel industry which grinds up millions of bushels of corn each year to make alcohol fuel. Plugging problems with popular fuel injection autos is the primary problem. Everyone blames the alcohol additive. Some oil companies have eliminated alcohol from their gasoline. Others have not only eliminated it they've put up big signs announcing the fact at their gas stations.
According to Archer Daniels Midland Co., the nation's largest producer of ethanol, alcohol's getting a bad rap. Doug Snyder, ADM spokesman, says that because ethanol makes up 10% of the gas-fuel mix, mechanics and consumers use it as a scapegoat for problems that develop with fuel injection cars, which easily plug. "The problem is really with low quality of the gasoline itself. Even General Motors has recognized the problem and asked refiners to clean up their products."
All of the "big three" automakers honor warranties on cars that use ethanol-blended fuels. And ADM states that, if anything, alcohol is actually cleaner than gasoline. "It has been used successfully on a widespread basis across the country for the past 6 years," Snyder notes.
The ethanol fuel industry is fighting back by adding detergents to alcohol that, when blended with gasoline, will actually eliminate the plugging problem with injectors. In addition, the National Corn Growers Association has taken out full-page ads in major metropolitan newspapers, and commodity groups, such as the Nebraska Wheat Growers Association, have voted to boycott gas stations that don't sell ethanol blended fuels.


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1986 - Volume #10, Issue #5