E85 Boondoggle of the Day: CA to Subsidize E85 Stations
California's leaders are dreaming of a biofueled future, and they see E85 ethanol as a step in the right direction… for their campaign war chests. The LA Times reports that California wants to increase the availability of the 85 percent corn-based biofuel, by earmarking $25m in grants to set up 34 new E85 refueling stations. Unfortunately for those Californians who value clean air and energy efficiency, E85 takes more (fossil) fuel to refine than it offers, actually decreases fuel efficiency and increases emissions. Pretty ironic considering that the plan is justified by the California Environmental Protection Agency's Air Resource Board as a crucial component of the state's Climate Action Plan. So why is the state of California subsidizing the infrastructure of such a short-sighted fuel product? So that people in the fuel business don't have to actually pay for it themselves, of course. Installing an E85 pump costs about $50k. As Chevron spokesman Leif Sollid puts it "our marketers and retailers have not expressed a widespread desire to install E85 at their stations." Well, of course they haven't… because they know the only way to sell an unpopular product is to get the government to subsidize it. They also know that their $50k buys a lot more value as campaign campaign contributions.
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