E85 Boondoggle of the Day: U.S. Gov Suckers Station Owners
There are two main reasons why E85 is going nowhere fast: over-production and under-consumption. The U.S. Department of Energy has tackled the latter part of the non-equation with a federally-funded report exhorting gas station owners to get on the corn juice bandwagon. E85 Retail Business Case: When and Why to Sell E85 advises that "E85 offers relief from this [local] competition by differentiating a station as green, cutting edge, patriotic, and pro-farmer." So, greenwashing it is! What about, you know, making money? "E85 projects can be profitable investments. However, their profitability depends on numerous factors… This checklist includes robust local competition in the gasoline market, access to low E85 costs, mid-grade tanks available for conversion, large potential throughput of E85, and state or local incentives for E85 infrastructure." Large throughput as in sales? Good luck with that. Meanwhile, there's lots of agri-prop. My favorite argument: who cares about gas anyway? The money's in snack foods and car washes! And that's good news because "even if E85 drew no new customers but merely converted gasoline customers from the same store, the number of customer visits would increase. This is because a vehicle’s range is reduced by 23% to 28% when operating on E85 because of ethanol’s lower energy content compared to gasoline." The mind boondoggles.