E85 Boondoggle of the Day: Feds Have No Idea How Much They're Using

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

"Across government, the vast majority of E85 purchases made with government-issued credit cards don’t register as E85," FederalTimes.com reports. "One recent study suggests as much as two-thirds of E85 purchases are incorrectly recorded; another puts the figure at 82 percent." In other words, no one knows how much U.S. tax money is being spent on corn juice. In other other words, the feds are spending hundreds of millions of dollars propping-up the ethanol industry without a clue whether it's a waste of money or not (hint: it is). Yes, it's a major SNAFU. "To adjust for discrepancies in alternative fuel reporting, GSA [General Services Administration] in fiscal 2006 began reporting all fuel purchases for E85 vehicles governmentwide as E85 transactions when the cars went to stations that sell E85. But according to the November study… 45 percent of fuel purchases for E85 vehicles actually are gasoline rather than E85, meaning that GSA may be overestimating the amount of E85 purchased. "Our reports to Congress on alt fuels are suspect," says Marc McConahy of Vista Consultants, who studied the problem for two years for the Energy Department. "and I’m being kind when I say ‘suspect.'"

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • JJ JJ on Jun 23, 2008

    Prius Hybrid boondoggle of the day...well, yesterday, on TopGear... Prius M3 fuel economy Also relevant (slight overlap) TopGear fuel economy race, SLR, 599GTB, R8, Murciélago LP640, AM DBS

  • Anonymous Anonymous on Jun 23, 2008

    With billions of taxpayers dollars the government heavily subsidizes turning 30% of the countries corn into ethanol to replace a tiny percentage of the gasoline. Now these same taxpayers have the great luck to pay a huge increase in the price of food. And the government in their infinite wisdom prevent the importing of ethanol and stop the drilling for and producing the huge quantities of oil offshore and in Alaska. Then after all this government meddling the government blames evil 'Big Oil'. Of course not mentioning the fact that the government taxes 'Evil Big Oil' to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, and the government makes more profit off a gallon of gasoline than 'Evil Big Oil'. And a huge number of people believe the government Bolsheviks. Who would be so foolish to believe drilling for and producing the vast quantities of offshore and Alaska oil will not decrease Americas dependance on foreign oil?

  • Anonymous Anonymous on Jun 23, 2008

    If they want to know when a government employee fills the tank with E85, all they need to do is look at the gas mileage. Any upward spikes indicate gasoline; conversely, downward plummets indicate gasahol.

  • AJ AJ on Jun 23, 2008

    Great, so you are telling me the government doesn't know what their doing? LOL