E85 Boondoggle of the Day: MI Stumps-Up $125k for Station Owners
Regular readers of this series will be familiar with the farrago of taxpayer-funded market distortions used to keep the E85 industry afloat. You’ll be familiar with the government “grants” bestowed upon gas station owners and fleet operators, to help them pay for the cost of offering 85 percent corn juice to customers who don’t seem to like it much, at all. So far, so patriotic (I guess). But here are a couple of new wrinkles, brought to you by Crains Business Detroit. First, Crains tells us that “The Michigan Energy Office has awarded a $125,000 grant for an Ypsilanti-based organization to offer incentives for service stations and public fleet owners to convert to ethanol. The Clean Energy Coalition will offer assistance covering half of the conversion costs to E85, up to $5,000 per site.” So government bureaucracy isn’t enough; MI needs a GM-supported non-profit to pay their own overheads with taxpayer money to dole out the dough. Sweet. And here’s another new one: “Under the program… Station and public fleet owners must commit to purchasing E85 for at least three years after receiving incentives.” So, even if the public [continues] to turn its back on “this increasingly requested fuel” (Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth Director Keith Cooley), the stations have to keep buying it? And put it where, exactly?