E85 Boondoggle of the Day: Indiana Police Bail on Biofuel

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
e85 boondoggle of the day indiana police bail on biofuel

You know the sinking price of gas has stopped the E85 industry in its tracks when the corn growers’ local government turns its back on the biofuel blend. Indiana’s jconline.com reports that “After a 60-day trial run this summer, the West Lafayette Police Department has decided to no longer fill half of its patrol fleet with E85… Chief Jason Dombkowski said last week that officers making the six-mile trip to fill up ended up cutting too much into what the department saved.” Even with the .50 a gallon federal blenders’ credit, E85 just couldn’t make the grade. “We compared it by cost per mile,” [fleet maintenance director Tim] Bullis said. “When regular unleaded and E85 were $1 apart, it was a tossup. The closer the prices became, the less effective the savings from E85.” Oh, as a quick aside, t he ethanol industry’s year in review has coined a pet name to demonize retail organizations who claim that corn-based E85 drives up food prices: Big Grocery.

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  • AJ AJ on Dec 23, 2008

    The ethanol plants here in Indiana I assume received some type of State help during the last few years. There was a lot of promoting going on by our State government when it was politically correct to hate oil in the interest of Indiana "going green". In my county, just south of West Lafayette, there is only one gas station that I am aware of that sells, or did sell E85. And it is a big county too.

  • Tced2 Tced2 on Dec 23, 2008

    And the maintenance director is describing one of the overlooked secrets of E85 - it contains less energy than gasoline and therefore yields less gas mileage. One of the E85 plants in Indiana has declared bankruptcy. And I believe construction on some others has been delayed. And this is an industry that is receiving a lot of subsidies from government - the economics must not be good for this business.

  • R H R H on Dec 23, 2008

    "There's more than corrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrn in indiana..." Yep, there is real gasoline as well, no?

  • John Horner John Horner on Dec 23, 2008

    Decreased range is also a real issue. The cruisers are going to have to stop to fill up much more often on E85 than on real gasoline. Biodiesel is at least a decent fuel which competes well with traditional diesel for energy density. E85 is not a great fuel at all.