21 December 2010

More Misguided Regulation

To no one’s surprise, government intervention in the automotive industry will have predictably negative results:

So I shuffle and back-peddle a bit and listen while this guy explains to me that when alcohol exceeds 10% of regular gas it dissolves plastic engine parts. Things like fuel-lines or float gaskets in the carburetor. When the mixture is too rich the engine burns hot and wears out the rings. He explains that the legal limit is 10% but that all the fuel distributors cheat and mix in some extra alcohol so they can make a buck. When the mix gets to 15% it’s toxic for two cycle engines. And that is what killed my machines. He pulls off the gas line and shows me that it has deteriorated to the point where it has fused shut…
This bit spells out the problem with alcohol and gas. The EPA has now proposed that all gas contain 15%. They want the subsidies for ethanol to be expanded. Along the way they are going to shorten the life of all the engines we use. Progress? Stupidity??

So, the market, in its near-infinite wisdom, has figured out that low ethanol content in gasoline engines helps to preserve/extend the life of engines.  This yields am increase in reliability and lowers maintenance costs.  The EPA, in its push for “cleaner” fuels, is basically asking for less vehicle reliability in exchange for a slight improvement in air quality.

Of course, this will mean that there will be an increase in the production of vehicles and replacement parts.  I bet that this will also lead to an increase in the emission of pollution and greenhouse gasses.  If it does, the EPA will have completely failed at its mission of making the world greener. 

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