The new one-drop rule

Whatever the opposite of “booster” is, that’s what I am towards gasoline adulterated with 15 percent ethanol. I tolerate E10, since it doesn’t seem to have had any negative effects on my car as yet, but E15 I just don’t trust.

I hadn’t seen any E15 around town yet, so I had no idea how to respond to this:

But being me, I am required to get the facts of the matter, and they go like this:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated that all consumers in the United States must purchase at least 4 gallons of gasoline when they go to the gas station, if they are getting fuel from a pump that also offers a new E15 ethanol-gasoline blend.

The Obama administration wants consumers to use more of the E15 fuel — a blend that contains 15 percent ethanol — but the problem is that many gas stations use blender pumps, which offer several types of fuel and, after pumping, there always is a residual amount of fuel in the hose. E15 fuel can potentially damage engines made prior to 2000 and it cannot be used in motorcycles, ATVs, and many other engines, such as lawn mowers and boat engines.

So, to circumvent the potential problems, the EPA is requiring a 4-gallon minimum from blender pumps to ensure that any E15 fuel residue is diluted. (Stations that provide a completely separate, single hose for E15 only are exempt from the rule.)

The pump in the picture apparently vends both E10 and E15 — and possibly even E0.

My car, you’ll remember, was made in 2000. (Actually, it was made in September 1999, but it’s a 2000 model.)

The people most inconvenienced by this, I suspect, will be the ones who come up to you on the street and beg for gas money: they’re going to have to raise $15 or so to pay for four gallons’ worth.


  1. fillyjonk »

    1 June 2014 · 9:11 pm

    oh gads, what do we do these days that DOESN’T seem to violate some Federal law?

    If I’m heading off into the boonies (“Next gas station: 300 miles”) and topping off the tank will amount to >4 gallons, I’ll take my chances with the Feds catching me, rather than taking my chances at running dry 10 miles away from the next Love’s or whatever.

  2. fillyjonk »

    1 June 2014 · 9:11 pm

    Er, <4 gallons.

    It's late in the day for me.

  3. ms7168 »

    1 June 2014 · 9:31 pm

    I see people pre-paying for 1 gallon all the time. And even more often 2 gallons. I don’t expect that to change. Also since Ethanol is not being subsidized anymore and it actually costs them more to add it I don’t think we are going to see 15%

  4. CGHill »

    1 June 2014 · 9:43 pm

    The EPA could have avoided all this by simply not allowing E15 to exist in the first place, but then what would Congressmen do to suck up to states in the Corn Belt?

  5. backwoods conservative »

    2 June 2014 · 7:11 am

    You mean the people who are begging for money to get gassed with?

  6. McGehee »

    2 June 2014 · 7:44 am

    The two most recent replacements in my fleet are Flex-Fuel tolerant, so no need to buy 4 full gallons on our account.

  7. mushroom »

    2 June 2014 · 11:14 am

    The nearest gas station to my house — it’s about six miles — caters to the folks who drive out to the local drag strip. That’s where I go to pay extra for non-ethanol premium to use in my motorcycles, mower, trimmer, and ATV.

    We need to end this ethanol foolishness.

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