Monday, September 12, 2005

show-me showdown: ethanolics anonymous

Well, I'll be darned. You can get ethanol gas in the KC metro, and it is cheaper than regular gas.

Sort of.

The thing that got my fingers doing the walking on, and had me wasting gas to go all the way out to the outer tendrils of our mini-megalopolis, was what Senator Jim Talent said at the Energy Committee meeting last week:
We conducted an informal survey of gas stations in Missouri that were pumping E-85, which is an 85 percent ethanol blend. And, uh, in a number of places it was selling for $2 a gallon. A dollar less than unleaded was selling in Missouri.

Well the stuff I found at the Casey General on the edge of civilization, 12 miles from my home, was a higher-octane 10-percent ethanol blend selling for $2.75 (minus .1 cent, of course), which was four cents less than the lower-octane regular. Which is kind of cool, I guess, except it's still more expensive than the cheapest stuff I found within two miles of my house.

If the gas cost what the Senator said, I woulda saved almost eight bucks, which would justify a trip out into the inner rural-o-sphere. At a tank a week, that's, like, a new iPod or something a year. But as it stands, I'm saving 40 cents a pop, which might earn me a CD in twelve months (and I'd steal thirty online by then).

Now, if I could guarantee that I'd get 10 percent less Iraq war by filling my tank on the edge of Independence with 10 percent ethanol, I'd be all over it.

So it might be time to write the old Senator a letter, to tell him that I couldn't find the bargains he bragged about. And what is this E-85 anyway? Will it even work in my car?

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