Could Ethanol Fuel Lead to Higher Costs for Drivers?

The debate over ethanol and fuel continues

Ethanol fuel
Ethanol could have an impact on the cost to fill up your car.
David J. Griffin/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Over the last year, drivers of internal combustion vehicles have seen gas prices get, shall we say, tumultuous. And while things seem to be more stable now, many a driver is likely wondering if (or when) they might see prices spike again. According to a new article from Autoblog, however, one source of a potential gas price increase could come from an unexpected source — which is to say, domestically produced ethanol.

At issue is a request by the governors of several Midwestern states to boost the sales of E15 gasoline to year-round status. E15 gasoline is 15% ethanol, as opposed to the widely available E10 gasoline, which is 10% ethanol. (Neither should be confused with rapper E-40, whose appearance on The Lonely Island’s “Santana DVX” is absolutely sublime.)

As per the magazine Ethanol Producer, the request was a bipartisan effort, with the governors of “Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin” all supporting it.

The consulting firm Baker & O’Brien Inc. conducted a study analyzing the impact of widespread E15 fuel, and discovered that it could raise the price of gasoline up to $0.12 per gallon — significantly more than a previous estimate, according to Autoblog.

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The status of the request that set all of this into motion remains up in the air. Another factor that could play into this debate are the potential environmental impacts of corn-based ethanol, which have alarmed some scientists. It’s a discussion that seems to be far from concluding.

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