Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ethanol cripples Baltimore police department

Here is a great example of why the EPA should not be forced to permit higher concentrations of ethanol in gasoline.

As reported in the Baltimore Sun (below), an unusually high concentration of ethanol in the city’s gas supply helped cause the breakdown of nearly one-third of Baltimore city’s police cars.

What a pity HBO cancelled The Wire. Imagine the episode: drug dealers go on spree while cops fume. And start drinking the ethanol.

Seriously, this episode really ought to be a warning as the corn lobby presses its parochial agenda, whatever the cost to society.,0,1002895.story
Excess ethanol blamed in breakdown of police cars
Baltimore expects to be able to recover expenses
By Justin Fenton | The Baltimore Sun

September 23, 2009

City officials say an unusually high concentration of ethanol in the city's gasoline supply contributed to the breakdown of more than 70 police cars over the weekend, most of which had been repaired and returned to service Tuesday.

More than 200 police cars fueled up at a 24-hour, city-run gas pump by the Fallsway before cars started showing problems, and nearly one-third of the Police Department's patrol contingent was sidelined with engine trouble.

Police doubled up in cars before activating a reserve and shifting administrative vehicles into service.

Officials had expressed concern that the unleaded gasoline might have been mistakenly refilled with diesel, but results from a lab in Towson showed that ethanol was the apparent culprit.

Khalil Zaied, director of general services, said the city's supplier, IsoBunkers of Norfolk, Va., was conducting its own tests and that the city's legal team believes the city can recoup all expenses related to the incident.

Those expenses remained unclear Tuesday, but all of the repair work was done in-house, Zaied said.

"We had folks working literally 24 hours at all stations," Zaied said of the effort to get the police cruisers back on the streets. "They did a wonderful job."

Ethanol is mixed with gasoline at the pumps and is used to reduce carbon monoxide emissions, becoming more widespread in recent years as a replacement for methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MTBE, an additive that has led to concerns about groundwater contamination.

Most automobiles are not designed to handle blends with more than 10 percent ethanol, and higher levels of ethanol can cause engine damage.

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