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End of ethanol-free gas fuels controversy - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

End of ethanol-free gas fuels controversy

Colchester, Vermont - July 9, 2010

Your options at the pump will soon be limited. The federal government is doing away with ethanol-free gas and now all octanes will have a 10 percent ethanol base. Ethanol is a corn derivative, and operators were not thrilled to hear the news because of the problems ethanol gas can cause.

"I actually didn't know about that and I'm really surprised," said Craig Brett of Maine. "Having the non-ethanol gas has been huge for us with boats and other types of small motors. We see all sorts of problems with the ethanol gas."

"We didn't know that," said Jim Cody of New York. "I wish they could do something. We prefer non-ethanol. But I guess you got to roll with the times."

A few locations around the state pride themselves on their ethanol-free product, but their supply will soon run out.

"We've been able to get enough via rail car to the Middlebury terminal to get us through maybe the middle of September and then after that it's done," said Keith White of the Champlain Oil Company.

Operators say they are on the lookout for ethanol-free stations, because small engines run into trouble when fueled by ethanol-based gasoline.

"Come out of my way to get non-ethanol gas at this station. And it's a real bummer if it's not available," Brett said.

"It just don't run as good," Cody said. "Our lifeline revolves around engines, so they have to be running at top condition."

"I just think there should be more of a choice," said Tom Orth of South Burlington.

Vermont Congressman Peter Welch says he is not backing the Environmental Protection Agency's decision either.

"I don't think it's a practical step by the EPA. This is one of those regulations that may have good intentions, but has bad consequences," said Welch, D-Vermont.

Welch does not support the corn product and believes there are less expensive and less damaging options.

"I'm in favor of reducing the subsidy for ethanol and trying to use other biomass crops," Welch said.

Boaters say their water hobby will now come with more of a cost.

"I got a few little containers here. So I'm out of luck," Brett said. "I don't know what I'm going to do. Just pay more to get my boat serviced, I guess."

"Well you know what boat stands for? 'Bout another thousand dollars. When you're going to play on the lake it's no different than with people with snow machines in the winter. You're going to have to pay it. But it's too bad," Orth said.

For those concerned about the damaging effects ethanol-based fuel can have on small engines there are products you can purchase to counteract their effect.

Molly Smith - WCAX News

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