• Apr 29, 2006
Filling stations in the heart of the oil industry were out of gasoline Friday after logistical problems delayed distribution of ethanol to fuel terminals.

The problem surfaced as oil companies switch from MTBE to ethanol as an anti-smog additive. Similar problems caused supply problems on the U.S. East Coast last week.

Because ethanol-based reformulated gasoline is easily contaminated by water, the gasoline and ethanol must be sent separately to distribution terminals (like the facility shown at right) and mixed  at the terminal before being trucked to gas stations. MTBE-based gasoline was sent to the terminal via pipeline, ready for distribution. Getting the ethanol to the terminals has proven to be more of a challenge than expected.

[Source: CNN/Money]


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  • 14 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Don't believe the Bush Hype! Studies that have been around since the 90's, by even the DOE, have shown that E10 and E15 gas is better than your regular gas, giving a 2.5 point increase in Octane for only a 3% loss in MPG. But Big Oil (and the Shrub in the White House) don't want you to know this. They've hidden this from you, and even made the DOE pull their own reports to hide this from you. DON'T BE A LEMMING!!!
      • 8 Years Ago
      @ Eric C.

      That doesn't surprise me a bit.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It probably isn't worth comment,but, I assume you were talking about trucks putting ethanol in storage. With only 600 pumps nation wide selling E85 and E85 distilleries being planned, built, and opened all over the mid-west along the same lines as new bio-diesel plants, there may just be a problem. Considering only about 1 out of every 15 vehicles produced and sold here can burn E85. I don't think we have a E85 station in New England. Sounds like production has outstripped the demand.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Most imported ethanol gets hit with about $.54/gallon in fees but only a few cents of that is a tariff. $.51/gal is to insure that the blenders (the terminal people) don't double dip on the $.51/gal incentive (that incentive is applied regardless of the source).

      And, with sugar at a 25-year high right now, the ethanol from Brazil is not going to be that cheap anyway.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Hey that Ferrari looks stunning do you think George Bush owns one with his salary or not? My guess is the rich dont care about the prices they earn endless amounts of interest daily.I know its a pain in the back side but we gotta get on with it guys.
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      http://www.mikesnewsBlog.com
      http://www.MikesCasinoBlog.com
      • 8 Years Ago
      #8 Shades of the California energy crisis! I suppose Enron isn't playing a part this time though ;-)
      • 8 Years Ago
      The gas in the Midwest has been E10 blended for dozens of years. My dad has been filling up with the same "gas-ahol" from the same station for the last 30+ years. But now suddenly the same gas that has been made and blended locally is sky high and suffering from shortages.

      My neighbor who works for the local refinery says there have been no supply problems on his end. The same number of trucks has been leaving his plant all topped off. But he also said his boss has been talking about running out of places to store the gas. Apparently, the trucks have been pumping the gas into abandoned underground storage tanks, instead of delivering it to the supply chain. I'm finding this all a little too disturbing. Someone please convince me this isn't true.
      • 8 Years Ago
      We need to get rid of ethanol AND gasoline and make Butanol from corn and whatever else we can grow in this country. Butanol can be sent via pipeline.

      But of course the oil companies don't want "hassle free" or a direct plug-in replacement for gasoline, do they?

      Obviously, neither do our politicians of either stripe.

      Time to fire them ALL. Oil companies, Democrats AND Republicans.
      • 8 Years Ago
      jordan,

      i dunno where you live, but here in Los Angeles they are already blaming the switchover for higher prices...

      "ohh no, we have to stop selling the MTBE stuff for the E10 stuff, but you know, this is going to create these logistical problems for us that is gonna delay shippments and raise prices. We can make a 8.5 BILLION dollar profit in THREE months, but we can't plan the logistics of a switchvoer we knew was comming for months..."

      Yeah, right. They use ANY excuse to raise prices. Right now it's a shortage, but once you are used to paying $3.40/gal and then there is no shortage, why would they lower the price? You already paid that much and the complaints are forgotten....so we just get screwed...
      • 8 Years Ago
      Note, too, that there's a tariff on imported ethanol that discourages importing the stuff from Brazil. You'd think the tariff would be eliminated during a time of tight ethanol supply.

      There is no oil shortage. There is a brain shortage in government. And it's not just the Bushies because most of today's oil problems are the fault of environmentalists. I just hope some of those Al Gore followers are enjoying their $80 fill-ups, too.

      Of course, John Kerry doesn't care what it costs to fill up his, uh......, his wife's SUV because he can fill the tank on her dime.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I want ethanol free gas. The EPA has approved that in February. I don't drive a carbureted vehicle.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Not trying to be the only pessimist here, but I hope they don't raise prices and blame the new MTBE-to-ethanol-change laws on the rate increase.
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