Why BioTown, USA doesn't have any ethanol

Well, this doesn't bode well for the ethanol industry. They've had ten years to get a system in place in Reynolds, Ind. (that's when Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels bequeathed the name "BioTown" on Reynolds), but it just isn't working. The idea is good: power all the cars in one small town with ethanol, heat all the homes with the methane gas from the town sewers and nearby hog farms. The results are not.

While there are 135 "ethanol-burning cars" in town (the article in the Indianapolis Star doesn't specify that they are E85-compatible, but I assume they are), but no gas stations that sell ethanol fuel. The one gas station in town finally began work to install E85 and biodiesel pumps this month. Right now, the nearest E85 pump is 30 miles from Reynolds.

Still, the government and businesses are supporting BioTown. General Motors gave away 20 free two-year leases on E85 vehicles to BioTown residents through a lottery, and gave massive discounts to residents who didn't win but wanted to buy the vehicles.

It's not that the town is against ethanol. The Town Council president told the Star that, "We're addicted to oil. It'd be nice if we were addicted to ethanol" and town residents quoted in the article say they want to use the fuel. The problem is that there's no supply in town and high costs of ethanol where it is available have kept people away from putting E85 in their cars. It's likely, residents said, that when all of the new ethanol plants really start pumping ethanol into the nation's fuel supply in the next few years, that it'll be easier on the wallet to switch. Good luck, BioTown.

[Source: Indianapolis Star]

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