NewsChannel 10 Investigates: Effects of ethanol in gasoline

NewsChannel 10 Investigates: Effects of ethanol in gasoline

AMARILLO- A local gas station here in Amarillo has prices 40 to 50 cents higher than the competitors.

The Shell station on Western St. and I-40 had regular unleaded gas priced at $3.89 a gallon Friday.

Despite several nearby gas stations selling fuel at a considerably lower price, it doesn't appear to be impacting business.

"We have ethanol free fuel," owner Bryan Madison said.

He claims his station is one of only two in Amarillo that doesn't lace its fuel with ethanol, a substance he says is bad for engines.

"It's already shown to eat up rubber components of fuel hoses," he said.

It's not just happening with cars.

"Something has got to be done about these lawn mowers and weed eaters that are dying," he added.

David Brogdon is the owner of Proffitt's Lawn and Leisure in Amarillo.

"We see a lot of repair issues with the ethanol," he said. "The hoses and gaskets are made out of rubber and several components are made out of rubber material and ethanol deteriorates them a lot faster."

Eventually they will have to be replaced.

"If your machine just came in for a fuel related issue on the carburetor caused by ethanol, you're looking at anywhere from $50 to $100.

The same issue can happen with cars.

Madison says the 40 or 50 cent difference is a small price to pay in the end.

Plus, he adds there are other benefits.

"You'll get two to three miles to the gallon more out of my fuel than you would anywhere else," Madison said.

This statement was confirmed by Texas AgriLife specialist Dr. Stephen Amosson.

"You're going to get lower mileage with ethanol," he said. "You aren't going to notice it a lot with a 10 percent blend rate, but if you were running something like E-85 which is 85 percent ethanol, you'd see a 25 to 30 percent drop in gas mileage"

Back at Madison's Shell station, he just wants residents to beware of what they are putting in their tank the next time they fill up.

"People do not realize it will tear up what they have," he said. "There is not enough knowledge about its true effects right now."

It's estimated that it takes 2 to 3 gallons of water to make 1 gallon of ethanol according to Dr. Amossen.

Madison says it's a waste of our natural resources but Amossen argues the entire reason ethanol is used today is to help free up our dependence on foreign oil.