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Blended Gasoline Becoming Mandatory

LAWTON Okla_ Many people might not know that you have the choice at the pump: whether to get 100 percent gasoline or gasoline mixed with at least ten percent ethanol.

That choice will gradually disappear, because of a renewable fuel standard.  It's an EPA requirement to produce more of that blended fuel in increasing amounts over the next ten years.

100 percent gasoline burns slower, giving you better gas mileage. While gas containing ethanol is better for the environment, it can also cause problems with fuel pumps and filters, especially in older model cars.

Local gas station manager Charles Collier said they've been selling 100 percent gasoline since they opened about five years ago.

"It's better," Collier said. "We constantly get compliments. If we keep on selling it, they're going to keep coming to buy it."

It's better for lawn mowers, weed eaters and chain saws, too. Mechanic Gary Bailey has seen firsthand the problems ethanol can cause in smaller engines.

"It gums up the carburetors, it eats up the rubber in the fuel lines and in the carburetor," Bailey said. "It's not good. "It's a lot better if they run straight gas in it, but it's getting harder and harder to find regular gas anymore."

The EPA's mandate will make it even harder, since it requires the production of 36 billion gallons of blended fuel by the year 2022. Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole agrees with those who believe drivers should still be allowed to choose which type of fuel they want in their cars.

"In this case, Congress literally tried to mandate what the fuel composition ought to be," Cole said. "That's not something we ought to be doing. The government will never respond quickly to changes in the marketplace."

Cole said right now, we're diverting a lot of corn to make ethanol for gas instead of using it for human consumption and animal feed.

"It's okay to do that if it makes sense economically, but to have a mandated market simply doesn't make a lot of sense," Cole said. "We have a lot of energy production going on in the United States, and we ought to put more effort into finding more traditional fossil fuels and using them."

Cole said ethanol is expensive to produce, so eventually fuel prices will go up. He said the marketplace should dictate the kind of fuels we need, not the government.

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