Is Ethanol Economical?

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Powering a car with corn? Sounds too good to be true, but you've probably already filled up with the feedstock?

Most gas stations already carry the ten percent blend some lawmakers want to make all stations use by the beginning of January 1, 2007. House Democrats unveiled the requirement as part of a six-bill package Tuesday saying it would help cut costs at the pump.

But Ethanol isn't that economical right now says Jake Ferris, Professor Emeritus at Michigan State University's Department of Agricultural Economics. There's only one operating plant in Michigan, Ferris says, although there is another in the works. New technology and government incentives, like the ones proposed, are needed to make a difference he adds.

Meantime, there's another ethanol blend on the market. It's called E-85, made up of 85 percent ehtanol and 15 percent gasoline. Only two stations in Michigan carry it. Don's Windmill Truck Stop in Dimondale is one of them.

You have to have a flexible fuel vehicle to use E-85, which costs about the same per gallon now as regular unleaded gasoline.