• Gulf Oil and Amoco refused to allow their credit cards to be used for the purchase of gasohol, in spite of the federal mandate.• Shell imposed an added 3.5 percent surcharge on gasohol.
• Ethanol was disparaged by stations adorned with signs reading “contains no alcohol, ethanol, or methanol,” implying that such gasoline additives make for inferior fuel.
• Some oil companies prohibited ethanol storage at their depots.
• All the major oil companies, save Texaco, required de-branding of gas pumps containing ethanol, again implying an inferior product.
But here is something profound:
Today, there are more than 17 million flex-fuel cars on American roads capable of running on E85, a mix of 15 percent petroleum product and 85 percent ethanol.
Because there are few places to find E85, the tax credits these vehicles bestow on their makers, which limit their liability for fines under CAFE regulations for their otherwise too-thirsty fleets, are undeserved.
Nonetheless, if carmakers know that amount of ethanol can work, why is it that the oil industry is still busy today insisting that fuels with only 15 percent ethanol — certified, incidentally, by the EPA for use in all cars built after 2001 — is a disaster for car owners?