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Ethanol Blamed For Cop Cars Breakdown

Somehow this story from last week’s Baltimore Sun did not get much attention:

Excess ethanol blamed in breakdown of police cars

Baltimore expects to be able to recover expenses

By Justin Fenton | The Baltimore Sun

September 23, 2009

City officials say an unusually high concentration of ethanol in the city’s gasoline supply contributed to the breakdown of more than 70 police cars over the weekend, most of which had been repaired and returned to service Tuesday.

More than 200 police cars fueled up at a 24-hour, city-run gas pump by the Fallsway before cars started showing problems, and nearly one-third of the Police Department’s patrol contingent was sidelined with engine trouble.

Police doubled up in cars before activating a reserve and shifting administrative vehicles into service.

Officials had expressed concern that the unleaded gasoline might have been mistakenly refilled with diesel, but results from a lab in Towson showed that ethanol was the apparent culprit.

Khalil Zaied, director of general services, said the city’s supplier, IsoBunkers of Norfolk, Va., was conducting its own tests and that the city’s legal team believes the city can recoup all expenses related to the incident.

Those expenses remained unclear Tuesday, but all of the repair work was done in-house, Zaied said.

"We had folks working literally 24 hours at all stations," Zaied said of the effort to get the police cruisers back on the streets. "They did a wonderful job."

Ethanol is mixed with gasoline at the pumps and is used to reduce carbon monoxide emissions, becoming more widespread in recent years as a replacement for methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MTBE, an additive that has led to concerns about groundwater contamination.

Most automobiles are not designed to handle blends with more than 10 percent ethanol, and higher levels of ethanol can cause engine damage.

More unintended consequences – that will be carefully ignored.

Unless this was another attempt to get more gas-guzzling ‘clunkers’ off the road by destroying their engines.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, September 28th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “Ethanol Blamed For Cop Cars Breakdown”

  1. proreason says:

    I made the mistake of trying corn gas once.

    Cost me $250.

    But at least I caught it before it ruined the car completely.

  2. P. Aaron says:

    Today’s Detroit News references the article and has a few other points:


  3. Grassy Knoll says:

    This sounds like good old-fashioned stupidity to me. Look, it’s pretty simple: if you don’t have a flex-fuel vehicle, then you don’t put E-85 in your car, or any other blend more than 10%. I guess you have to be smarter than the pump. And the city’ s legal team is going to recoup the expenses? Are they smarter than the Mensa members who filled the cars with the wrong blend of fuel?

  4. bousquem says:

    I’m so thankful I bought a new car, a diesel, when my old car broke 100,000 miles and was 10 years old. Diesel costs me about 14 cents more a gallon but I get about twice the fuel efficency. I noticed when all the gas stations converted over to the ethanol blend that my mileage was worse and I was still paying just about the same if not more for fuel and the grocery bill went up because corn prices went up. The new clean diesel technology is great and should help cut down on the oil imported, though watch the enviromentalists in a few years start complaining that we need to only do solar powered cars or something as diesel will be putting too much carbon out and we need to get rid of alot of the fields in the midwest and other places corn is grown to let it return to natural, people who have farmed the land and make a living off it be damned.

  5. Reality Bytes says:

    Car 54 Where Are U?! “Wasting time on a flat bed dag gammit!”


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