Common sense doesn’t reside in Washington

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It’s good news that the marine industry recently generated a whopping 1,600-plus comments in just two weeks supporting the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to stop any increase in the quantity of ethanol required to be blended in gasoline for 2014.

But the bad news is that Ohio has just become the 14th state to see E15 being offered at the pump, a scenario we predict will lead to misfueling.

The nonsense comes from Glenn Badenhop, president of American Freedom Energy LLC, the first Ohio retailer to offer the fuel with 15 percent ethanol.

“Being a leader and not a follower, we believe in consumer choice,” Badenhop said. “Offering higher ethanol blends like E15 sets us apart from other stations, but also helps our local economies, helps the environment and helps reduce our addiction to foreign oil.”

Is he kidding or just short on facts?

Here’s actually what his company is offering: A likelihood of ruining marine engines, pre-2012 auto engines (per AAA’s recent warnings) and hundreds of thousands of other small engines by misfueling; much higher food prices for the local economy because we now burn 40-plus percent of our corn crop in fuel; ethanol that is now known to be bad for the environment; and a fairy tale that it will reduce imports of foreign oil.

It’s just more evidence that the marine industry must continue to press for the ultimate solution — the repeal of the current Renewable Fuels Standard. The ethanol mandate in the fuel standard might be the most convoluted and unworkable program ever enacted by Congress. Well, perhaps, second only to the luxury tax on boats in the 1990s.

More good news also comes from the Department of Energy. They say they’re looking out for us. The bad news is they’re looking out for us. Check out this nonsense for today’s laugh:

Last June, our friends in the Energy Department reportedly decided they must save us all from the clocks in our microwave ovens and the energy they consume. Seriously, they’re wasting time on such a nonsensical issue? You bet.

Writing for the Washington Times, energy research fellow David Kreutzer of the Heritage Foundation reported the energy consumption by the microwave’s clock is actually minuscule — an average of 4.5 watts on the over-the-range models and even less for countertop models. Still, down came a new regulation entitled "Energy Conservation Program: Standards for Standby Mode and Off Mode for Microwave Ovens." It mandates the new standard must be 2.2 watts.

Kreutzer framed it beautifully: “Your guardian angels at the Energy Department determined that the average life span of a microwave oven is about 10 years, so you can now contemplate pocketing $12 or an additional $1.20 per year.”

Maybe it’s just me, but when I think about energy, electric or otherwise, I would prefer agencies like the EPA and Department of Energy deal with issues more problematic — like permanently ending the ethanol debacle. Oh, it’s not that I’m not grateful for the $1.20 savings I might see each year if and when I buy a new microwave. After all, that kind of big money will go a long way to helping pay hundreds, even thousands to repair the damage to my outboards from ethanol.

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