August 20, 2008

AG: Stations profited off lower-priced ethanol

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning filed charges yesterday against two people -- one who owns a couple of gas stations and another who distributes gas to those stations -- for selling ethanol blended fuel (E10) as regular unleaded. In other words, since ethanol blended fuel has been selling at a lower price than regular unleaded, the AG said the station owner and distributor were ripping people off -- "theft by deception." (The wholesale price of gasoline is currently about $1 per gallon higher than ethanol.)

That got me thinking.

The defendants' attorney could argue: E10 fuel burns cleaner than regular gas. And it has a higher octane rating than regular gas. Therefore, ethanol blended gas is a premium fuel and should command a higher price. The station owner and distributor are ahead of their time!

Then the judge could say: Yes, ethanol blended fuel is better -- for cars, the environment and this country. But thanks to the hard work of corn growers and ethanol producers it is produced at a lower cost than regular gas. But you were selling this premium fuel as REGULAR, OLD-FASHIONED, POLLUTING PETROLEUM. Now how do you plead?

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