Visitors to the Detroit Auto Show  also known as the North America International Auto Show  saw a lot of new 39iron39 including 45 vehicle introductions None will have trouble burning gasoline blended with ethanol Photo by Bill PuglianoGetty Images News

Visitors to the Detroit Auto Show - also known as the North America International Auto Show - saw a lot of new 'iron' including 45 vehicle introductions. None will have trouble burning gasoline blended with ethanol. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images News)

An odd thought about ethanol

Recently I was having dinner with a few farmers and we got to talking about ethanol - they are members of their state's commodity groups and they support ethanol. And I was sharing how whenever I write about ethanol, I will get a note or comment from someone who hates the fuel.

It doesn't happen every time (and ethanol haters are welcome to comment below) but it does happen. After all these years of burning E10 (or higher) in our gasoline, I still have people claiming the fuel is a disaster for cars and longevity, etc. And for very old cars that could very well be true, but it sure isn't for newer cars. I'll share an interesting fact.

During the Detroit Auto Show - or the North American International Auto Show - on a radio interview one executive noted that while car sales are rising again, well past the slump of 2008, there is a longer term problem. It appears we're keeping cars longer.

In the old days you'd buy a car and after about 5 years you might trade it in with 50,000 miles on it. Today, we keep cars much longer - partly because you can barely pay one off in five years - as much as 100,000 miles. Which changes the equation for replacement for new car developers.

Then it occurred to me if ethanol was so hard on engines and we've been burning the 10% blend for at least 15 years in many states (longer here in Minnesota), how could these owners keep their cars so long.

I drive an 8-year-old compact car with more than 80,000 miles on it. I have it lubed regularly and tuned up as needed (which by the way they seldom do that anymore either). I've had no major engine trouble (so far - it is getting older).

The connecting point here? The ethanol detractors can go after the renewable fuel for its tax credits or other government supports (ignoring the billions we spend on petroleum support), but they need to stop whining about what ethanol does to cars. Because it appears car makers have figured out the fuel and it's not a problem.

You're welcome to take me to task below; I'll respond to your questions, and comments.

Oh, and I don't fear E15 if it ever makes it to my local fuel pump.

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