Germans Refuse to Use Ethanol to Fuel their Cars, NPR Reports

As President Obama continues his policies to “break our dependence on oil with biofuels,” it might be a good time to check in with Germany to see how their efforts to move from regular gas to an ethanol mix are going.

Even NPR couldn’t pass up this story, aired on Morning Edition this morning:

The Germans have a famous passion for automobiles, but it has run smack into European Union directives to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. So rather than ask German drivers to give up those highly tuned Mercedes or BMWs, the government is offering them ‘E10’—gas mixed with 10 percent ethanol, produced from corn and wheat.

But there are two problems: German car lovers are refusing to buy it, and environmentalists say it’s no greener than regular gas.


‘You bet I’m worried about my car—most of all about the motor,’ [Franziska] Muller says. ‘Nobody can guarantee that it won’t get damaged. Of course, it means I pay a bit more for gas, but for now there’s no way I’m touching the stuff.

Muller is hardly alone. The German Automobile Association says that some 85 percent of Germans are refursing to buy the biofuel, despite the fact that is it sabout 8 percent cheaper by the gallon than ordinary super unleaded gasoline.


Meanswhile, environmental groups say ecological damage is another reason to steer clear of E10. They say the energy used to make and transport the fuel—as well as the pesticides and water used in the production of crips for ethanol—are just as damaging to the environment as filling up with regular.

You can read the rest of the story here.

Here in the U.S., of course, drivers don’t have a choice. Almost all gas stations sell the E10 blend, like it or not, thanks to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

But that’s nothing compared to where the Obama Administration is taking us. The president, along with many members of Congress—from both sides of the political aisle—are backing ethanol-based fuels, subsidized by taxpayers.

Just yesterday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was visiting a “blender pump”—a station selling gas with 85 percent ethanol content—in Nashville to promote a new federal program that gives grants to rural businesses that help build a fuel station selling the blend.

But the Administration is sure to find, just as is the German government, that all the subsidy money in the world isn’t going to make consumers buy “the stuff.”

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 60,000 active recent contributors.