Will ethanol affect your pockets at the pumps? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Will ethanol affect your pockets at the pumps?

April 21, 2006

Albany-- The weather is heating up and so are the gas prices. Triple A blames the upcoming summer driving season, the war and the price of oil. But as you pay more at the pumps, you may start to get less from each gallon of gas.

Another thing that Triple A says is adding to higher gas prices is ethanol. The government is forcing refineries to start mixing ethanol in with gasoline to make it burn more cleanly.

Pumping gas has already become a headache for drivers here in South Georgia but it's something that's unavoidable.

"I remember when gas was 89 cents a gallon," says Joseph Wills. Things have certainly changed and it's affecting families and businesses. "If anybody's running a service truck, it burns a lot of gas, it's def affecting the profit," says Freddie Smith.

For Adrian Bryant, the cost just keeps adding up.

"It's pretty discouraging to see how high it is. I'm at 40 dollars right now and we're still rolling," says Bryant.

But now as you pull up to the pump, you may notice something different besides the prices. You may notice that some gas stations have added something different to the mix.

"I just noticed that today but I'm not exactly sure what that's for," says Bryant.

"I've noticed they started doing that. I'm not sure exactly what it does," says Wills.

Ethanol is supposed to be better for the environment especially with the increasing number of drivers on the road but it may cost drivers. Studies show ethanol can reduce fuel economy by as much as 2 percent. "I guess out with the old and in with the new," says Donald Welch.

The new changes don't have many happy as the summer gets closer. "I heard it might go up to $3.50 by the end of summer and I might start riding a bicycle back and forth to work," says Wills.

"It just makes it really difficult to have to come to the tank and fill up and spend so much money when there's other things to spend our money for as well," says Judy Coleman.

It may cause drivers like Bryant more trips to the gas station. "We stopped at $64.97," says Bryant. She now understands ethanol but doesn't want it to break her pockets.

Ultimately all stations will have ethanol mixed in their gasoline. The MidAtlantic region would get the fuels first but Triple A says it's a long-term process to get it done nationwide.

Some US refiniries are having problems switching to the ethanol mix and that's causing a decline in inventory. The changes could cause sporadic problems as individual stations make the changeover but Triple A says it shouldn't cause a shortage of gas.

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