Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Ethanol Has Its Ups and Downs in First Year Offered in Oklahoma

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Ethanol Has Its Ups and Downs in First Year Offered in Oklahoma

Article excerpt

Ethanol occasionally gets a bad name, and the head of the state's gas marketing association says it's undeserved.

Vance McSpadden, executive director of the Oklahoma Petroleum Markets and Convenience Store Association, said ethanol sales in Oklahoma began less than a year ago in Tulsa and it's spreading out for the simple reason that it's less expensive.

"Ethanol supposedly yields less mileage, but I have a Ford Explorer and I'm getting the same mileage per gallon," McSpadden said. "The difference would be negligible if you saw any at all. It depends on the driving habits and a lot of things. One thing to remember is it's here and I don't know if it's going to go away."

Ethanol didn't have the smoothest arrival, said Chuck Mai, public affairs director of AAA Oklahoma.

"It made its debut in Oklahoma to no fanfare whatsoever," Mai said. "We didn't know until customers brought it to our attention. When they went into their gas station to ask, they'd know. There were no signs on pumps at that time."

Mai said some AAA members called in last year and said they'd had lower gas mileage.

Stations are now required to have a decal on their gas pumps if ethanol is used.

The difference in ethanol and 100-percent gas efficiency is arguable.

The price in each is not.

Ethanol has consistently been more than a dime less than his pure counterpart. That's the lure, particularly in the times of high fuel prices.

Entering the weekend, regular unleaded in the state had dropped to $3.94, a cent less than Thursday, according to AAA's survey. The all-time state record was set on Wednesday when gas reached $3.955.

Since then, the average price of gas in Oklahoma City dropped 2 cents to $3.88, and Tulsa averaged $3.92, the same as Thursday.

Gas prices have bounced around as much as crude oil prices, McSpadden said.

"We've seen gas jump 10 cents in a day," he said. "It's going to fluctuate because it's a commodity. It really just depends on what day you buy it."

McSpadden said ethanol has had mixed results.

"Some people say it's a wash with the mileage and all that," he said. "Some people think it's going to hurt their car. It isn't, unless it's a very old car. …

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