Monday, September 28, 2009

Ethanol causes Baltimore police cars to break down

"City officials say an unusually high concentration of ethanol in the city's gasoline supply contributed to the
  • breakdown of more than 70 police cars over the weekend, most of which had been repaired and returned to service Tuesday.
More than 200 police cars fueled up at a 24-hour, city-run gas pump by the Fallsway before cars started showing problems, and nearly
Police doubled up in cars before activating a reserve and shifting administrative vehicles into service.

Officials had expressed concern that the unleaded gasoline might have been mistakenly refilled with diesel, but results from a lab in Towson showed that
  • ethanol was the apparent culprit.
Khalil Zaied, director of general services, said the
  • city's supplier, IsoBunkers of Norfolk, Va., was conducting its own tests and that the city's legal team believes the city can recoup all expenses related to the incident.
Those expenses remained unclear Tuesday, but all of the repair work was done in-house, Zaied said....
  • Ethanol is mixed with gasoline at the pumps and is used to reduce carbon monoxide emissions, becoming more widespread in recent years as a replacement for methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MTBE, an additive that has led to concerns about groundwater contamination.
Most automobiles are not designed to handle blends with more than 10 percent ethanol, and higher levels of ethanol can cause engine damage."

"Excess Ethanol Blamed in Breakdown of Police cars," 9/23/09, Baltimore Sun, by Justin Fenton

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