Prior to last week's blizzard I was more than confident that I could dig out without too much trouble, since my relatively new snowblower is in the words of one reviewer "a beast" that makes short work of even really heavy snowfalls.
Not to mention that right after the first heavy frost last fall put an end to lawn mowing, I moved the snowblower from the back of the garage to the front, changed the oil, cleaned the spark plug and started it to make sure it would run when I needed it. But that was in October and we didn't have a real snow storm until Saturday, January 23.
Nonetheless, on Friday afternoon I brought the 'beast' outside to start it just to make sure. But it didn't start. It didn't start when I primed it and pulled the starting cord a bunch of times, it didn’t start no matter how I adjusted the choke, it didn’t start when I used the electric start, and it didn’t start even after I cleaned the spark plug again.
By the time I was finished ruling out all the other factors it was dark and I knew that the issue was the fuel. Why?
Because small engine fuel across the US is the same fuel we put into our cars and it is laced with ETHANOL a corn/carbon based bio-fuel additive that the government requires because it is supposed to give us a cleaner alternative to refined gasoline at no reduction in performance. Which is BULL! Ethanol is dirty, creates pollution while being processed, does nothing for performance, and gums up our engines.
Ethanol, which actually is distilled corn, which actually is moonshine, or 'corn likker' depending on where you live, is not the cure-all that the government and Iowa corn growers and distillers claim. Worse, if left unused too long it requires another additive to "stabilize" the gasoline/ethanol mixture so seasonal appliances such as lawn mowers or snowblowers will start even if they have not been used for several months.
Except, as I found out last weekend, the stabilizer additive breaks down over time too, especially if it is exposed to the heat of summer! This happens to most snowblowers because they aren’t used in most summers.
So Saturday morning I ended up outside on the frozen lawn, taking my snowblower apart as the snow was beginning to really come down on my head, ultimately draining a half-gallon of what had been perfectly good gasoline, and replacing it with gas I purchased that morning. All because since 1978, during the jimmy carter administration, the US government has been paying farmers and distillers – not refiners, distillers – through subsidies and tax breaks, to produce more and more of this crap, to gum up our engines and fuel lines, causing us to spend more to buy additives, all the while we are being taxed for each gallon of modified moonshine. (Distillers are required to mix the end product with gasoline before shipping to discourage people from drinking it.)
The outright subsidies to this colossal rip-off ended in 2011, but Congress was sly enough to eliminate one tax and replace it with a sneakier means of getting our money. In 2005 Congress passed the Energy Policy Act, which requires the use of renewable motor fuel under a new mandate, the Renewable Fuel Standard.
The next year Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act which requires that by 2022, 36 billion gallons of renewable oil, which basically means ethanol, be added to US gasoline supplies each year.
Even though federal subsidies for ethanol were eliminated in 2011, the Renewable Fuel Standard remains in place, ensuring that each year the amount of ethanol produced increases, meaning that farmers who raise corn for ethanol and distillers who produce the moonshine that becomes ethanol will have a steady market, through government intervention, regardless of the viability of the product. Oh, and foreign ethanol is hit by a tariff the second it reaches US soil, so there is no foreign competition.
Thus, when Ted Cruz says he is not in favor of ethanol subsidies, he is doing all American taxpayers a big favor. That is especially true if he is elected president and follows through by eliminating government support for this unnecessary product, which literally creates another welfare class, this time of corn farmers and ethanol distillers.
In my mind there is only one degree of separation between farmers who put their acreage into corn for ethanol, rather than using it to produce food, and an inner city hoodlum who collects food stamps to trade for drugs and alcohol. And while there may be jobs at the hundreds of distilleries that have sprung up in America's Corn Belt since 1978, those jobs wouldn’t be there if there was a real market for ethanol.
There is a ton of information on the Internet regarding ethanol, including how it creates more pollution to make it than it saves as a gasoline additive. Did you know that a by-product of ethanol production is carbon dioxide, which producers then sell? If there is a market for carbon dioxide why don't they just recover some of what is already in the atmosphere instead of creating more?
In fact, since Donald Trump bashed Cruz for not supporting ethanol subsidies, and since Iowa also is a state where the Christian Evangelical vote is huge, and Trump obviously believes he can squash Cruz both on trade and religion, I guess we have a question to ask the Evangelicals.
Do you believe that creating job revenue by supporting government subsidized production of the Devil's Brew, especially since it in turn is being used to support massive taxes on individual drivers through a false claim that it is beneficial to the environment, is a true testament to your faith?
If you do, then you are a hypocrite and God help you. If not, then you should rise up against those who spout false prophecies and flush that unused ethanol down the drain – if it can be done without polluting the earth. Up with hydrogen!