Some Big Bend Drivers Pay More for Fuel By Choice

By: Bryan Anderson Email
By: Bryan Anderson Email

MARIANNA, FL 3/16/2012 --

Despite the high price of gas nowadays, some drivers are choosing an alternative that's even more expensive. But that's because it's ethanol-free, and drivers filling up there say the higher price is well worth it in the long run.

BB's Bait and Tackle gas station in Marianna was busy Thursday despite fuel prices nineteen cents higher than some of its competitors.

"I buy all my gasoline here," said driver William Carr.

"I use this gas station more than any other," said driver Steve Aldridge.

The popularity comes from the fact the station only sells ethanol-free fuel.

"This particular week I've already had the gas truck here three times," said gas station co-owner Patrick Bryan.

Bryan made the change to offer something he said is a better, more efficient product.

"It sounds higher but it is definitely the cheapest way to go," said Bryan.

So why is ethanol so bad for an engine? WCTV went to Marianna mechanic Luke Shores to find out.

"The ethanol, the water in the fuel actually attacks the rubber, makes the rubber swell, so in your carburetors it restricts the gas flow. Vehicles that sit a long time, stored up, not been running, not been cranked, it'll rust out the gas tanks," said Shores.

And even though the economy is still recovering and many continue to pinch pennies, it appears the more expensive ethanol-free way is gaining ground, and not just in the Panhandle.

The website lists close to three hundred other ethanol-free stations throughout Florida. Supporters said it comes down to the savings in the long run.

"The engine with the pistons and everything, the gunk buildup, and this seems to alleviate that," said driver Steve Mazzaferro.

"I don't want to have to replace the fuel injectors or nothing like that," said Carr.

"Everybody who wants ethanol gas, try and repair all your equipment," said Carr.

Florida Representative Matt Gaetz introduced a bill this session that would have repealed a state law requiring ethanol to be in fuel. Legislators incorporated a similar idea into a larger energy bill that passed. It's now up to Governor Rick Scott if he'll sign it into law.

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