Motorists get less bang for their gas buck with ethanol
In the Feb. 3 Business Section, there was an article (“Fuel for thought — Some consumers notice decrease in fuel mileage as more stations switch to E10 gasoline”) which discussed E10 gasoline in the Capital Region.
One statement in particular caught my attention: “Most of the gasoline stations, with the exception of the Sunocos and Mobil Marts in our county (Schenectady), have gone to E10.” Prior to the date of the above-mentioned article, I had noticed stickers on gasoline pumps at two Sunoco stations, one in Clifton Park the other in Amsterdam (neither of which, of course, are in Schenectady County), which read “contains up to 10 percent ethanol.”
On Feb. 25 I purchased some unleaded regular at the station in Amsterdam using a portable container. To test for ethanol, I put 15 milliliters of water into a graduated cylinder, to which I added 150 milliliters of the E10. After mixing the contents, the interface between the gasoline and resulting water-ethanol solution stabilized at 26 milliliters, indicating the presence of 7 percent to 8 percent ethanol in the E10. Even if combustion is not adversely affected by the presence of ethanol, purchasing E10 is equivalent to paying an additional 10 cents per gallon based on energy content [which is 30 percent less for ethanol than 100 percent gasoline].
Incidentally, I have checked regular gasoline purchased in 2008 from two Mobil stations in the Amsterdam area and found it ethanol-free, as the article reports.
My personal interest in this issue stems far more from avoiding potential harmful effects of ethanol in the older engines I own than in “saving” 10 cents per gallon.
The writer is a retired GE engineer.
Whose economies will tax rebates stimulate?
Hooray! I can’t wait until I receive my $600 post-Christmas present from our government. I’m sure it will make me and others feel considerably better for as long as it takes to spend it.
Many years ago, when Franklin D. Roosevelt stimulated our Depression economy, he created jobs that in turn created more employment, which allowed people to spend even more money to create more jobs and encourage our economy even more. What a simple, ingenious plan.
Our current government is doing the same. Unfortunately, the effect will not benefit the United States, but the producing nations abroad. What an inspired way to fuel the Chinese economy and the bottom lines of U.S. corporations and the few who will benefit from this action.
Joseph S. Kaczynski
County deficit defies rational explanation
Hidden within the paragraphs of the Feb. 24 article, “Officials see up to $16M shortage,” there was a surprisingly honest statement from the Schenectady County Legislature on how they are confronting a multimillion-dollar revenue shortage.
Allow me to summarize their position on this matter in the form of a “Dear Taxpayer” letter composed from the legislators’ quoted statements in the article: Overall, we will have less money. When you lose a million here and there, you have to look at the budget earlier. It’s premature to say what the results will be, but certainly we may have to start thinking about things to sacrifice. It’s going to take a lot to get there. Mountains will have to be moved.
We can bring the problem to the people and let them understand the tough decisions we may face. We tried to minimize the pain, but if you keep taxes low, you create a seesaw level and perhaps have higher taxes in future years. Taxes should have been raised.
It’s a serious issue, and we are definitely worried. We do not want to jeopardize the county’s long-term financial picture. [We] were overly optimistic. [We] felt with all these new places opening, it would boost sales tax revenue. I am not looking forward to this.
Signed: Schenectady County Officials.
Pain? Sacrifices? Worry? Imagine if you, as an investor in some public company, received this letter from that corporation’s board of directors. Or, to be more analogous to the Schenectady scenario, suppose each board member shared with you his or her dismal outlook independently, and then left you to form your own impression of the corporation — something like this letter. Would you continue to invest? Would you continue to trust those decisions-makers?
Perhaps the county Legislature is making an even bigger statement, that it’s tired and that room should be made for fresh ideas.
Nader no crackpot; time to take him seriously
The next time you get into a car or truck and fasten your seatbelt, please do me a favor and remember that you have [author, lecturer, political activist] Ralph Nader to thank for that device that may save your life or the life of someone you love. Indeed, had Princess Diana been wearing hers, she might well be alive today.
My point is this: Regardless of what the corporate-owned “news media” will tell you, Ralph Nader is not a crackpot. Ralph Nader isn’t a circus clown for the American people to laugh at. For nearly five decades, Nader has been a champion of consumer protection and the rights of those left behind in our society.
As this presidential campaign progresses, we can expect a major effort to try to shut Ralph Nader out of the process by either keeping him out of any debates or simply not giving him as much press coverage as the other candidates. It’s up to us, the American people, to dig deeper and find out what Ralph Nader is all about and where he stands. I encourage everyone to do so and keep an open mind. In the meantime, don’t forget to fasten your seatbelt and remember who made such a simple and important act possible.
McCain may be best bet for Republicans
Lobby dominated, Republicanism has long patronized the wealthy at middle-class expense. The freedom to become wealthy is welcomed. Domination by the wealthy is not. The Republican middle-class base apparently rebelled to regain party control.
A rebellion requires a rebel leader. The middle-class found one in maverick John McCain. His electoral success is a message for change in Republican priorities.
Except for the likes of Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, most party loyal Republican conservatives will credit McCain’s 80 percent conservative voting record and support him.
Negatives: He promises secure borders; however, 40 percent of illegal employment balanced with additional work visas would be well received. He’s weak on global warming and business savvy.
Positives: McCain’s aggressive stance on terrorism and stabilizing Iraq should trump Democrat doves. McCain would end the flawed corn ethanol program. He requested no earmarks last year, and as president will attempt to end them. He tried but failed to control campaign financing. He opposed Bush tax cuts, convinced they favored the rich, but accepts making them permanent (knowing full well congressional support is lacking).
Any concessions made to intransigent conservatives will alienate McCain’s middle-class base. His potential presidential triumph requires remaining steadfast, true to his principles. Perceived as a centrist hawk, he will harvest middle-class votes, regardless of party affiliation.
My guess is he’s the optimum candidate to overcome strong odds against a Republican win.
Wallace J. Hughes
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