Nuthouse Returns Corn to the Grill


After 30 plus years and 20 plus billion in subsidies, the federal government begrudgingly admitted that corn ethanol was not such a bright idea after all. Thought to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and be more environmentally friendly, ethanol proved to decrease mileage, increase wear and tear on engines, and drive up the price of corn, all while being subsidized by the American taxpayer to the tune of 45 cents per gallon. Its use has been decried by sources as divergent as Sen. John McCain to Vice President Al Gore (who did admit his earlier support of the program was due to pandering to Iowa corn farmers during his presidential run).

A recent study at Cornell University found that it took 131,000 btu’s of energy to produce a gallon of ethanol. This produced gallon would in turn provide 77,000 btu’s of energy. I’m not a mathematician but someone left the barn door open on that equation. It monopolized farmlands and increased costs in transport. In short, corn ethanol is an extremely inefficient form of energy. And although it may have felt like we were doing the right thing it turns out that we weren’t.

So we don’t have it anymore and it’s probably a good thing, right? Wrong. Only the federal subsidies have ended. Believe it or not there is still a government mandate for increased ethanol use despite the problems it has caused. You would be hard pressed to not put ethanol in your car if you live in the Augusta GA area as I do. Ah, but the private sector does generally find a way.

You can go to sites such as and find that there are a smattering of gas stations in the CSRA that carry non ethanol gas. There is even a chain called Greg’s Gas Plus based in North Augusta, SC. Since the nuthouse is located adjacent to the 13th Street Bridge it is very convenient for us to do business with them. So we signed up for a fleet account.

As of today, all of our trucks will discontinue the practice of putting corn in our gas tanks. We expect this will increase our gas mileage, decrease engine problems, and will be better for the environment. I don’t know why we didn’t do it sooner. If you find you’re cars not running so good, you might find that a tank of non ethanol gas will do wonders. Turns out we shouldn’t have been putting corn in there all along.