E15 to be a boon for the auto repair sector

People have been protesting the government mandating E15 gasoline, including everyone from antique car owners to OEMs.

When OEMs complain that they don't want to warranty vehicles that use what will soon be the only fuel available for sale thanks to our lovely government, you know that E15 stuff is really messed up.

Ethanol does help wean us off imported crude oil, but it's the same chemical that makes liquor enjoyable. It tends to absorb moisture and increases water levels in fuel, which causes corrosion and makes rubbers and plastics more brittle.

Well, guess who's going to pay for all the broken cars that will result from this nasty gasoline-alcohol concoction? The OEMs aren't going to, and neither are the oil companies.

And, unless your net worth is above a billion dollars, the government isn't going to take other people's money and bail you out either.

The answer is, your customers are going to pay.

There has been a lot of concern that the dramatic increase in new car sales are going to take a lot of business away from us. However, in the future many technicians will be busy with more work, because these new cars are manifestations of insane government mandates that increase fuel economy at the cost of long-term vehicle durability.

While the increase in OEM-supplied "free" maintenance is going to hurt us and on-vehicle telematics are going to drive more vehicles back to the dealer, the fact of the matter is that cars are going to break more.

What vehicle problems will E15 increase? I imagine EVAP leaks, engine problems and fuel pump failures will become more frequent. All of these problems require specialized diagnostic and repair equipment.

Furthermore, the technician doing the work will have to be well trained and experienced--DIYers and tire chuckers need not apply.

This sort of work helps build up businesses and make them more profitable. Of course that doesn't make E15 a good thing, but just like the proliferation of fast food is a boon for cardiologists, E15 will be a boon for the auto repair sector of the economy.

I know that it's nice that E15 will make us more money, but I really wonder if people will wake up one day and realize that no body of people is smart enough or well intentioned enough to micromanage the affairs of private businesses and people's lives. The problem isn't one bad regulation forcing E15 upon us. It's our acceptance of a government that regulates everything and will consistently create more problems than it fixes.

The E15 problem will make us money, but it comes at the cost of everyone who drives.