Fuel choices

A recent fuel stop at an Eau Claire gas station revealed that E15 fuel has replaced E10 as the mid-grade blend. E15 is shorthand for gasoline blended with 15 percent alcohol and sells for a few cents less than the common E10 blend.

The corn ethanol industry successfully lobbied to get E15 approved in spite of multiple concerns from many industry sectors about potential harm to engines not specifically designed for E15 use. Nonetheless, the EPA approved its use in automobile engines built after 2001. That decision is highly controversial, however, especially among auto and small-engine manufacturers.

I am concerned that motorists seeing the slight price reduction of a few cents per gallon may unknowingly choose E15 even though it may not be approved for use in their vehicles. Unfortunately, consumer protection plays second fiddle to politicians like President Donald Trump vying for votes in the corn belt. Consumers best be careful before filling their gas tanks for fear of damaging their engines by accidentally buying E15 that may be unfit for their vehicle.

Consumers should also know that saving a few cents per gallon on E15 will lower fuel economy. Comparisons made by Edmonds.com found that E15 delivers about five percent poorer fuel economy compared to pure gasoline. E10 decreases economy by 3.5 percent. The reduced fuel economy of E15 more often than not offsets the small discount in price per gallon. Once again, it appears the real winner is the ethanol industry.

As for me, I am staying clear of ethanol whenever I can except in my martini.

Dennis Nielsen

Chippewa Falls

GOP miscues

Mr. Meriggioli, CEO, Johnsonville Sausage:

I chose years ago to purchase my bratwurst and other sausage products from small business owners in my home area as a means of boycotting your company, which in the past has given Gov. Scott Walker over $120,000 in campaign contributions.

In return, your company was given an unneeded $10 million tax break by the Wisconsin Republican administration in a “pay to play” scheme. I have questions to which I would appreciate written answers regarding your stance on our state and country:

Does Johnsonville approve of the recent lame-duck-passed and governor-signed legislation that strips Tony Evers and Josh Kaul of their rightful powers as duly elected officials?

If so, explain to me how you think a democracy such as our state and our country can exist as such.

Another question: Do you think enacting laws that curtail voting as acts of patriotism? Would you choose “Principle over Party” or “Party over Principle.”

I am a military veteran who proudly served with Wisconsin’s own 32nd Divison, 128th Infantry. I consider what Walker, Robin Vos, Scott Fitzgerald and their minions, including my representatives, have done as tantamount to spitting on my honorable discharge and the U.S. and Wisconsin constitutions.

I’m certain you’re a man of good conscience and moral compass; I look forward to hearing from you.

With all due respect,

Larry Heagle

Fall Creek