An MTBE political squeeze

The administration of US President Bill Clinton has played the ethanol card in its effort to win Vice-President Al Gore a promotion next November. If it succeeds, consumers of gasoline, distracted at the moment by levitated prices, will suffer.Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol M. Browner and Agriculture Sec. Dan Glickman last week proposed regulatory and legislative changes curtailing use of methyl tertiary butyl ether in gasoline (see related story, p. 36). Because MTBE has leaked into supplies of drinking water, EPA proposes that it be replaced in gasoline by renewable substances. That means ethanol distilled from grain, which requires a 54¢/gal federal tax credit...

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