Topic: "Tullahoma Tequila (2)"
Dogwood Energy was a seller of pellets for wood stoves until gasoline prices quadrupled under the divine leadership of George W. Bush. Now they market stills to be used as private distilleries for the production of ethanol, which is, as we will all soon know, nothing more than 190 proof grain alcohol (Frodo vaguely remembers a concoction called "Purple Passion," very vaguely). It should be noted that the assembly warehouse is less than five miles from the distillery that makes JACK DANIELS whiskey, and is smack dab in the middle of what was the center of the moonshine industry for over 100 years.
Each still stands about 6 feet tall, and costs about $1400 retail. It costs about 75 cents per gallon to make a gallon of grain alcohol (er, Frodo means ethanol). Adding ethanol to a gas tank that is 80% filled will therefore save a consumer approximately 60 cents per gallon for a full tank.
Any modern-day car can run on a mixture of 15 percent grain alcohol (darn, Frodo mis-speaks again, ethanol). More than 30 models of new "flex-fuel" trucks, SUV's, and autos can use up to 85 percent ethanol. In these instances, it is known as "E85."
The National Petroleum Institute is all for adding ethanol to gasoline, however they would prefer that it be "blended" by professionals. Although no customers have, as yet, reported accidents with the stills, safety considerations are the stated concern of the representatives of the oil companies.
Frodo senses a growing conspiracy. Purchasers of the stills need a federal permit to make grain alcohol (rats, there we go again, Frodo surely means ethanol or E85). In what amounts to an "honor system," the buyers are supposed to add poison to the "ethanol," so that it will not be "consumable." Frodo notes that grain alcohol sells for more than $5 per quart. Utilizing his abacus, Frodo feels that the production of grain alcohol would produce a greater potential economic return than would E85.
By the same token, the American Petroleum Institute is not looking to lessen the income of its membership. Frodo has this mind picture of the "Oil Police" chasing Robert Mitchum, who is driving a 1957 Chevy full of E85 in plastic jugs, through the hills of East Tennessee.
Frodo is noting that a lot of land that used to lay in tobacco is now in corn, apples, or sugar cane. Frodo wonders what part of the "economic recovery" this represents?