Ethanol: Who knew corn was such a killer?

I am not given to conspiracies. I think Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, that we really did land on the moon and that President Barack Obama probably was born in America.

However, I do have personal proof that corn-based ethanol is part of a radical Al Gore plot to destroy the internal-combustion engine.

Fueled by ethanol, my boat went from running like a sewing machine to running like Jed Clampett's truck.

Two weeks ago, it sputtered, barely clung to life, gave one last violent shudder, and keeled over dead in Lake Maitland.

Ethanol is like cholesterol. It clogs up the tiny holes in carburetors and causes congestive failure.

My mechanic does so many carb jobs he bought an ultrasound cleaner because that's the only way he can get the corn out.

The way things are going, he'll soon be buying a BMW and a chalet in Vail, Colo.

Here is a tip: The ethanol industry wants to put even more corn in gas. So forget sending your kid to medical school.

Send her to the Marine Mechanics Institute in Orlando.

The problem goes well beyond boats.

My corn-clogged Stihl trimmer conked out Saturday and is in the shop.

My Echo edger died in July.

"It's a mess, a fricking mess,'' says John, the service manager at Sunbelt Lawn & Tractor, about ethanol. "It disintegrates rubber gaskets. Fuel lines get brittle and break.''

Corn has cost my household $1,000 this year.

I hate Iowa.

This is a national epidemic. Google "ethanol boats small engines'' and see what you get.

Despite that, the push is on to allow even more ethanol in fuel. The ethanol lobby tells us not to worry, that our engines can handle a 15 percent mixture, which is what they told us about the 10 percent mixture.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is supposed to make a decision on this any day now.

And there's a revolt brewing, with critics saying there is no telling what havoc a 15 percent blend could wreak on engines. It is being dubbed the largest science experiment in American history.

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