President Carter, a strong advocate of the development of alcohol fuels, will order federal agencies to switch to gasohol whenever economically possible, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. An executive order now on Mr. Carter's desk would direct the government to run its 415,000-vehicle fleet on the blend of gasoline and alcohol whenever the fuel is available at "reasonable prices." The newspaper quotes a White House source as saying Mr. Carter will sign it "very soon."
The order would hand gasohol advocates -- especially Midwestern farmers and farm-state politicians -- sought- after goals of a new market and a major federal commitment. It would also effectively subsidize alcohol producers and blenders, because the government would be spending 6 to 7 cents more per gallon than for unleaded gasoline, the Sun-Times reports. In January, Mr. Carter adopted a policy promoting federal use of gasohol as one way of reducing dependence on foreign oil. But until now, gasohol has been used in only a few hundred federal vehicles.