Ethanol Fuel: Scam or Solution?

Is ethanol fuel the dream solution America has been looking for to solve dependence on foreign oil? I’ll show you why E85 is worse than it appears to be and that there are many more effective and efficient solutions for the future.

Is E85 fuel a scam or a solution? This is one of many questions the American public is asking themselves. This is a very important issue because if public support for this concept grows, you may be experiencing a great change in what you pump into your car when you go to the future “ethanol fuel” stations. Also, your everyday food expenses will skyrocket, stressing your family’s budget. For these reasons, legislation that supports E85 fuel should not be passed or imposed upon the American public. The disadvantages of E85 fuel outweigh the advantages, making it an ineffective fuel. Also, the American public has been tricked into thinking that E85 fuel is a good alternative fuel. And lastly, the problem of dependence on foreign oil, which is at the core of the issue, can be solved more efficiently and effectively.

In order to understand why E85 fuel is ineffective, we must discuss the problems with this fuel. For instance, numerous studies have found that E85 fuel creates less energy than is required to make it. According to Dr. Pimentel of Cornell University, 70% more British Thermal Units of energy are required to produce ethanol than is actually in it. This is a problem because if E85 produces less energy than is used to make it, why even bother manufacturing it. Even though E85 fuel costs less at first glance, it is inefficient in other areas. According to BusinessWeek, E85 fuel reduces gas mileage up to 40%, making you pay more. This is a problem because if E85 costs more than our current gasoline, why produce E85 when we already have a more cost effective fuel. Another problem with E85 fuel is that it hurts other parts of the economy. Increases in ethanol fuel production requires 34% more corn than in previous years, causing food prices, especially corn, to spike. According to Birger, the rise in food costs will continue, causing problems for cattlemen and hog farmers because of rising feed costs. This is a problem because rising food costs could hurt the average American family and also cause the raising of domestic animals to become much more costly. Ethanol fuel does not help our environment. “Due to its ozone effects, future E85 may be a greater overall risk than gasoline,” Jacobson of the EPA wrote. “… E85 is unlikely to improve air quality over future gasoline vehicles”. Pimentel says, “Corn production … erodes soil about 12 times faster than the soil can be reformed, and irrigating corn mines groundwater 25% faster than the … recharge rate…” He estimates these damages cost 23 cents per gallon of ethanol. Since we already have gasoline, which affects the environment no worse than E85, it is not worth wasting money to change our main fuel to E85.

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3 Responses to “Ethanol Fuel: Scam or Solution?”
  1. bob galan Says...

    On December 12, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    very informative, I actually learned a bit

  2. D Dub Says...

    On December 13, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    i can’t really find a weakness in this, except that only ethanol that is made from feedstock like corn, is very uneconomic. but other than that, your 100% correct.

  3. Grace Says...

    On April 1, 2009 at 11:01 am

    this was very helpful. at school, in speech we have a debate on alt fuels and this really was great.

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