The case for ethanol

December 9, 2013 

There is an ongoing debate on the role of ethanol fuel in our energy system. It seems to me many vested interests are at play. In my opinion, most are disingenuous in their criticism of the other. My opinion is, admittedly, anecdotal.

Many years ago I had a 1985 F250 Ford pick-up truck. Emissions testing had just begun, and the truck would not pass. A trip to a certified mechanic and $700 later the truck still would not pass, and was in fact worse. I did not know what to do.

Then I happened upon E-85. I filled one of my tanks with E-85, drove to the test station and switched over to the tank with E-85 and passed. Based on the previous tests, the attendant recalibrated his equipment and ran the test a second time. The truck tested so far below the pass threshold, it aroused suspicion.

So what's my point? E-85 turned my gas hog polluter into a green machine. I've never heard of a environmental catastrophe in connection with ethanol. Oil is finite. Ethanol is renewable. Despite the oil surplus, the price remains high. Waste from ethanol is fed to cattle. I'd rather see my money go to an American farmer and kept in this country than sent overseas.

No fuel is environmentally benign. In my opinion, it seems unreasonable that ethanol production can be anywhere close to fossil fuel as a polluter.

Michael R. Sweeney


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