[ba] My trusty old '91 200Q

Matt twentyV matt_20v at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 3 16:55:06 EDT 2007

> E-85 ... IMO there's no way this "fad" is going away
> ... even hear Dubyah talking it up.  We've already
> got Ethanol instead of MTBE, and you can bet the
> Corn Belt's going to lobby long and hard until it is
> reality everywhere in the US ... it seems to be a
> good thing, but I'm a bit concerned about the food
> vs. fuel tradeoff ... 

I read an article in Business Week that analyzed the
Ethanol industry.  I don't have all the details in
front of me, but there were a few points that stuck in
my head:
- it takes far more energy to produce a gallon of
ethanol than a gallon of gasoline.
- today at least, most of the energy to produce
ethenol comes from fossil sources (electricity and
tractor fuel).
- ethanol delivers lower fuel mileage and higher
emissions than gasoline.
- because of the above, ethanol is theoretically worse
for global warming than gasoline.
- to make a real dent in imports we'd need to plant
more corn- a lot more corn.
- ethenol can't be transported through pipes, must be
trucked (corrosive or something- can't remember for
sure)... more fuel used.  All the refineries are in
corn-belt states, this is why we see essentially zero
E85 here in CA.
- advances in producing ethanol from plant fiber
instead of corn are promising but still a few years
from being anywhere close to economical.  Long-term
this will be better than corn as there will be more
raw material to produce from without covering the
country with corn fields.  But it currently takes even
more energy to produce than from corn.

I'll try to find the article and make sure I've got
the facts straight... going from memory here.


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