I decided to do a post on this after I went to WAL-MART to fill up with gas today. While I was filling up, I looked down, and attached to the hose was this big ear of corn shaped sign that read “Ethanol Enhanced”. The notice said that up to ten percent of what I was getting was moonshine liquor, er, sorry, “ethanol.” I thought, “great, just what I needed, less gas mileage and some engine damage.” So, I thought I would put the facts about ethanol out there, because there is a lot that many do not realize.that makes it not so great, other than the fact we tried it in the 1970’s and it didn’t work. No reason to believe it will work now.
The first thing that you hear about the so-called “benefits” of ethanol is that it’s purpose is to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. To understand that this will not work, there’s a point that needs to be made here. First is that we’ve already tried this in the 1970’s. Have you heard the saying,”Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it?” Needless to say, we have never had any historians in Congress, the White House, or anywhere else in Washington. Back in the ‘70’s, ethanol was known as “gasohol.” Then, as now, about a ten percent mixture of alcohol produce mainly from corn is mixed with the gasoline. The idea is to make what gasoline is available go farther, thereby theoretically cutting oil imports. The flaw with this idea is that ethanol produces lower fuel mileage than 100% gas. This means you burn MORE fuel, and thereby actually INCREASE the demand. A test run by the American Coalition for Ethanol, obviously pro-ethanol, showed an average loss of 1.5% in fuel economy with the ten percent mixture. One of the vehicles, a Ford Taurus, logged a whopping 4% drop in fuel mileage. That translates to more out of your wallet and even more record profits for the oil companies. Any wonder the oil companies are all for it?
Here’s the next hit taken on the chin by John Q. Consumer. Did you know that if you own a vehicle that is more than about ten years old, ethanol will damage your engine? That’s right. Unless you make a number of costly modifications, the repairs will begin. Ethanol starts eating away at all the rubber seals in your engine and fuel system. But, THE MOTHER EARTH NEWS published a list of what you would need to do to keep your older vehicle. The list is long if you have a carbureted engine. It’s not so long with a fuel injected vehicle. All you need are larger control jets – that’s all.. You can click on The Mother Earth News above and view the entire list. Vehicles older than 1996 are susceptible to damage from ethanol use.
There’s still more fallout from ethanol. Higher prices at the grocery store. You may wonder how that can be. Corn is the major ingredient used in making ethanol. Beef is one of the items that has gone up because of ethanol. Cattle ranchers have to pay more for feed containing corn, so the cost is passed on right on down the line – TO YOU! According to a June 15, 2007 article in the WASHINGTON POST, milk, cereal, eggs, and pork prices have gone up also. The higher corn prices (that doubled in a year’s time) are also driving up the prices of ketchup and soft drinks according to a March 2007 article on the KIPLINGER BUSINESS RESOURCE CENTER website. How? Because high fructose corn syrup is used to sweeten them.
The ethanol idea is a bad one. For one, it’s just another method of trying to force people out of their older cars. This affects many Americans. A study conducted by the FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION shows that as of 2001, the average vehicle age in the U. S. was nearly nine years. That means there are many, many people out there driving cars more than a decade old that cannot handle the ethanol fuel. The use of ethanol was a miserable failure in the 1970’s and did not make even so much as a dent in our dependence on foreign oil. It won’t this time either. The only thing that can cut our dependence on foreign oil is increasing production here, but we won’t do it. We’re sitting on a lot of oil, and won’t go get it. The OPEC nations are laughing all the way to the bank on this one.
History here is definitely repeating itself. If it didn’t work before, why is there ANY reason to believe that it will work now.
Final note: As far as I know, BP is the only company now that does not sell ethanol. I’ve been told that’s soon to change, though, because the Federal government is giving big tax incentives to the oil companies to produce it – at OUR expense of course.