Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) biofuel, aka booze when it’s purified, bottled and sold in liquor stores, has been the greatest boon to some farmers and some states since the inventions of tractors and porta-potties. To everyone else, it’s been a bust.
The blending of up to 10% ethanol with gasoline, now mandated in a number of states and localities, was a government brainchild ostensibly begun in the interests of reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil imports. It has developed into a typical, wasteful boondoggle which is enriching farm states and farmers who raise corn, potatoes, and sugar cane and gaining big political points with politicians at the same time it’s helping to impoverish those needing gasoline to survive.
Alcohol as a motor vehicle fuel is hardly a new idea. Henry Ford built his Ford Model-T’s to run on it, or on gas, or on a mixture. Alcohol as a widespread biofuel, however, is very much a modern concept and very much the product of the less than supple minds of environmentalists, conservationists, and the good people at the Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA. As is so often the case when government gets involved in anything, bureaucrats are unable to factor in either obvious or unintended consequences.
BiofuelsWatch.com has enumerated the numerous negatives associated with ethanol production and use. They include the explosive danger, (it’s more flammable than gasoline), its solvent, drying, and water-absorbent properties which can lead to engine contamination and the disintegration of rubber and plastic, its lower energy value, its irritant and cancer-causing potential, its greater expense, and, primarily, its effect on food production.
Just in case the EPA has visions of the entire nation running on ethanol, BiofuelsWatch points out, ”Vast quantities of arable land would be required to produce ethanol in the quantities required . . . It is thought that if all the available farmland in the United States was switched to crop for ethanol production, it would only meet a small percentage of the countries [sic] demand for fuel:” http://bit.ly/565C0s
Of course, mass numbers of Americans would also starve to death but, hey, cleaner air is cleaner air.
Other authoritative sources cite additional ethanol drawbacks. American Liberty mentions ethanol’s “acceleration performance” issues, the lack of any true reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the energy and water consumption needed to “grow” the fuel, the cost to the consumer, the importation of ethanol from Brazil, and government’s penchant for wasting money: http://bit.ly/efqnpH
All in all, ethanol biofuel is an excellent idea, as long as you don’t mind paying more and don’t mind its potential of blowing up in your face, destroying and/or making your vehicle the equivalent of a go-cart, not having water, and not eating. That’s a worst case scenario but remember, ethanol is a government initiative so it’s probably even worse than currently believed.