If Ted Stobbe (July 7 letter) is concerned for our environment, there is no doubt that ethanol is a more environmentally friendly option than petroleum.
Farm conservation practices, like reduced tillage, cover crops and nitrogen management allow farmers to increase corn yields while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. According to a recent USDA study, homegrown ethanol is cleaner than ever — GHG emissions associated with ethanol are 43 percent lower than gasoline. USDA also found that even using conservative estimates, for every 1 BTU (energy measurement) used in making ethanol, 2.1 BTUs are produced.
Only the starch in corn is used for ethanol. Corn oil is used in food, livestock feed and biodiesel, while the remaining distillers grains are a high-quality livestock feed. Technology and efficiency upgrades allow for more ethanol with fewer bushels of corn.
Ethanol and gasoline use similar amounts of water for production — about 3 gallons for every gallon produced. Ethanol, though, is non-carcinogenic and biodegrades rapidly. If there was an ethanol spill, the effects would be minimal compared to a petroleum spill.
According to the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest, up to 70 percent of ozone-forming pollutants come from transportation fuels. Gasoline contains as many as 300 different chemicals. Many of these carcinogens are used to increase octane — but some are known and suspected to cause cancer. Higher blends of ethanol dilute the level of toxic additives in our fuel, which helps reduce pollution and the threat to public health.
Ethanol has been widely used in fuel for more than 30 years, and is in 97 percent of U.S. fuel. Auto manufacturers need higher-octane fuel options to get superior fuel economy, reduced GHG emissions and lower prices for consumers. Ethanol is high-octane, low-carbon and the safest component in gasoline today. Ethanol is the clear choice for a healthier environment.
VIA : The Grand Island : Independent.