by Gerald Klaas
I recently bought a used Chevy S10 pickup and found out that it is capable of running on 85% ethanol (E85). There are a couple of fueling stations nearby that sell E85, so I can use E85 if I can get over an ethical dilemma. TIME magazine ran a story in March 2008 titled The Clean Energy Scam suggesting that burning E85 might actually be more harmful to the environment than burning gasoline.
I must admit, I do think that making ethanol from corn is stupid, but there are better feedstocks for making ethanol.
I do believe that the environmental science is squarely in favor of using ethanol as a motor fuel, but only if you use the right feedstocks and production processes to create it. I put the blame for the unintended environmental consequences mentioned in the TIME article directly on the U.S. Congress who distort the feedstock market with sugar subsidizes and import quotas and corn subsidies.
If Congress wants to encourage energy independence, they should tax petroleum and subsidize biofuels research, and stop manipulating the ethanol feedstock markets.