February 6, 2007

The ethanol scam

Here are some things you should know about ethanol.

  • 30% WORSE average gas mileage with e85 than 100% gasoline. Yet you don't pay 30% less.
  • Ethanol has a higher octane rating but this doesn't improve gas mileage unless your engine is knocking.
  • Since 1978, ethanol tax exemptions have cost taxpayers more than $11 billion.
  • A gallon of gasoline has about 125,000 BTUs of energy, while a gallon of ethanol contains about 84,000 BTUs, meaning that a gallon of ethanol contains about two-thirds as much energy as a gallon of gasoline.
  • It takes around 98,000 BTUs to create a gallon of ethanol, 22,000 BTUs for a gallon of gas. The ethanol industry claims that equipment will be more efficient in the future with modernized ethanol plants, but that will only get them slightly over a 1:1 ratio.
  • You may be getting short changed if your state doesn't require pumps to be labeled that they contain 10% ethanol (aka gasohol.)

Let's say you drive 20,000 miles per year in a vehicle that gets 20 miles to the gallon at $2 per gallon of 100% gasoline. Going by the ethanol price difference at the gas station down the street our example equates to $1.68 per gallon for e85. $0.32 less per gallon is a great deal right? Wrong.

  • 1000 gallons = $2000 you would have paid at the pump for 100% gasoline. $166 per month.
  • 1400 gallons = $2352 you will have to pay for e85. $196 per month.
  • You will have saved 21 barrels of oil and used 6700 bushels (375,000 lbs.) of corn.

Bottom line is that it costs more for gas, raises taxes and wastes energy. I totally support alternative fuels, but not if they are worse than oil.

Reference Articles:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can see what you mean that this isn't the answer, but what alternatives should we be researching so that we aren't wasting energy on oil and/or corn? What about solar energy?