When ethanol began flowing into Oregon fuel tanks early this year, its costly little secret was scarcely mentioned: It packs one-third less explosive energy than gasoline and so reduces vehicle mileage on the road.Good news: The Oregon requirement calls for just a 10 percent blend with gasoline, known as E10, and cuts into mileage an estimated 3 percent, according to official estimates. But that costs you an additional $73 a year at the fuel pump, based on todays prices for regular gasoline.
Bad news: Many Oregonians dont believe the 3 percent figure and maintain the drop is 10 percent or more, raising out-of-pocket costs much higher. Its enough to throw into question the real cost of cleaner air from ethanol use and reduced dependence on fossil fuels.
So, if the information might not support what the politicians want, it’s OK to just not mention it. Notice that it was not just the government that decided that the lower mileage with ethanol was not news. It was the news media also.
The infomation was hardly secret. But there was absolutely no effort on the part of our ‘free press’ to do a little investigating on their own, or let the public know about this.
Then there’s the the changing standards of what is and is not qualified sources.
Comprehensive studies that rely on actual road tests for mileage comparisons are few, but they generally support the science-based data. A study by the American Coalition for Ethanol, a trade group promoting ethanol’s development, tested three vehicles and came up with an average reduction of 1.5 percent.
Wait a minute! Aren’t we told constantly that scientist that work for oil companies and the timber industry are compromised? Any scientist who works on a study that recieves any funding at all from an “industry” source is smeared as being “in the pay of polluters”?
And we’re supposed to take the word of an Ethanol industry group on mileage? What happened?
State officials say motorists shouldn’t lose sight of the big picture: that ethanol burns cleaner than gasoline — fewer smog-causing pollutants — and reduces the country’s dependence on foreign oil.
Another plus, they say, is that ethanol is cheaper than gasoline. In the Northwest, ethanol was selling for $2.09 a gallon, compared with gasoline at $3.25 a gallon, a difference $1.16. That’s pure ethanol. E10 blends, then, would dampen prices by almost 12 cents.
If ethanol’s contribution to the country’s overall fuel supply is taken into account, the savings are larger — between 29 and 40 cents a gallon — say researchers at Iowa State University. Ethanol currently accounts for about 6 percent of U.S. fuel supplies. If it were pulled from the mix, demand for gasoline would spike and so would prices, these researchers concluded.
But is Ethanol really cheaper when you factor in the subsidies given to the growers and producers? And when you factor in the reduced energy Ethanol doesn’t look so good anymore.
That study by Iowa State University? Who provided the funding for that. If we’re going to have a general rule ignoring any study that is funded by “industry” sources, that one, done in the heart of Ethanol country, would probably be tossed.
But the State of Oregon is determined to save us all from ourselves, whether we like it or not. And they’re goning to do it no matter what.