My car hates ethanol. I used to get 40 mpg on the highway in my Toyota Corolla. With ethanol made from corn and blended gasoline, I only get about 35. That’s a drop of over 10 percent. Many other people have reported similar results. Theoretically, mileage should only drop 3 to 4 percent with E-10 (10 percent ethanol), as reported in Steve Everly’s article “Does Ethanol measure up?”(4/27, A-1).
America’s ethanol policy is contributing to food shortages and starvation around the world. New data shows that ethanol is not green after all, but is damaging the environment in many ways. Since ethanol is not what we thought it would be, America’s policy must change. People are beginning to learn the true cost of using ethanol.
If our government repeals our ethanol policy now, they can treat the whole thing as a failed experiment. If they delay, it will be viewed as failed leadership.
Oil prices have hit $120 a barrel, and yet we continue to hear critics fretting over the negligible energy difference between conventional gasoline and ethanol-blended gasoline. Underinflated tires, fuel temperature and erratic braking put a bigger dent in our fuel economy than using E-10, and still we act as though the ethanol industry is robbing us blind.
In fact, using E-10 may cause a 2 percent decrease in fuel-injected cars. That means a car that would normally get 30 miles to the gallon on the highway would instead get 29.4 mpg using E-10. That’s a difference too small for the average consumer to notice.
Moreover, it’s important to understand that ethanol is offered for reasons in addition to performance. Energy independence is at the forefront of domestic concerns, and ethanol has opened the door to homegrown energy sources. Ethanol isn’t the silver bullet, but unlike other fuel alternatives still years down the road, ethanol-enriched fuel is available now.
In the big picture, that seems a lot more important than a possible 2 percent dip in gas mileage.
Director of operations, Ethanol Promotion and Information Council