- The Washington Times - Friday, March 29, 2013


In his recent letter to the editor, “Renewable fuels promote energy security” (March 21), Bob Dinneen, the president of the Renewable Fuels Association, claims that ethanol costs less per gallon than gasoline and, when blended with gasoline, reduces greenhouse-gas emissions. These statements are untrue or, at the very least, deceitful.

The facts are that absent government subsidies, ethanol is more expensive to produce than gasoline and gets less mileage than gasoline. In particular, gasoline contains about 115,000 British thermal units per gallon, whereas ethanol contains only about 76,000 BTU per gallon, far less than the energy in gasoline.Moreover, when government subsidies and incentives are discounted, the true cost of ethanol is about twice as much as the cost of gasoline. In sum, ethanol gets only about two-thirds the mileage of gasoline while costing twice as much to produce.

Indeed, Consumer Reports found that increasing the content of ethanol in gasoline from 10 percent to 85 percent resulted in a 30 percent reduction in fuel economy. As compared with gasoline, more ethanol must be burned to go a given distance to emit more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. And let us not overlook the studies suggesting that, when all is said and done, it may take more than one gallon of petroleum to produce one gallon of ethanol.

In the final analysis, ethanol is a loser, not a winner. When the facts are considered, ethanol is simply not a viable alternative to gasoline.


Alexandria, Va.



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