If you want a demonstration of how much you’re getting hosed by the push for green fuel, check the stickers on new cars or trucks. They’ll tell you, among other things, how inefficient and thus wasteful ethanol really is.
The stickers on these Ford trucks compare how far you can drive on a tank or gasoline and a tank of E85, which is mostly ethanol and with 15 percent gasoline. On one of those I checked, gas will let you go 576 miles on one tank, but if you run on E85, you’ll stop at mile 432. The proportion was about the same on the others. That’s 1.3 miles on gas for every mile you can drive in ethanol.
For years now in Oregon, we’ve been running on 10 percent ethanol, so the loss of mileage is not nearly as great as with E85. But it’s still there. That’s not all, though. There is also the cost of production.
On its website, the Oregon Department of Energy says, “Because a gallon of ethanol contains less energy than a gallon of gasoline, the production cost of ethanol must be multiplied by a factor of 1.5 to make an energy cost comparison with gasoline.”
So, ethanol is about one-third less efficient and 50 percent more expensive to produce than gasoline. This does not recommend ethanol as a smart alternative, regardless how much we might like to support corn growers in the Midwest.
But in the interest of slowing down the alleged human effect on climate change, Oregon now is pushing ahead with forcing fuel producers and suppliers to reduce the “carbon intensity” of their products even more. So unless we change course, the fuel available in coming years will take us even shorter distances than E10 already does, and it will cost more to produce. Which means we’ll have to buy and burn more of it — and pay more per unit — in order to go where we need to go. And as we go through more fuel, the presumed decline in carbon emissions disappears. But alternative-fuel investors get rich. That’s about the only result I can see. (hh).