Ethanol As An Alternate Fuel Essay

879 words - 4 pages

Alternate fuels are becoming more prominent in today’s society than ever before, different forms of ethanol being the most common. It is now common to see E10 at a pump, a blend of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline, as all modern cars can use it. Today, Ethanol makes up 10% of the U.S. gasoline supply. It is often questioned the reliability and effectiveness of ethanol, mainly the CO2 output in the process of making ethanol and the use of, and also the mileage difference between gasoline and ethanol. However, certain types of ethanol do not output as much CO2 as gasoline in both the process and the actual usage of. Ethanol is clean and affordable, reducing gasoline prices, which saves at the pump ...view middle of the document...

According to Josh Clark, “E85 ethanol may be sold for as little as $1 per gallon if researchers can streamline the production process.” E85 is a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, a blend that is not commonly used, but could be in the near future. Ethanol is produced in the United States, reducing the use of imported fuels and helping the nation to become more energy independent. As stated by The Renewable Fuels Association, “The [ethanol] industry was directly responsible for 87,000 jobs in 2012 and indirectly supported 295,000 more.” As for food crops being replaced as fuel crops, cellulosic ethanol would not have this risk.
Ethanol in general is a great fuel source, but some sources of ethanol are better than others. Currently, the best sources are switchgrass and sugarcane. Switchgrass is a tall prairie grass found in the Midwestern United States. As reported by David Biello, “switchgrass can deliver more than five times more energy than it takes to grow it.” It stores carbon dioxide in its roots, offsetting the release of this gas from the cultivation of it and from the burning of its ethanol. Sugarcane is also is a better source of ethanol than corn. Sugarcane ethanol, (along with switchgrass ethanol) is classified as cellulosic ethanol, which “contains more net energy and emits significantly fewer greenhouse gases than ethanol made from corn” (Biello 1). Sugarcane would also save the government money. It has been found in countries such as Brazil, that using ethanol to replace gasoline would save millions of dollars annually.
Sugarcane and switchgrass would makes great sources of ethanol because they are sustainable and do not...

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