Print 103 comment(s) - last by Scabies.. on Jul 12 at 12:27 PM

The EPA claims that automakers are lying, and that E15 is perfectly safe for engines.  (Source: Hemmings Blog)

The EPA is trying to sneak E15 -- a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gas -- into the pump.  (Source: MPR News)

Corn ethanol gives worse gas mileage and, according to some studies, more air pollution than gasoline. It also raises food prices.  (Source: Dave Reede)
EPA: What could go wrong?

United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials, testifying to Congress on Wednesday implied that automakers like Ford Motor Company (F) and Toyota Motor Company (TYO:7203) were lying when they said higher ethanol blends could corrode seals, fuel lines, and engine components, voiding warranties.

I. EPA -- We Know Better About These Cars Than the People Who Built Them

The EPA is convinced that it knows about the risks better than the automakers who built and tested the cars.

At issue is the question of whether the EPA can authorize E15 fuel -- a 15 percent ethanol, 85 percent gasoline -- mix to be sold at pumps, with special stickers to warn customers.  E10 fuel, which contains a smaller 10 percent fraction of ethanol, is currently mandated by many states.  Approving E15 would clear the way for states to possibly mandate it as the exclusive fuel.

Margo Oge, director of the agency's Office of Transportation and Air Quality office, claims that her researchers conducted "extensive" tests using E15, which showed, "no unusual damage was found compared to control vehicles tested with normal gasoline."

Thus far General Motors Comp. (GM), who produces E85 (85 percent ethanol) capable FlexFuel vehicles, has been the only automaker to voice enthusiasm about the proposal.  The rest of the major U.S. and foreign automakers have complained that E15 could destroy engines in cars produced in 2001 or later.

Essentially, both sides are calling the others a liar in the dispute.

II. Ethanol Opposition is Solidifying

There are signs that opposition to the proposal is mounting in Congress.  Rep. Andy Harris (R-Maryland) blasted the measure, stating it wasn't a "science-based decision".

Overall, while green technologies like cellulosic ethanol seem promising, the case for the U.S.'s current ethanol supply -- corn ethanol -- isn't particularly compelling.  Corn ethanol has been shown to raise food prices and delivers worse gas mileage (ethanol exclusive engines can deliver better mileage, but mixed engines deliver worse performance when burning ethanol).  

Some studies have also shown that it produces more polluting gases, such as nitrogen and sulfur-containing compounds, than gasoline over its life cycle, thus deteriorating air quality.  Similarly, it produces more carbon emissions than gasoline.

Still, farming states have managed to push corn ethanol onto the nation.  The move paid off for a lucky few -- corn farmers grew wealthy the recipient of billions of dollars in subsidies and the politicians they donated to were reelected. 

However, the good times for corn ethanol proponents appear to be coming to an end in the U.S.  Just weeks ago the U.S. Congress repealed the $5.6B USD in incentives for corn ethanol.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By MonkeyPaw on 7/8/2011 11:38:52 AM , Rating: 2
Almost all the corn you see growing out there is not suitable for immediate consumption. Instead, its fed to likestock, whllich slowly kills them; its turned to food products that slowly kill you, or its turned into crappy polluting fuel. Sweet corn might be tastey, but high starch corn is useless without lots of irrigation, pesticides, processing, and corporate strong-arming. Its only used because there's already a system to grow and harvest it, and there's a government subsidy encouraging its planting. EPA + FDA = FAIL

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By Motoman on 7/8/2011 11:59:34 AM , Rating: 4
Doesn't matter if the crop is directly for human consumption or not.

The fact of the matter is that any arable land that is used for fuel is land that isn't used for food - whether that's to grow feed for cattle or for peas that humans eat directly is irrelevant.

There's a finite amount of arable soil. Use it for the food system, not the fuel system.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By Samus on 7/8/11, Rating: 0
By ebakke on 7/8/2011 1:33:24 PM , Rating: 2
If you have so much surplus corn that we are going to turn it into a crappy fuel substitute, its a no brainer that it is a crap crop.
We're not turning it into fuel because we have tons of it lying around that we don't know what to do with. We're turning it into fuel because there's money and power to be made in doing so.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By Reclaimer77 on 7/9/2011 12:54:59 AM , Rating: 1
We don't need the food. We have TOO MUCH farmland. We have so much farmland and farmers, we stupidly pay people to NOT grow food.

I hate to sound cruel, but times change. It's 2011, and there are lots of farmers who need to find some other way to use their land to make money besides trying to farm.

But hey, why do that when you can form a huge lobby, bribe politicians, and pretend you're still relevant.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By superstition on 7/9/2011 5:56:04 PM , Rating: 1
"We have TOO MUCH farmland."


Best joke I've heard in ages.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By Reclaimer77 on 7/9/2011 6:00:07 PM , Rating: 1
Oh let me guess, you're one of those people who assume because there are starving people, we don't have enough food production.

Again, we actually pay people to NOT farm because we have such high yearly surpluses of foodstuffs. We have too much farmland, simple logic.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By animekenji on 7/9/2011 8:02:58 PM , Rating: 2
Ummm isn't the cause of starvation a lack of food? Grow more food and you feed more people. Even a 5 year old gets that, why don't you?

By Reclaimer77 on 7/9/2011 9:51:18 PM , Rating: 2
No, that's retarded. If a kid is living on the street and starving, is there a lack of food? NO! He just doesn't have the means to GET the food.

Starvation does not mean there isn't an abundance of food. There's no food shortage in America and other industrialized nations. Starvation is a social and economic condition.

By MartyLK on 7/9/2011 8:05:33 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe, but consider all the other non-consumable crops being farmed. Cotton is a major non-consumable. I think they can, and actually already do, farm non-consumable crops alongside the the consumables without degrading the consumables.

By Bad-Karma on 7/8/2011 5:39:35 PM , Rating: 5
The corn your talking about is termed "Dent Corn", you can identify it by the dimple at the top of the kernel. And yes, if you eat it raw it will kill you though the 3 "D"s. Disentary, Diarea, Death.

However you happen to eat it all the time. Corn meals and most Mexican applications (think Masa which used in just about everything) process the ground corn using a lye soak to remove the toxins. After processing it is perfectly safe. You not going to die from binging on Doritoes.

Sweet corn is usually sold directly on the cob or canned. But is a very small percentage of the US corn harvest.

Secondly, it doesn't "slowly" kill cattle. Corn fed beef is fed straight unprocesed dent corn. Most cattle are harvested at 18-22 months of age. They die perfectly healthy, its the slaughter house that gets death going for the cow.

We've got 20 year old corn fed breeding bulls on my brothers farm in Colorado that are pefectly healthy.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki