Six fast facts about biofuels
Very few people realize that plants, household trash and other kinds of waste can be used to provide food, feed, energy and materials. The huge potential of plants and waste can create careers, provide domestic energy security and increase the planet’s resources in a clean and sustainable way. And even better: they’re homegrown and renewable.
Unfortunately biofuel is linked to a number of myths which are sometimes reflected in the media. But, as usual, there are two sides of a coin. Here are answers to six common myths about biofuels:
Fact 1: Vehicles driving on E10 see virtually no difference in gas mileage.
The cheapest way to make gasoline and meet U.S. air quality standards is by using 10% ethanol (E10). This is in large part why most of the gasoline sold in the U.S. is E10.
An average car that gets 30 mpg on gas alone would get 29.7 mpg on E10. This represents a 1% reduction.
Fact 2: E15 will not harm your engine.
Ethanol is a high octane and high-performance fuel. Indy cars run on 100% ethanol and NASCAR run on 15% (E15). For the everyday automobile, E15 is approved for 2001 model year vehicles and newer. This represents 85% of today’s automotive fleet in the U.S.
In fact, today nearly 70% of auto manufacturers cover E15 use under warranty—including Ford Motor Company and General Motors.
Ethanol is also a well-tested fuel. In fact, E15 has undergone more extensive testing (designed by the auto companies) than any other fuel additive in the history of the EPA. The tests included more than 100 vehicles, 85 vehicle and engine types and 33 fuel dispensing units.
Bobby Likis is an automotive technician, owner and operator of an award-winning service shop and host of a national car-talk program. In 44 years as a shop owner, over 200,000 cars and light trucks have rolled through his doors.
“Of all the vehicles that have rolled into my service bays,” says Likis, “none has ever been damaged by ethanol blended fuels…not one!”
Fact 3: Biofuel reduces gas prices.
A Louisiana State University study credits the mix of renewable fuel in our gasoline with lowering the average price per gallon by $0.79, and Iowa State University estimates the savings to be $1.09. Either way, that’s a significant savings.
Fact 4: Oil, not biofuel, is the driving force behind the price of food.
According to the World Bank, corn makes up only 3% of the price of food on average, whereas nearly 84% comes from non-farm costs like marketing, packaging and transportation. A major source of these costs is oil.
Fact 5: Biofuels can and already are competing without subsidies.
Renewable fuels put $53 billion into American pocketbooks instead of foreign oil suppliers each year. Conventional and advanced biofuels are competing against oil which has enjoyed subsidies for decades, and still does today. Advanced biofuels’ growing positive impact on the American economy will far outweigh any small tax credits producers may currently receive. They will be able to compete without incentives in the near future.
Fact 6: Biofuels have better lifecycle CO2 emissions than gasoline.
Today’s modern biofuel production processes are more efficient than ever before. Ethanol burns 44-90% cleaner than gasoline, when taking into account the entire product lifecycle from planting, growing, and collection of crops to burning the fuel in your car or truck.
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