Thursday, May 25, 2006

Corn Ethanol without Dramatically Increased Auto Fuel Efficiency Standards is a Deceptive Alternative!

In this morning's Diane Rehm show, Daniel Sperling--the Director of the Institute for Transportation Studies at UC-Davis--provided great insight into all that is wrong with any corn ethanol-based alternative fuel campaign that does not also emphasize dramatic increases in automobile fuel efficiency standards.

As Sperling clarified, current corn ethanol production in the US does not help the environment, since it yields global warming gasses equivalent to that produced by traditional oil-based fuels. While cellulose-based ethanol production could yield significant environmental benefits, this technology for producing ethanol will not become available for many years.

Current Flex-fuel vehicles on the US market yield only 20 mpg on average, while the best hybrids yield 50-70 mpg! Until the car industry wakes up and begins manufacturing flex-fuel vehicles that provide 40 mpg or more, they are selling bad products that are more expensive, continue to contribute to global warming, and yield little benefit to the environment.

On top of this, to sell 20 mpg flex-fuel vehicles as a "green" transportation alternative, is to treat consumers as fools. This is the equivalent to selling "natural" cigarettes as a "green" alternative to traditional cigarettes. It is a strategy for selling ignorance and deception to consumers in the name of environmental and energy consciousness.

The only currently-available strategy for producing significant reductions in the production of global warming gasses are those already available strategies that yield much more fuel-efficient automobiles. Hybrids are already yielding 60-70 mpg, and the technology for producing even regular gasoline cars like the GEO Metro that could achieve 45 mpg was already available in the 1990s. Why are there not more fuel-efficient cars like the GEO Metro on the market? Instead of producing more cars like this, the Chevy Metro was taken out of production several years ago.

What is the best action for the environment you can take if you are choosing an automobile? Auto consumers/users should refuse to buy or drive any car, whether it is flex-fuel or gasoline-powered, that does not yield at least 40 mpg--

This is the best way for any car buyer in the US to make a clear statement to car manufacturers and the oil industry, and begin to create an irresistable public demand for greatly improved fuel efficiency standards in the US car industry.

The choice to buy a flex-fuel car that continues to yield only 20 mpg is a fool's choice in support of continued inefficiency sustained by the powerful corn ethanol lobby in the US, which is not currently any better for the environment than the oil lobby.


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