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Corn-derived ethanol is not the answer

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August 1, 2013

The U.S. has been the largest consumer of gasoline for generations. Low cost and abundant supply have fed our habit of overconsumption. In recent years we have suffered sharp price increases and push for biofuels as the US has been in competition with India and China for existing petroleum resources.

Ethanol has been presented as a viable bio-fuel, but it is a very corrosive fuel. That’s the primary reason vehicles must be specially built to use ethanol blends. Ethanol destroys the metal, rubber, plastic and other materials used. The higher ethanol blends will cause internal damage. Motor vehicles, motorcycles, boats, and ATVs built prior to 2001 cannot use the 15 percent ethanol blend congress recently passed. Some auto manufacturers will void warranties of all vehicles made prior to 2012 due to damage E15 will cause.

Developing a renewable alternative is necessary and important. However, in the process of developing viable alternatives, learning from our mistakes is crucial. We must take mistakes in stride and then proceed forward with an understanding of what went wrong. To continuously proceed in the wrong direction only prolongs us reaching the actual path of success.

Ethanol is not the right path. Corn-derived ethanol drives food inflation, depletes the soil of nutrients, decreases fuel efficiency, increases vehicle maintenance and slows research and development of efficient engines. We must stand up and tell Congress to repeal the renewable fuel standard. Our economy, cars and wallet cannot afford the wrong solution.

KRISTIN LOEHR

Beloit

 



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