Fuel is essential to most of us in order to get on with our daily lives. But as we use traditional fuel through the decades, we realized the risks it has brought, leading to more people trying to find safer alternatives, with one of the most successful being ethanol. This type of fuel was first considered to be used by Harry Ford—using it on the Ford Model T—and other automobile manufacturers, predicting that it would become the major fuel supply in the world in the future.
Now, as fossil fuels are observed to be running low, people are looking to ethanol as solution to renewable and cleaner energy. This popular trend continued through the 20th century. However, the use of ethanol on vehicles has also been one of the hottest topics in debates over the years. Though ethanol is renewable, it also comes with considerable drawbacks as a staple fuel source. To form our own opinion about this matter, let us take a look at the pros and cons of ethanol.
List of Pros of Ethanol
1. It is sustainable and renewable.
As a renewable energy source, ethanol is created with raw materials that only need sunlight to be produced. Aside from this, there are now companies that are even working on to bypass the harvest of crops to produce such fuel. This would prove that ethanol production would be continued and performed for a long term without the risk of depleting the raw materials.
2. It is cleaner to produce than other energy sources.
It is already known that the production of ethanol is cleaner than that of other types of fuel. Producing it using corn lowers the greenhouse emissions by a substantial amount than using traditional means to produce gasoline. And as this technology continues to develop, such percentage of lessen emissions is also expected to go even higher in the coming years.
3. It is friendly to the environment.
The main reason why many people search for alternative fuel is to lessen risks brought about by global warming, and this would be realized with ethanol because its production does not require hazardous materials, but rather natural materials from crops, such as corn, grain and sugar cane, making it sustainable. On a long-term basis, it can also be a boost for the agricultural sector, since farmers would have to produce crops for both food and fuel.
4. It is economically beneficial to the US.
A huge political reason for utilizing ethanol, instead of gasoline, is to prevent the US from plunging deeper into a “mercy hold” of the big foreign producers of oil, which is truly a wise move for a purely political nation. Now, the government has been making certain propagandas to get people to fully support the change, such as creating more manufacturing jobs for Americans to produce more ethanol, offering a great solution for workers who are out of work. Another is helping the planet with a cleaner burn by encouraging people to shift from gasoline to high-percentage ethanol. The government believes that this will eventually get away from the oil-based power of the Middle East.
5. It can create balanced and positive energy.
As found by research, corn-based ethanol fuel can create a truly positive energy balance, which is a finding that goes against the claims of critics who say that ethanol requires more energy for its production than it can in delivering power as fuel. However, proponents say that producing ethanol is creating several valuable by-products, citing the example of corn, where a balance is made possible because the processed corn has produced several valuable by-products, including corn oil.
List of Cons of Ethanol
1. It comes with the problem of price fluctuations.
Over the past years, fluctuations in prices have always been a variable for the ethanol that has been produced and used. As you can see, you can buy ethanol at a price that is cheaper than that of gasoline, but it can also be more expensive. The main driver of this trend is whether a place is abundant with corn or not—it depends on where you live. According to recent research data from the US Department of Energy (DOE) on fuel prices, the Midwest (where much of the ethanol is being produced) sells for nearly 30 cents less per gallon than traditional gasoline. On the other hand, the West Coast sells ethanol at 35 cents more per gallon, and in the Mid-Atlantic States, it is even more expensive at 44 cents more per gallon compared to gasoline.
2. It has lower mileage capability compared to gasoline.
Though ethanol is environmentally friendly, it is found to decrease a vehicle’s mileage from 20 to 30 percent, which means that consumers would prefer gasoline in places where fuel is more expensive.
3. It produces less energy than gasoline.
The higher price of ethanol in several areas in the country is made worse by the lesser energy the fuel provides. No matter how much you pay for it, it produces lesser energy than gasoline, which means that your vehicle will not go as far, unlike when you use gasoline. This can be bad news for car owners and drivers, as even if ethanol prices at the pump is cheaper, it may not be that cheap in the long run.
4. Its industry lacks the necessary facilities to produce sufficient amounts of fuel.
This con is also the reason why there is only a few ethanol fuel stations around. Truth is, these establishments are only found in abundance in places where there is high production of ethanol, such as the Midwest.
Generally, ethanol is truly beneficial if its overall effect on the ecosystem is included in the equation. As for the cost, once the government is able to make some re-thinking and steps, it would be easier for everyone to use this revolutionary energy source. Based on the pros and cons listed above, do you think that ethanol would truly offer us complete benefit, or would it just cost the same level of side effects?
Crystal Ayres is a proud veteran, wife and mother. Our goal at Green Garage is to publish the most in depth content on the internet for every topic we write about. If you would like to reach out to contact Crystal, then go here to send her a message.