Does ethanol use provide cleaner air? Read on to learn more about how the fuel we use affects the air we breathe.
In the last several years we have seen more and more research done on cleaner fuel alternatives. More focus has been placed on knowing that what we put in our tank affects how we live, work and play. Over the last several months, I have been sharing an inside look into ethanol- what it is, how it is made and what are it’s uses. But does ethanol use provide cleaner air?
Learn more: What is a flex fuel vehicle?
Right now we are looking for a car for my son. Not so much a car that he will drive exclusively, but more of a second car for our family. Each and every one we have been interested in (enough to take for a test drive) gets the usual once over I have become famous for in my house: has it been wrecked, does it have water damage or mystery leaks, has it been smoked in, has it hauled dogs or cats (we have allergies) and lastly- what is the fuel economy.
Learn more: NASCAR runs on ethanol from Indiana corn So far all of the answers have been easy to find out from the particular sales person. All except the fuel consumption. Four of the cars we were interested in were flex fuel capable. I was interested in this feature because this may be a car we drive for 5-10 years. With the growing demand on a cleaner fuel source in this country as well as the ever changing technologies available, I am looking for a car that has a cleaner ‘footprint’ so to speak. I wanted to know if any of these dealerships knew that ethanol use can provide cleaner air. Learn more: Choice at the pump: How ethanol can shape our future I found that I seemed to know more about the percentage of ethanol in gasoline and it’s positive role in cleaner air than the salespeople did. One even said that E-85 was a fad like hybrid or electric cars. This as he saw me roll up in my fuel efficient Toyota Prius hybrid. This really fueled (pun intended) my desire to share correct information with you all on the benefits of clean ethanol, what it can do for (not against) our environment and how it really does save money overall. Not to mention support the jobs that are created from the farming to the processing of corn ethanol. According to the Department of Energy, nearly half of the fuel (gasoline) sold today already has up to 10% ethanol in it. This not only boosts octane of the motor but also meets and exceeds federally mandated air quality standards. That small amount of ethanol mixed into the gasoline reduces the emissions of carbon dioxide which causes acid rain, potential global warming and environmental damage like poor air quality. A no brainer right? Lower carbon emissions which equal a better quality of air we breathe should be enough to prove that ethanol use provides cleaner air, right? For some the stumbling block is finding a filling station that offers E-85. Like I shared earlier in the year, there are many resources online as well as an app that can help you easily find fuel near your home or during your travels. Find out more about what a flex fuel vehicle is and where you fill up HERE.
We have so few choices when it comes to fuel.Why not use the cleaner,more economical choice of #FlexFuel powered by #Corn ? #cl A video posted by Heather Tallman (@basilmommaht) on
For others it is cost. That is a personal choice but after driving a few rental cars over the summer that offered a flex fuel capable option- we found the difference negligible.
For me it all boils down to the air I breathe. I am proud that Indiana is a state that is able to grow enough corn that is devoted to our nation’s fuel supply and still have enough to feed us and the animals we raise. The jobs that are created from field to tank are also important. But the lasting effect of ethanol use is our environment.
As community citizens and stewards of this planet we recycle, try to spend more time outdoors, shop from local producers and champion behind all kind of green initiatives. But how often do we put together that what we put in our tank helps to support the health of all of the things we care about? Without clean air we don’t want to spend time outdoors, the food we need to eat cannot grow as it needs to and isn’t clean air the base of any green initiative program?
I am fortunate that the area in which I live in Indiana has relatively clean air. How do I know? I checked on the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest website.
Recently I had the chance to speak to a representative of the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest, Angela Tin, to ask a few questions about why it is important for them to partner with ongoing ethanol initiatives.
The Mission of the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest is to reduce lung disease and cancer by proactively taking measures to improve air quality.
Since 40 to 70 percent of air quality concerns across the nation are the result of motor vehicle emissions, it makes sense that we would want to work with people to make the ‘Clean Air Choice’ to use an alternative renewable fuel.
How does the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest feel about ethanol use vs traditional fossil fuel/gasoline use?
Gasoline (derived from fossil fuel) consists of hundreds of cancer causing components. Even if the car is not moving, harmful emissions are coming from the gas tank on a hot day.
USEPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) has taken significant steps to reduce emissions from automobiles during production and operation (and still continues to do so), however the petroleum fuel that we use in combustion engines still continues to effect air quality.
Our automobile ownership rate has increased by 200%. Pro-active steps that a person takes to reduce or replace the amount of gasoline with an alternative fuel, like E85- makes a tremendous improvement to air quality.
Why E-85? Is it really cleaner and more economical overall?
When people across the nation started to recycle ( and there were instances where throwing paper or garbage on the ground was a common-occurrence), it was a slow and steady process where the young children (taught by their teachers) brought home these messages and concerns about needing to recyle to their parents and grand-parents. It takes extra effort to recyle, and it isn’t always the cheapest or easiest route. In the early days, there were no laws about recycling, it is was good thing to do.
Today none of us would even think about doing anything else (even in our own homes). These young children are now adults and they need to continue their efforts and continue to make individual choice to use an alternative renewable fuel.
It is cleaner burning because ethanol is cleaner than gasoline. It is only one simple compound, as compared to the complex gasoline model. It has higher octane and is also better for engines that are designed to run on ethanol fuels because the gasoline components (soot) are replaced by the cleaner fuel. The first cars and lamps ran on ethanol fuel.
It is economical because it is a renewable fuel with a constant end-less supply (unlike petroleum reserves which continue to be depleted each year).