Ethanol Use in Gasoline Can Reduce Foreign Oil Imports (Mainstreet.com)

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — the use of corn-produced ethanol in gasoline is an outdated method to lower greenhouse emissions while ethanol generated with natural gas yields a cleaner and cheaper fuel, experts said.

Corn-based ethanol is “definitely a failed and outdated attempt at lowering emissions,” said Chris Faulkner, CEO of Breitling Energy, a Dallas oil and natural gas exploration and production company.

Many experts have said that a better alternative is to generate ethanol from natural gas, because it is better for the environment and could result in less engine problems.

“If the government is adamant that refiners must still blend gasoline with ethanol, we should at least be looking more seriously at ethanol generated with natural gas,” he said. “It’s cheaper than corn ethanol and would put a stop to the destruction of grasslands, wetlands and conservation lands.”

The primary goal of the original ethanol requirement was to reduce imports of foreign oil, but since the production of drilling for natural gas is inexpensive, the commodity can fulfill that requirement, Faulkner said.

“Ethanol was an idea that sounded good, but hasn’t lived up to expectations,” he said. “Some experts have said that producing corn-based ethanol with the goal of blending it into gasoline to reduce greenhouse gas emissions actually creates more greenhouse gas emissions than simply using 100% gasoline.”

Utilizing ethanol produced by natural gas is a better alternative since it is chemically identical to corn ethanol and yields the same level of emissions, Faulkner said.

Compressed natural gas (CNG) is a cleaner fuel, because there are 20% fewer greenhouse gas emissions and it is also in ample supply, he said. CNG produces less carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, non-methane organic gas and nitrogen oxide, which are dangerous to our health and the environment.

Straight gasoline is better than using gas containing ethanol blends, no matter what source is used to produce the ethanol, Faulkner said.

Natural gas runs cleaner than gasoline and can mean changing your car’s oil less frequently, he said. Compressed natural gas vehicles also get better mileage while running on fuel that’s cheaper than gasoline.

Ethanol has been added to gasoline since 1979, and most of today’s gasoline is a mixture of 90% gasoline and 10% ethanol or E10. Ethanol used in a vehicle’s fuel system causes rust and corrosion to form on the metal surfaces of the fuel tank and fuel lines, said Chris Barker, technical services manager for Royal Purple, a Porter, Texas synthetic products manufacturer. Small pieces of corrosion breaking away from surfaces can result in the clogging of fuel injectors/carburetors, resulting in reduced performance, hard starts and possible engine problems, he said.

Article Author: Ellen Chang

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