It is a melancholy view to see those who walk through town or travel in the country, when they encounter streets, roads, and sidewalks crowded with junk, followed by the hundreds of vehicles, one after the other, emitting chemicals, polluting the air we breathe, and still insist on using fossil fuels.
When Jim Ryun said, “By reducing our dependence on foreign oil and increasing alternative energy resources such as ethanol, we can begin to bring down prices at the pumps, create thousands of new jobs, and bring a much-needed boost to our economy" he actually set another alternative option from gasoline. And not only does it benefit our economy, but helps our environment.
The advent of biofuels, such as ethanol has rendered fossil fuels unnecessary. The U.S can, and should get ethanol used as the main fuel in stations nationwide.
Of the many environmental and public health risks associated with burning fossil fuels, the most serious, in terms of its universal impact and inevitable outcome, is global warming. Global warming is the increase of Earth’s overall temperature, due mostly to the greenhouse effect, caused by the amount of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. (dictionary.com) Throughout history, global warming has been increasing and changing the world around us. Climate has changed when the planet received more and less sunlight due to the changes in its orbit, as the atmosphere or surface changed, or when the Sun’s energy varied. But in the past century, another force has influenced Earth’s climate; humanity. Models from scientists, predict that as the world consumes more fossil fuels, greenhouse gas emissions will continue to rise, and Earth’s average surface temperature will rise with them. Based on futuristic emission scenarios, average surface temperatures could rise between 2°C and 6°C by the end of the 21st century. (earthobservatory.nasa.gov) As shown in picture 1, global average surface temperature is rising. By the beginning of the 21st century, Earth’s temperature was 0.5 degrees Celsius above the long-term (1951–1980) average.
In 2014 approximately 78% of U.S global warming emissions were by carbon dioxide. Of that, approximately 32% was from oil, another 32% was from coal, moreover 27% of natural gasses. The use of fossil fuels in transportation contributes almost like almost 30% of all U.S global warming emissions. (ucsusa.org) Luckily, biofuels and renewable energy resources have been introduced, such as Ethanol. Ethanol is a renewable, domestically produced alcohol fuel made from plants, like corn; sugar cane; or grasses.
Using ethanol can reduce oil dependence and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Ethanol fuel use in the U.S. has increased dramatically from about 1.7 billion gallons in 2001 to about 14.4 billion in 2016. (fueleconomy.gov) Meaning that ethanol production is not being a problem to the economy.
In fact, ethanol has previously been blended with gasoline, called “E10” “E15” “E85”. The number after the "E" indicates the percentage of ethanol by volume. But as there are improvements, there are also limitations. Ethanol blended fuel can only be used in flex-fuel vehicles; it has a lower energy content (lower gas mileage); and a limited availability. But then, ethanol can be domestically produced, which reduces oil dependence; also it lowers emission of some air pollutants, as it might have more resistant engines, and the added cost of the vehicle is negligible. (fueleconomy.gov) We have to recognize the basis of these renewable resources.
This product is domestically produced from corn, sugar cane, and other grasses. Most of the gasoline sold in the U.S. contains up to 10% ethanol, the amount varies by region. All automakers approve blends up to E10 in their gasoline vehicles.
As of 2011, EPA began allowing the use of E15 in the model year 2001 and newer gasoline vehicles. Pumps dispensing E15 must be labeled. A vehicle's owner manual may indicate the maximum ethanol content recommended for it by the automaker.
Ethanol contains about one-third less energy than gasoline. So, vehicles will typically go 3% to 4% fewer miles per gallon on E10 and 4% to 5% fewer on E15 than on 100% gasoline. But that doesn't change the fact that we are saving our Earth. Upgrading the fuel system nationwide once in for all can make a drastically decrease in the greenhouse emissions that are causing global warming.
Making ethanol a nationwide fuel in all stations is the answer. The United States is a major player in the world corn trade market. More than 90% of millions of acres of land are planted to corn. Economy won’t be a problem. As to oil rich states, majority of them are located in the Southern part of the United States, agriculture is an alternative. The implementation will bring gas prices down to the abundance of corn produced in the United States.
There are no fundamental reasons to why ethanol can’tbe used. Only a range of pratical issues that might make it less inconvinient, but better economically, and environmentally wise.