Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Study says higher share of ethanol makes little difference in emissions, but other factors untested

Cars running on higher levels of ethanol than now permitted get lower miles per gallon, but there is no significant impact on tailpipe emissions, according to a new government study," writes Philip Brasher of The Des Moines Register. The study could increase demand for ethanol production by allowing cars and trucks to legally run on 15 to 20 percent ethanol; the current standard is 10 percent.

However, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said more study is neeed, because it remains to be seen if a higher percentage of ethanol will burn hotter and damage the catalytic converter or other parts of the car. The study also did not include certain car types and engine sizes. Still, it is being heralded by ethanol producers. Jeff Broin, chief executive of Poet LLC, the largest U.S. ethanol producer, told Brasher, "This report underscores that increasing our use of ethanol can expand America's energy independence today with no change in car performance or maintenance." (Read more)

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