Here's another in the "Activist" series. I hate ethanol, specifically how it is implemented in the US, and it has nothing to do with extreme right-wing nutcases. I'm a centrist politically- I pick policies from either side that to me, make sense.
This is an ethanol fuel pump- the mix from this nozzel is 85% ethanol, and can only go into certain cars. Ethanol in the US is another "George Bush Bandwagon", part of his last-year populist attempt to shore up some legacy. Compact Fluorescents were one- see that post a week ago, and now ethanol. He is supporting it because it makes the farmers happy. Here are some reasons why I don't like ethanol currently:
1. Ethanol in the US is made from corn- the edible part only.
2. Corn is being diverted to make fuel, driving up the price of corn.
3. Corn is being planted instead of other grains because of the high price, and those grain prices are now going up.
4. One SUV tankfull of ethanol requires enough grain to feed one person for one year.
5. Ethanol is 15% less efficient than gasoline.
6. Ethanol as a result does not reduce CO2 in the atmosphere, even though the plant takes carbon out of the atmosphere, due to inefficiencies in production.
7. We cannot grow enough ethanol to supplant more than a small portion of our imported oil.
I'm not against ethanol in principle, just how it is implemented in the US. Farmers are encouraged to sell their corn for fuel, and the prices are skyrocketing. And it's only the grain itself- the same part you and I eat.
Cellulose conversion- the rest of the corn plant that is wasted- it far too inefficient at this point in time to help. Research is going on to identify bacteria that can break down the indigestible cellulose, but until that happens, corn-based ethanol is terrible on the economy as a whole.
We could import Brazilian sugar cane-derived ethanol, and I think that's a great idea until newer technologies mature. It would help free up some oil supplies, reducing pricing pressure in that market, while not driving up food prices. Brazil grows scads of sugar cane, and is eager to export it. But, our farmers don't want that, and instead we pander to local market when it makes no sense to do so.
In the long run, clean electricity and plug-in hybrids that can go long distances without using much liquid fuel are the best bet. But we are a ways off from that.
My issue with Bush is that he never thinks past the first thing he sees- Compact Fluorescents (Sounds Great!), Ethanol (Solves one problem!), Iraq (uh, the different sects can't get along?), etc... Cause->Effect, Cause->Effect, Cause->Effect! Think things through!!!
OK, off my soap box... :)