Cheaper Gasoline, Cleaner Air or Both?

Cheaper Gas Prices, Gasoline, & Ethanol

If we want it all, and we do, what’s the answer? Oil prices are shooting up and going higher; gasoline prices gallop along in concert. Recently it was announced that 60 million barrels of oil will be released from petroleum reserves. Since the world uses 90-plus million barrels per day, the 60 million barrels should get us to about noon one day and do nothing to help reduce costs.

Concerns about the climate are at the top of the current administration’s policies. In response, aspirational electric vehicle targets are put in place. Can we wait until 2035, 2040, or 2050 to see whether automakers will meet their targets? The Environmental Protection Agency has defined six criterion pollutants as being of particular concern. The burning of gasoline contributes to increases in all of these except lead, which has been removed from gasoline blends.

Is there something that can be done immediately that addresses all of these issues? Of course, there is. Today ethanol is selling for 70 to 80 cents less than gasoline at blending terminals. That translates directly to a cost savings for everyone who buys gasoline. The savings increase in direct proportion to the amount of ethanol in our fuel.

The use of ethanol in our gasoline reduces every single criterion pollutant. But the argument today isn’t about those, it’s about greenhouse gases, most specifically carbon dioxide. And guess what, ethanol makes a huge contribution here as well. Ethanol currently reduces carbon emissions by nearly 50 percent compared to gasoline. That’s according to researchers at Harvard and Tufts as well as the Argonne National Lab. In 2021 alone the use of ethanol reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 54.5 million metric tons — the equivalent of removing 12 million cars from the road for an entire year.

Source credit:

Bob Miller

Bob Miller, Industry Consultant

Education: Bachelor of science in mechanical engineering, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, 1975. Masters in management, Salve Regina University, Newport, RI, 1986. Masters in international strategic studies, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, RI, 1986.

Career: Consultant since 2011. Plant manager, E Energy Adams, Adams, NE, 2007-11. Vice president of bulk manufacturing, Florida Distillers, Lake Alfred, FL, 1995-2007. Plant manager, Florida Distillers, Auburndale, FL, 1991-95. Production supervisor, Florida Distillers, Lake Alfred, FL, 1989-91. Commissioned officer, U.S. Navy carrier pilot, 1975-89. Enlisted petty officer, U.S. Navy Polaris submarine missile technician, 1968-75.

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