Ethanol Feature in USA Today

Cindy Zimmerman

There is a big feature story on ethanol in USA Today that, unfortunately, highlights more of the drawbacks to ethanol than the advantages. It focuses heavily on the fact that production and distibution of E85 are limited and that most fueling stations are located in the midwest – which is true. What it does not discuss at all is the potential for cellulosic ethanol to increase production in other regions of the country – which is what President Bush was talking about when he called it “this new kind of ethanol.” I have seen almost no coverage about this aspect of Bush’s comments.
USA Today also focuses on the current lack of flex-fuel vehicles available – that the five million we have now is only about two percent of the vehicles on the road. True. But it does note the strong commitment on the part of U.S. auto makers to making more available in the future.
It also notes that ethanol is less fuel efficient than gasoline, but points out that engines could be designed that would improve that.
It’s important to realize that the ethanol industry needs to grow tremendously on all levels before it can get to a point where it is replacing a significant amount of foreign oil. It will not happen overnight. Which is why the president’s goal for 2025 is actually pretty realistic. We are talking about CHANGE here and that always comes slowly. The best line in the article is “the potential of alcohol-based fuel is tantalizing.” The POTENTIAL is there – we need to overcome the challenges and make it happen.