Member Response to Ethanol

Some Members say "Ethanol? Really?"

OK, let's be clearer-Not all ethanol is the same and we want it to get past feedstock to algae, switch grass, etc.

Better World Club received great feedback from some of our members after our last newsletter regarding our support for Ethanol, so we wanted to clarify our position.  Send us your thoughts.

Better World Club wants to enthusiastically support alternative fuels, but this support does not apply to every type of bio-fuel.  We do support the ethanol industry as an alternative fuel, but not all production methods.

It would be far better to derive biofuels from biomass, from waste feedstocks, or high-yielding bioenergy crops with low nitrogen demand.  These alternatives exist and are part of the ethanol industry mix we purchase at our pumps today.   If it were possible to financially support only those ethanol production methods that are viable, growing, and can be produced without being as bad or worse than fossil fuel production – food waste ethanol for example – we would encourage it.  For now, we advocate for better industry standards.

Advances in Cellulosic Ethanol from crops such as switch grass also show promise for being less harmful in overall impact than fossil fuels (as advances in agricultural and production methods decrease the amount of water, petro chemicals, land, and organic material it takes to produce ethanol).

Better World Club wants to see Congress improve the Renewable Fuel Standard.  We would like public and environmental health to be a stronger consideration in our fuel and transportation policies - to incentivize the growth of the biodiesel industry, solar, electric/hybrid technology, and sustainable production methods of ethanol.   Clean fuel industries should have, as the name suggest, clean fuel standards. 

On E15.  Better World Club believes educating the public on the potential effects of E-15 on non-flex fuel engines and the difference in fuel efficiency and GHG emissions is important.  We believe consumers will decide if they want to use E-15 based on those tradeoffs and have the right to do so.  Like other organizations, Better World Club is concerned about consumers choosing E-15 for a vehicle that cannot use it; however, we would rather see an education campaign rather than inflation of misinformation.

Moving innovation does not have to come through pushing ethanol and E-15, but if pushing E-15 forces manufacturers to better design new engines to more efficiently use fuel alternatives, great.  We need to think beyond what fuel works best in a 57’ Chevy and think more about what we want 20 years, 50 years, and 100 years from now.  We won’t be able to achieve any sustainable future without investments and tradeoffs now.

Kicking Asphalt

This article is from Better World Club's monthly eNewsletter, Kicking Asphalt. To receive Kicking Asphalt in your inbox, subscribe today!

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