Should Ethanol or Fossil Oil be the fuel driving America’s cars and trucks? To me that’s a nonsensical question because the answer is “electricity” and the question doesn’t even ask about that fuel. However, a report on NPR’s All Things Considered yesterday talked about “Two large industries — agriculture and oil” who are “fighting a pitched battle over access to your car’s fuel tank.”
The NPR piece positioned the debate as solely a question between Ethanol and Fossil Oil. It did not discuss the role of Clean Diesel, an engine technology that Audi is pushing with a press release today. And it did not discuss the role of electricity, hydrogen, etc.
The piece was fairly well reasoned, as far as it goes. However, it solely positioned the problem as Ethanol, the Renewable Fuel Standard that mandates a certain percentage of Ethanol content, and the competition with fossil fuels, and the fossil fuel industry. But that is not the entirety of the choice we face. Electricity is a fine fuel for cars, motorcycles, bicycles, trucks, buses, trains, etc.
The piece quoted Bob Greco, with the American Petroleum Institute, saying “We can’t run our industry, our refineries, on a year-to-year basis so we will need long-term certainty about this. So that’s why we are urging Congress to revisit this and fix the RFS once and for all. Preferably repeal it.”
Meaning … The RFS gets renewed each year, giving the fossil fuel industry shifting rules to work under. Apparently these shifting rules causes them a headache and they’d rather the RFS were just repealed.
Of course, if the RFS were to be repealed it would benefit their businesses because we’d still be stuck with fossil fuel as the primary fuel. That is, until electric vehicles become predominant.
They then quoted Bob Dinneen, head of the Renewable Fuels Association, saying “If it’s not ethanol, what’s it going to be? Well, it’s going to be more oil. Where are we getting our oil from increasingly today? From fracking in North Dakota, from tar sands in Canada, raping the pristine forests of that beautiful country.”
Yes, great point.. continuing the dependency on fossil fuels means all those things. Yes. But, does that mean the only other choice is ethanol?
By the end of NPR’s piece I was screaming at the radio about Electricity as a Fuel.
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