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Ethanol: The wrong mix

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Letter to the Editor
Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

I want to point out several inaccuracies in the letter “Ethanol's benefits” by John Risser.

First off, alcohol has 30 percent less energy (BTUs) per gallon than gasoline. Hence, you use more to go the same distance, negating any “lower cost” of travel.

Second, the corn industry is being subsidized by the federal government, so the commodity price of alcohol is artificial and causes higher food prices, due to feed/grain price increases because of demand.

Third, ethanol uses more energy in its manufacture than it produces (and generates more emissions).

Late-model engines designed to run on E85 have fuel systems designed to run on ethanol and will not run correctly on gasoline (detonation or “pinging” due to gasoline's lower octane). Alcohol is very corrosive and has an affinity for water, and it cannot be transported through existing pipelines, so it must be shipped by rail or truck (more emissions and cost). Alcohol burns hotter than gasoline, it produces more nitrogen oxides (alleged pollutants) and it burns pistons and exhaust valves.

There is no proof of any E85 engines keeping their internals cleaner than a well-maintained “gasser.”

Leave the ethanol in the moonshine still, “drill, baby, drill” here in the U.S., and leave the environmentalist talking points about the benefits of E85 where they belong: at the bottom of a bird cage.

Sue Parlak

North Versailles

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