Monday, March 27, 2006
Aaron takes me to task for a comment I left on Subject2Change regarding Mark Green's position on the ethanol mandate.
He makes some good points about the designer gasoline that the Southeast corner of the state is required to use which drives up costs for motorists there. But that has little to do with the ethanol argument and a lot to do with proximity to Chicago and its teeming millions of cars. He also talks about MTBE gasoline being hard on engines.
There is an argument made that today's autos are not made to run on an ethanol blend. That ignores that fact that millions of cars throughout the Midwest have been running on ethanol blends for years, mandated or not. The auto manufacturers are pushing their flex fuel vehicles harder every year and doing it so smoothly that hardly anyone notices. Other countries have used ethanol blends in varying mixtures for years without the world coming to an end. I'm not sure what that has to do with ethanol, either. Weaning this country off tetraethyl lead wasn't easy but it has proven worthwhile.
There is an assertion made that the price of ethanol will increase as more of it is used. That's probably true but I'd rather see Cousin Donny's kids getting a cut than Exxon/Mobil. Once ethanol is in widespread use the price will level out. I'm not sure where but it will level out.
I don't understand the opposition to something that has proven its worth time and again. The ugly backlash is beyond my ken. There seems to be a deeply held belief that something that is good for Wisconsin farmers is somehow bad for Milwaukee and Racine counties and that the only possible solution is to keep pissing money down the fossil fuel rathole.
Those seem to be the places where we can have an open scientific discussion on the merits of alt-fuels and the sociological merits of economic mandates to drive desirable behaviors. There is room for honest disagreement in Aaron and Nick's replies to me.
UPDATE: Dean has this post which links to the argument from both sides.
I try to not be too snide when disagreeing with folks but how am I expected to deal with the assertion that because ethanol is volatile it can't be used as small-engine fuel? That is what makes it useful as fuel in the first place. And then to argue that somehow Paul Harvey has turned into a radical treehugger ethanol pusher? I'm sorry. Lowell Thomas is dead. Get over it.