LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Every single point Ron Hart tried to make about ethanol was wrong

Staff Writer
Walton Sun
Walton Sun

I just read Ron Hart’s opinion piece in your paper. I don’t want to call it ignorant but it is extremely poorly researched. Essentially every point he try's to make is erroneous.

We have ethanol in our fuel supply for many reasons including lower cost, cleaner burning and job creation in the USA. In 2008 the original RFS was reinforced by the Energy Independence and Security Act of and expanded to incentivize the development of more advanced biofuels. The name of the act speaks to other goals that are still important today. There is no subsidy for ethanol producers.

Corn farmers started the movement in the 1980s to add value to the mountains of surplus corn because they were fed up with surviving on federal subsidies. About half of the U.S. ethanol plants are still independent producers owned by hundreds of farmers and businessmen that put up millions of dollars to build them. Most communities saw those investments returned two- and three-fold, not to mention the economic boost from well-paying jobs.

The oil industry doesn’t want ethanol to go away, but it doesn’t want to give up any more market share to advanced biofuels. It needs the low-cost oxygenate as refineries have been retooled to run more profitably by producing a lower-octane base gasoline. If they don’t use ethanol, they must use a benzene-related oxygenate to bring the octane up. If you want an eye opener, research how toxic benzene is.

Ethanol’s high octane offers other benefits. Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy and Ford Motor Co. have said, if E30 were widely available, they could deliver more power with smaller engines at greater fuel efficiency than we see today, helping the auto industry reach the 54.5 mile per gallon CAFE standard.

Mr. Hart should check his vehicle’s owner’s manual. There is no mention of cleaning fuel injectors, ever, and certainly no mention of ethanol being a causative factor for clogged fuel lines.

A rough running engine can be caused by clogged fuel injectors but that is usually due to the use of inferior grade gasoline with a resultant buildup of carbon and varnish from the gasoline, not the ethanol.

Ethanol is in fact an excellent solvent and will help keep injectors clean.

Bob Miller, Vero Beach