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Ethanol for Your Car?

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

Tom Mast, founder of Solve American Gridlock

References: Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, by Linh Ta, 2/16/2022 and

ABC News/ Matthew Daly Associated Press, April 12, 2022

A five-year study, partially paid for by the U.S. Department of Energy among others, finds that ethanol is at least 24% more carbon-intensive than gasoline, per Reuters.

A recent report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences revealed that the federal ethanol mandate inflated corn prices by 30% from 2008 to 2016 and made corn-based ethanol more carbon-intensive than gasoline. The US support of ethanol made from corn greatly affected corn prices in Mexico where corn is a basic part of the national diet.

The federal government mandates and subsidizes the use of ethanol in gasoline despite its disadvantages mentioned above. Why? The program is now very political since it created a huge new market for corn farmers, so it is difficult to do the right thing for global warming or the food industry.

The point of displaying these facts and the ethanol example is to show how weak or even counterproductive congressional actions clothed as mitigation against global warming can be – due to the political sway.

When one thinks of the thousands or perhaps millions of actions required in an economy – a society – to combat global warming effectively, it quickly becomes clear that having congress conceive and legislate each one of them is totally impractical.

Worst of all is that the present approach is not succeeding in its mission to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

June 3, 2022

The amount of planet-warming carbon dioxide in the atmosphere broke a record in May, continuing its relentless climb, scientists said Friday. It is now 50 percent higher than the preindustrial average, before humans began the widespread burning of oil, gas and coal in the late 19th century.

There is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now than at any time in at least 4 million years, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials said.

The concentration of the gas reached nearly 421 parts per million in May, the peak for the year, as power plants, vehicles, farms and other sources around the world continued to pump huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Emissions totaled 36.3 billion tons in 2021, the highest level in history.

So, what to do?

A. Create a commission of distinguished scientists and economists to create a Master Plan to combat global warming. Have Congress enact it.

B. Have the Plan based on carbon pricing ensure a fair, comprehensive, and effective actions by carbon end users to get GHG emissions on a downward slope.

C. Take steps to get worldwide participation in a fair and just way.


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