Etha-Not a Good Idea
Ethanol is the fuel of the future. Really? How so? Ethanol will solve the energy crisis. That sounds a little far fetched. Ethanol stimulates time travel. Alright, that’s just a flat-out lie. It seems that these days everybody and their brother thinks that ethanol is the magic key to the future of powering automobiles and solving the problem of dependence on foreign oil. Well, that is not the case. Ethanol is not the energy source of the future; in fact ethanol only creates more energy problems.
When Nicolaus Otto built his famous four-stroke engine in 1876, he chose it to use gasoline (Gilles 2). It was probably because gasoline was the most abundant fuel, and because it had a relatively high energy density compared to other fuels of the time. One expert argues that gasoline has an energy density of more than one and a half times that of ethanol (“Ethanol”). This means that to have the same amount of energy produced by gasoline in combustion, one and a half times more ethanol will be needed. According to a magazine review, that affects the performance of a vehicle in terms of power and mileage (Edmunds and Reed).
Like many other automotive magazines, Edmunds conducted a test on performance of a 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe. But this test was different. It pitted gasoline against E85 ethanol (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline) on a trip in the western part of the United States. The test would go round trip from San Diego to Las Vegas and back, with various standard performance tests along the way, with one round trip on each fuel type. However, the testers were skeptical before the test even started; they packed six extra gallons of E85 away in the back of the Tahoe, which was a good idea because the gas light did in fa...
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Gilles, Tim. Automotive Engines: Diagnosis, Repair, Rebuilding. Clifton Park, NY: Thomson/Delmar Learning, 2007. Print.
Jenkins, Nate. "In Nebraska, Experts Disagree over How Much Water It Takes to Produce Ethanol." Forecast Earth from The Weather Channel. Associated Press, 27 Aug. 2007. Web. 28 Mar. 2010. .
Kerr, Kevin. "Ethanol: The Truth About This 'Alternative' Fuel." The Daily Reckoning - Entertaining Ideas on the Economy, Markets, Gold, Oil and Investing Strategies. Web. 15 Mar. 2010. .
Segelken, Roger. "Scientist Opposes Ethanol." Cornell Chronicle Online. 23 Aug. 2001. Web. 26 Mar. 2010. .