Engineering News

Ethanol: Great for NASCAR, Not So for Others?
June 14, 2011

While NASCAR has been singing the praises of ethanol and its use in all three national series this season, there are a variety of groups who do not share the same view.

Livestock industries, food manufacturers, taxpayer watchdog groups and environmentalists are unhappy with the ethanol subsidies granted by the government.

None is upset with NASCAR and its decision to use ethanol. Rather, these groups want the government to stop spending $6 billion per year in taxpayer money for something, they claim, is not doing what it promised.

Ethanol is supposed to reduce our dependency on foreign oil and reduce harmful emissions released into the air.

All it is doing, these groups say, is creating higher costs that are making it tough for them to survive.

According to a Wall Street Journal article from April 30, 40 percent of the nation's corn crop goes to making ethanol.

Livestock producers claim that drives up the cost of feed, which ultimately leads to higher food prices.

Last October, the Environmental Protection Agency approved the selling of fuel blends with up to 15 percent ethanol.

There is a concern among ethanol's critics that the higher blend could corrode fuel lines and ruin engines, particularly in older cars (pre-2007).

Currently, gas sold at the pumps contains as much as 10 percent ethanol, and critics claim that is harmful to small engines. Two weeks ago, Stihl recalled two million of its power tools because of problems with the fuel caps. The Consumer Product Safety Commission claims that the levels of ethanol can distort the caps, which could cause the fuel to spill and possibly cause a fire.

These groups are not asking NASCAR to stop using ethanol. Instead, they are asking for policy changes and for the government to stop subsidizing the ethanol industry.

Source: PRNewswire

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