The Dark Side of Ethanol
Posted on Apr 18, 2007
A new study out of Stanford University says ethanol could worsen smog problems, as the alternative fuel may produce dirtier air than gasoline. Ethanol has already been something of a mixed bag for environmentalists, who are desperate for politically viable alternative fuels but troubled by the high cost of corn-based ethanol.
AP via Yahoo:
Nearly 200 more people would die yearly from respiratory problems if all vehicles in the United States ran on a mostly ethanol fuel blend by 2020, the research concludes. Of course, the study author acknowledges that such a quick and monumental shift to plant-based fuels is next to impossible.
Each year, about 4,700 people, according to the study’s author, die from respiratory problems from ozone, the unseen component of smog along with small particles. Ethanol would raise ozone levels, particularly in certain regions of the country, including the Northeast and Los Angeles.
“It’s not green in terms of air pollution,” said study author Mark Jacobson, a Stanford University civil and environmental engineering professor. “If you want to use ethanol, fine, but don’t do it based on health grounds. It’s no better than gasoline, apparently slightly worse.”