Ethanol as an Alternative Energy Source Essay

1542 Words 7 Pages
Biofuels: Ethanol an Alternative Energy Source


Abstract
In today's society, when someone wants to go to the movies, work, school, library, or mall, they drive to their destination. The average amount of gasoline consumed per year is about 146 gallons in the U.S. (Biofuels for Transportation, p1). Discoveries of huge petroleum deposits kept gasoline cheap for decades and biofuels were forgotten (Leen, p1). However, with the recent oil prices, along with growing concern of global warming caused by carbon dioxide emissions, biofuel regained popularity (Leen, p1). Ethanol, a renewable fuel made from plants was added to gasoline to increase octane and help the engines burn more efficiently and cleanly (West,p1).

Introduction
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At the start of the 20th century, Henry Ford planned to fuel his Model T's with ethanol (Leen, p2). This widely available fuel used in many vehicles on the road including sedans, minivans, SUVs, pickups and light trucks costs about the same as a gallon of regular gasoline. A gallon of E85, a fuel mix of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, contains less energy than a gallon of gasoline (Leen, p2). Although ethanol has lower mileage and requires you to fill your tank more often, research proves that it is better for our environment. In fact, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, all recommend ethanol fuels (Leen, p2). Drivers would need more ethanol to drive the same distance, and ethanol prices are expected to be higher than gasoline prices when and if it is implemented on a national scale. Drivers of ethanol-powered cars may also have to drive further distances to find a specialized gas station, which offers E85 ethanol (Alternative Energy, p1).

Advantages
One of the advantages of ethanol fuel is its organic origins. In the United States, ethanol is primarily derived from corn. Since corn and sugar cane are both renewable resources grown by domestic farmers, the land is known as an advantage (Sunshine, p1). Ethanol burns cleaner than gasoline, which is another one of the advantages. It does not contain significant amounts of toxic materials such as lead and benzene (Sunshine, p1). By lowering the amount of greenhouse gases and ozone created…