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Renewable Energy In America

Decent Essays
Fuel price seems to be the subject that always makes headlines on a regular basis. The United States is the biggest consumer of energy in the world. Lucas Davis, a Berkeley Professor conducted a study in 2013 on global oil consumption and found that the average American consumes more than 300 gallons of gasoline annually. The amount is at least 200 gallons more than other developed countries such as Germany, and France. (Davis, 2013) The high consumption forces Americans to rely on foreign fuel sources since domestic energy is simply not enough to satisfy the thirst. Rising fuel price coupled with fuel shortage scare are often a common concern for every American, thus there needs to be an invention to stretch the supply in case of disaster.…show more content…
As green as ethanol may seem to be, its production is very much opposite. In fact, it takes 70 percent more energy to make ethanol than the actual energy content of ethanol itself (Segelken, 2009).
One of the primary purposes of ethanol is to save money for American by stretching fuel supply while easing financial pain at the pump. Ethanol, however, is far from fulfilling that promise. According to the Department of Energy, vehicles that operate on E85 (a gasoline blend with 51% - 85% ethanol) gets 15% - 27% lower mileage than its pure gasoline counterpart. Not only that, E85 is also more expensive per mile than an unadulterated gasoline. (Ethanol, n.d.)
Perhaps one of the most overlook side effects of ethanol is water retention. There is as much as 0.5% of water by volume in E10 gasoline (Rand, 2003); water is the biggest enemy of internal combustion engine since it can corrode fuel line and engine components. The problem is often negligible initially in newer vehicles, however, a prolong use can result in degraded performance and equipment failure. Older vehicles and outdoor power equipment are even more susceptible to damage since they are not setup to use this type of blended
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Ethanol did not become such a staple addition to gasoline until the 1970s due to fuel shortage scare. Its use became even more prevalent in the early 2000s with the increase in global warming awareness. The Renewable Fuels Association reports that the United States alone produced over 15 billion gallons of ethanol, a 14 billion gallons increase from its production in 1999 (Industry Statistics, 2017). While ethanol is a clean energy when use, however, its production is not quite as clean clean as it appears to be. Ethanol is considered renewable since the heartland of the United States grows so much corn annually to supply the plant. The corn growing process is quite damaging to the environment. Farming equipment runs on diesel fuel, which directly contributes to the greenhouse gas production. The use of fertilizer and insect repellent chemical is harmful to soil and atmosphere. The transportation of crops relies heavily on semi-tractors that still heavily rely on fossil fuel, thus exacerbate the problem. Not to mention that ethanol plants require electricity primarily generated by coal-fired power plants since it is much more efficient and a lot cheaper. All these factors contribute to the global warming problem, the very problem that ethanol is supposed to
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