Legislation being considered by the state of Minnesota would mandate that gasoline sold in the state contain 20% ethanol. Passage of this law would not benefit the environment and could cost consumers millions of dollars.
Blending of ethanol in gasoline increases hydrocarbon emissions, which contribute to the formation of ozone. It also reduces fuel economy, which is the opposite of what advocates of higher CAFE standards, subsidies for hybrids, and opponents of crude oil imports say they want.
The ethanol mandate would have no impact at all on global warming, since its impact on global and even U.S. carbon dioxide emissions would be virtually undetectable. This is the equivalent of crying tears into the ocean: It would be all pain and no gain.
And the pain would be considerable. The ethanol mandate will damage many engines not equipped to handle the additive. This includes cars and trucks as well as small engines in lawnmowers, motorcycles, snowblowers, and snowmobiles.
Joseph L. Bast
President, The Heartland Institute
Joseph L. Bast ([email protected]) is the president of The Heartland Institute, a national public policy think tank based in Chicago. He is the coauthor of Eco-Sanity: A Common-Sense Guide to Environmentalism and the publisher of Environment & Climate News.