Fuel ethanol facts

By John Austin

Dear Editor:

Dave Eckhardt's letter, "Renewable Fuel Standard is working," July 22 DCI, didn't mention certain facts of the matter. Various studies and investigations have established that corn ethanol production consumes much more energy than it delivers. The ratio of energy consumed to energy produced ranges from a little under two to at least six. Meaning it takes many times more units of energy to manufacture one unit of fuel ethanol equivalent.

By way of comparison, oil refineries' output of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and similar products requires on the order of 0.25 energy units per unit of product. This gives crude oil anywhere from a four to 24 times advantage in energy efficiency compared to ethanol produced from cornfields.

Besides, current estimates from authoritative sources indicate that the U.S. will be self-sufficient as to crude oil in the next 15 to 20 years. In addition, we presently are producing more natural gas than we use, certain to continue beyond the foreseeable future.

Taxpayers are paying the extra cost of manufacturing renewable fuels. Ending ethanol subsidies is obviously long overdue, and they should not have been created in the first place.

John Austin