Can anyone please explain to me the virtues of ethanol?

I am admittedly ignorant about this subject, and my knowledge of ethanol comes mostly from what I’ve heard from others.

As near as I can tell, ethanol seems to increase our dependency on foreign oil and undoubtedly increases food prices overall; not to mention, whether you have a gas-burning engine or not, we all pay for ethanol in the form of taxes.

Here are several things that I have been told:

  • Ethanol decreases gas mileage by 6 percent or more.
  • Ethanol is government-mandated and subsidized, and the total cost is significant and not reflected entirely at the pump.
  • Ethanol uses genetically engineered corn and displaces millions of acres of farm land that could be used to grow food crops such as wheat that would ultimately reduce food prices.
  • Ethanol is bad for small engines.
  • It takes nearly the same amount of fossil fuels to produce an equivalent amount of ethanol.

I welcome anyone’s polite corrections if I have made mistakes in my ethanol assessment.

Dean Bureau, Winslow

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