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Emissions Testing: The Truth About Ethanol And Our Environment

Submitted by MiaB

Having paid $299/gallon for gas here in the U.S. and $1.05/litre (that’s $4.20/gallon) just over the Northern boarder for gas, it’s not surprising that many of us have downsized that size of our vehicles but are left to feel like even that’s not enough. In fact, the “solution” we are all eagerly waiting for is a more efficient and cost-effective form of fuel.

Despite the fact that ethanol has been taughted as an environmentally-friendly, clean-burning fuel for cars, experts assert that long term and widespread use may pose a threat to our health.

Scientists suggest that if every American car were powered by ethanol instead of gas, we would see an increase in the number of respiratory-related hospitalizations and deaths.

The determinations were made via a computer model that simulated air quality conditions in the U.S. by 2020 should there be a widespread use of vehicles powered by E85, a combination of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.

According to the studies, \, the E85 vehicles reduced the atmospheric levels of two carcinogens: benzene and butadiene but contribute to increasing another two, formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. Thus, cancer rates from E85 would remain relatively the same as it is based on gasoline emissions. However, in some areas E85 resulted in a significant increase in ozone, the main ingredient of smog.

According to the computer model, ozone increased in Los Angeles and the northeastern United States, but dropped in the southeast.

According to the study, E85 increased ozone-related death in the United Stated, by about 200 fatalities per year as compared to those caused by gasoline, with an estimated 120 of those deaths occurring in Los Angeles. And, experts add that these rates show an increase of nearly 4 percent in the United Stated and nine percent in Los Angeles, above the estimated ozone-related mortality rates expected for gasoline-fueled autos in 2020.

Additionally, research revealed that E85 would probably also increase the number of asthma-related emergency room visits in the U.S. by about 770 annually and the number of respiratory-related hospitalizations by 990 per year.

Furthermore, the hazardous effects of E85 would stay the same whether it was manufactured from corn, switchgrass or any other kind of plant. In fact, scientists suggest looking into other alternatives such as battery-electric, plus-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, those whose energy can be achieved from wind or solar power. According to experts, these vehicles produce close to zero emissions or greenhouse gases and result in little disturbance to the land and environment, unlike ethanol, which in addition to all the other concern, will require millions of acres of farmland to mass-produce if manufactured from corn or switchgrass.

Life News > Emissions Testing: The Truth About Ethanol And Our Environment

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