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Environmentally Safe Ethanol Essay

1526 words - 7 pages

Environmentally Safe Ethanol

In order to fund conservation of the natural environment, the federal government should increase gasoline tax by one dollar per gallon. How does this statement make you feel? Does it make you want to argue about how unfair this is, especially when gas prices are climbing to higher and higher rates? Would you say that this is an unfair claim because it is unclear where your tax money would go?

I agree. This plan seems to have a good general idea, but there are details left out. I think the first priority should be to sort out where these extra resources would be used. It seems too vague to fund conservation of the natural environment. There are so many ...view middle of the document...

Most of these pollutants rise from the engine. These emissions are related to the fuel type and the temperature of the fuel combustion. At low speeds, and when engines are at idle, the products of incomplete combustion dominate. When the speeds are heightened, however, impurities like nitrogen are oxidized to nitrogen dioxide, which creates pollution.

All of the pollutants mentioned above are known as trace gases. Some of these trace gases can even release completely new gases into the atmosphere (Environmental Effects, 2001). Burning gasoline emits significant quantities of a wide range of hydrocarbons. Transportation sources account for 30 to 50 percent of all hydrocarbon emissions into the atmosphere.

All of these statistics and facts support my belief that auto pollution is a major problem that needs to be dealt with. Three federal acts have been passed in the past couple of decades. The first was The Alternative Motor Fuel Act of 1988. Second were The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, and third, The Energy Policy Act of 1992. All three of these acts promoted the use of alternative fuels and fuel vehicles through incentives and emissions standards. The Energy Policy Act, though, mandated the use of alternative fuels for the first time in U.S. history. Although these are all positive steps toward conservation of the natural environment, I think more needs to be done in specific areas. I believe that the best way to resolve or help cut down on environmental pollution is to give the tax money to ethanol research.

Ethanol is an alcohol typically fermented from grain. It is an octane enhancer added to motor fuel up to 10 percent. It will increase octane 2.5 to 3 points. Ethanol suspends and removes moisture as it is used in the fuel system. It eases cold weather starting, improves engine combustion and keeps systems cleaner (Iowa Corn Growers Association, 2001).

Why would ethanol be the solution to this major problem? As I explained earlier, defining specific areas where tax money should be used is key. If all the funds are taken and spread among many sources, each would receive a relatively small amount. The length of time an item is taxed is also a key factor. Since we do not know the length of time gas would be taxed, it would be sensible to choose one area to concentrate on.

The concept of ethanol as a fuel began as early as Henry Ford designed the first Model T car (Environmental Effects, 2001). But America did not use ethanol-blended gasoline until near the beginning of the 1980s. I believe now that more research is needed. The more we learn about ethanol, the more the environment may be helped.

Ethanol is made from agricultural feedstocks and is one of the best tools around used to combat air pollution. It reduces carbon monoxide emissions into the atmosphere by 30 percent. Ethanol also reduces hydrocarbon emissions by 27 percent. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gives accreditation to reformulated gas (that...

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