Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


Ethanol bill is faux environmentalism

Gov. Jim Doyle mentioned it in last week's State of the State, and Republican and Democratic legislators alike applauded him for endorsing it. The bill in question, under serious consideration, would mandate gasoline sold in Wisconsin contain between 9.2 and 10% ethanol.

Those of us in southeastern Wisconsin are already required to use reformulated gasoline containing ethanol in order to comply with the Clean Air Act. The reasoning for making this a statewide mandate has little to do with air quality though, and those pushing the legislation know this. It's essentially a giveaway to corn growers and companies like ADM who extract ethanol from it.

The bill has produced strange bedfellows of opposition with the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and the Sierra Club coordinating their efforts against it. The real problem is that ethanol does little to improve air quality, and we gain little if anything in terms of energy conservation since ethanol uses just slightly less oil to manufacture than it displaces when used.

We ought to be talking more about conservation and improving the quality of our air. CAFE standards should be raised at the federal level, and auto companies like Ford should start building more fuel efficient vehicles that Americans actually want to buy. Unfortunately, this bill is nothing more than political pandering masquerading as environmentalism.


At 1/25/2006 12:19:00 PM, Anonymous ProLife&Liberal said...

I've heard some say that the initial study is out of date and that a 10% ethonal madate would work it improve air quality. Also keep in mind that conservation efforts do not appear to be harmed by this law. Last but not least, I think it is ironic that special interests could be pointed to (ADM) when oil interests are ignored. Also I suspect that WMC doesn't like it be because it generally opposes new regulations-something that I suspect would happen (I'd be surprised and pleased if this doesn't happen) with conservation efforts.

PS ethonal could serve-sooner or later-as an alternative fuel, so why not give it a chance?

At 1/25/2006 01:39:00 PM, Blogger Scott said...

I'm open to using ethanol, but based on what I've read, it hasn't been as effective as the hype would suggest.

If an updated study shows that those earlier figures are inaccurate, I'd be interested in taking a look at it. If you find the study, feel free to send it to me or post it here.


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