Minnesota Farmer

Ethanol, for your health

I am frequently amazed at the vehemence of some people who want to have the ethanol mandate removed.  They seem to feel that anything that the government requires them to do is bad for them.  They don’t realize that the mandated use of ethanol in gasoline is for their health.

Too often in the battle for market share between oil companies and ethanol supporters we emphasize the economic factors, and patriotic reasons for using a home grown fuel.  Science and history are firmly behind the use of fuels that you do not have to import.  Our health is the strongest reason to use ethanol.

About twenty years ago cities across the U.S. were announcing their smog index.  Many cities were left in a fog of partly burned gasoline fumes.  Cities such as Minneapolis and St. Paul required that your car have an exhaust system check before you could renew the tabs on your car’s license plate.  Then tests showed that the addition of ethanol to gasoline reduced the amount of unburned hydrocarbons, the smog index in Minneapolis and St. Paul became a thing of the past, and the modern ethanol industry was born.  The American Lung Association and America’s farmers couldn’t have been more happy.

Few realize that the internal combustion engine was designed to be fueled by ethanol.  Henry Ford was one of the biggest boosters of the ethanol industry.  Then the oil industry was born and cheap fuel spawned our love affair with the automobile.

For the last 90 years our government has supported the oil industry.  There have been tax breaks and incentives to keep or fuel inexpensive here.  All the time the smog of gasoline exhaust was filling our lungs and ruining our health.  If our government can help support the oil industry for 90 years, it’s only right that they support a healthy fuel choice for the same amount of time.

The next time you hear someone putting down the ethanol industry remind them that we all breath better because of ethanol, the clean air choice.



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