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Editor's Note: Pointing Out the Differences
by Kristin Brekke

We had hoped our May issue cover would be eye-catching, and judging by the response we got, we were right. Thank you for your comments and compliments on our (slight) departure from the typical all-white design.

And who knew how timely our “future sources of oil” article would be, unfortunately. The bad news keeps coming from the Gulf oil spill, though at press time BP is reporting progress with one relief effort – inserting a mile-long pipe into the well to bring some of the leaking oil and gas up to a ship on the ocean’s surface. But new questions are arising about the unknown effect of all those chemical dispersants on underwater life, and scientists have just reported finding large plumes of oil deep under the water. The spill may be larger than the 5,000 barrels per day they are estimating from the surface.

Ethanol advocates have been criticized by some for speaking out in the wake of the oil spill, saying we are trying to take advantage of the disaster for our own benefit. But I don’t believe that pointing out differences is the same as taking advantage, and the differences between oil and ethanol are stark.

The fact is that future sources of oil are getting more damaging to the environment. Look at pictures of the open-pit mining in the Canadian tar sands, or at one of the online news graphics that animates the growing size of the oil spill. And it is a fact that ethanol is a much cleaner, safer alternative – period. There is no denying that the entire nation would benefit from using less oil and more renewable alternatives.

Several of our writers this month talk about the importance of flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) and blender pumps. Because we’ve used only petroleum for so long, our entire transportation system is built around it. But with two small changes – making more vehicles flex-fuel and installing blender pumps at gas stations – we can unlock the door to more flexibility in our fuel system. Read more in the “Grassroots Voice,” the “Lamberty Report,” and in this month’s “Last Word” guest editorial from Gal Luft, co-author of a book on energy independence through fuel choice.

© American Coalition for Ethanol, all rights reserved.
The American Coalition for Ethanol publishes Ethanol Today magazine each month to cover the biofuels industry�s hot topics, including cellulosic ethanol, E85, corn ethanol, food versus fuel, ethanol�s carbon footprint, E10, E15, and mid-range ethanol blends.
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