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Ethanol and Biodiesel: Few Benefits, Many Problems

July 22, 2022

Accounting for its effects on fuel economy, air quality, and food prices, biofuels likely produce net harms on balance.

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Quick Bullets:

  • Ethanol and biodiesel are biofuels made from agricultural products.
  • Ethanol has a lower energy density than gasoline, which means vehicles get fewer miles per gallon.
  • Per unit of equivalent energy, ethanol produces more carbon dioxide than normal gasoline.
  • Ethanol use in gasoline spiked after the banning of methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) and the passage of the 2005 Renewable Fuel Standard program, from 1.5 percent of gasoline consumption in 2002 to 10.3 percent in 2020. 
  • Ethanol fuels produce more nitrogen oxides (NOx) and other air pollutants, which contribute to worsening air pollution, especially in summer months.

For the full paper, see the attachment!

Article Tags
Energy
Author
Linnea Lueken is a Research Fellow with the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy.
llueken@heartland.org