Energy Victory

Sam Abuelsamid tells us that Robert Zubrin has new book on gaining petroleum independence.

Zubin wants us to reduce our dependency on foreign oil by having the capability to switch to a variety of alcohol fuels. He wants Congress to require that all new cars and trucks be multi-fuel capable. These vehicles should be able to run on any alcohol, including methanol or butanol.

Commentary focused upon ethanol as an alternative transportation fuel and in response to the idea that all engines be flex-fuel capable, I commented:

Maybe I am missing something. I thought all cars could accept E10 without modification. And, according to recent information, from ABG and elsewhere, modern gasoline powered engines could accept E20 with no problem.

So, with no modification necessary you could reduce carbon emissions in the U.S. transportation sector significantly, as well as reduce dependency upon foreign oil. And, the amount of ethanol coming from domestic sources would improve balance of trade. So at least a “three-for”, which is why even the dirty energy bill might help if Big Oil would accept rather than continue to resist adoption of the lower blend.

Of course, the term “flex-fuel” implies E85 capable. As previously noted, Brazilian car buyers expect their vehicles to be E100 capable. Most of the objection in the commentary was to modification of existing engines to accept E85.

Some of the most cogent commentary came from GreatGreenHammer:

Zurbin states in his book, that we CAN NOT grow all this fuel domestically. On the contrary, he advocates we drop these silly tariffs we have against Brazilian ethanol and other third world country agricultural products. His point is simple: instead of sending billions to the middle east, we should be sending that money to the third world farmer.

Now i know many of you have a reflex negative reaction to the thought of increased 3rd world agriculture (cries of “deforestation”!) — Don’t do it.. Lots of fantastic farmland in Africa that’s not being efficiently managed. Same goes for Latin America — in fact, if we can help these people invest in the kind of Ag technology we have in the states, they can be just as efficient as we are, if not more so. Without the deforestation so many of us worry about. And here’s the kicker, With well managed farms sprouting up across the globe, the amount of C02 sucked up by these super farms will be far greater than the sum currently being absorbed by the fallow dusty mess we create with our misguided tariff policies.

And, Zurbin isn’t at all in “love” with corn ethanol. The guy is literally a “rocket scientist”, he knows a thing or two about fuel. You’d be surprised at how numerous the avenues are en rout to alcohol based fuels.

I’m actually in favor of going the electric rout too. But that’s my “perfect world” scenario. I’d much prefer to see our ag subsidies go into battery subsidies. as far as “mandating” all cars be “flex fuel”, it does rub my libertarian instincts a bit raw, but in the end, I don’t see how “mandating” more fuel CHOICE for our vehicles could be a bad thing. Right now, we have no choice.

Why not make all the cars flex fuel, and let the “market” decide how to fuel them instead of coming up with a million negative scenarios on why it would never work? Like Zurbin says, flex fuels are but a temporary solution, it’s the only one we have until electric finally takes hold.

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