Letter: No one fuel will be 'green' cure
The real story: This past winter, during the sub zero weather, nine school buses, a stub-nose style, in Bloomington stalled due to fuel filter issues. Fox news reported that it was the biodiesel blend that caused the district to cancel classes for the day.
Well, let's talk about the real story. These buses had a fuel filter that was more exposed to the cold weather. They did not mention the other approximately 100 buses that used the same fuel which had no problems that day. In fact, the buses in International Falls, running on the same biodiesel blend, reported no problems. It was discovered that the wax crystals from the regular petroleum diesel were actually doing the plugging in the fuel filters.
We realize that with newer innovations in fuel, there are going to be some growing pains, but we do not need to invent problems that are not actually occurring. In May, Minnesota will move from a two percent biodiesel blend to a five percent blend. Biodiesel is one of the tools we can use to decrease our dependence of foreign oil and reduce air pollution.
Another tool is ethanol. The University of Minnesota released a study stating that environmentally, ethanol is no better that gasoline when you include the effects of harvesting and growing the crop.
The University of Nebraska study estimates that up to 19 gallons of ethanol are produced for every one gallon of petroleum used in the entire corn-ethanol production. There has also been much criticism placed on the subsidies for ethanol. Let's compare the two. A gallon of gas would go from $1.85 a gallon to $5.85 a gallon without the subsidies. A gallon of E85 starting at $1.45 would increase to $2.23 a gallon without subsidies.
Cellulosic ethanol production is on the horizon, but production is in the very early stages of development. There is no one green energy that will be a magic environmental cure, but all industries must work together for a positive economic and environmental future.