Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ethanol, Economics, and Environment

I've become very interested in the move to decrease our dependence upon foreign oil by moving toward ethanol. It seems that this should be an easy transition -- after all, Brazil has been running on sugar-cane based ethanol for several years. The city of Cincinnati transitioned to using Biodiesel in their public transit buses, and have saved almost half a million dollars, according to an article in the Enquirer on Tuesday:
The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, the agency that runs the
Metro bus service in Cincinnati and Hamilton County, estimates that it saved
almost $450,000 in 2006 by using biodiesel, which is fuel made from an
organic compound, such as soybeans. Metro's 390 buses used about 3.6 million
gallons of fuel last year - half of which was biodiesel. During warm months,
Metro fueled all buses with a blend made of up to 75 percent of biodiesel. It
switched back to 20 percent biodiesel blend in colder months because the
biodiesel can jell in cold weather. Ohio is the sixth-largest producer of
soybeans in the nation, and biodiesel burns cleaner and has fewer emissions than
standard diesel fuel.

Now on top of that, the Wall Street Journal reports that Governor Ahhhnold ordered California to cut at least 10% of carbon content in fuel by 2020 -- and 37 state governors are pushing for greater federal mandates for increased ethanol usage.

Ethanol use just makes good sense for consumers -- I'm hoping to hold out buying a new car until it's widely more available (listen up Detroit -- I don't plan on buying a new car until I can buy an ethanol using car). Ethanol use will pump more dollars back into our economy and it will be technology that we can export to other countries. It seems like a great win win for all involved.

If only I had bought Corn Futures.....