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Biden’s quest to lower gasoline prices could mean axing biofuel mandates

As U.S. President Joe Biden weighs alternatives to lower fuel prices, one move that could bring immediate relief at the pumps is sparking debate: adjusting the Bush-era renewable fuel mandate.

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Of all schemes to reduce reliance of carbon fuels, biofuels are least rational, and corn-based alcohol is least rational of biofuels.  A lot of energy is wasted in conversions, just burning wood from tree plantation would probably give more energy in the form of electricity than alcohol from corn grown in the same area, and prime agricultural land is more limited than the land good for quickly growing trees.

Similarly, for urban drivers, the same amount of money used to switch to hybrid vehicles saves more hydrocarbons than using them for electric vehicles.  This year hybrid compact Honda costs the same as Civic, and saves 50% of fuel in urban traffic.  It saves very little in long distance traffic, but it has same range, if not larger, than conventional gasoline cars.  Thus for a family with one car, this is much better than electric, and cheaper!, and for a family with two cars, one used for commuting can be hybrid.

In the longer run, electric vehicles could be fine, hybrids were expensive when introduced, but now they used a lot of lithium.  With more nuclear power -- carbon free and reliable, and more sources of lithium, say Bolivia and Afghanistan (and Iran? they have a type of deserts associated with lithium too), electric vehicles could better than hybrid, but this is a decade away.

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When you compare carbon savings from switching to hybrid vehicles to carbon savings from gasohol, it is clear that gasohol is a boondoggle.  And given predominance of carbon-based electricity, high prices, infrastructure issues etc., mass switch to electric vehicles is a boondoggle too.

 

 

 

 

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