Harvesting Ethanol Gains?

While it would seem easier to impose ethanol mandates on every gas station in the nation so that producers can get their product out to drivers surreptitiously, this will ultimately prove to be problematic ["After Biofuels Boom, Ethanol Makers Want More," November 3-10].

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While it would seem easier to impose ethanol mandates on every gas station in the nation so that producers can get their product out to drivers surreptitiously, this will ultimately prove to be problematic ["After Biofuels Boom, Ethanol Makers Want More," November 3-10]. Though ethanol can reduce our dependence on foreign oil, the idea of blending gasoline with 10 percent or 20 percent ethanol dilutes the potential supply for vehicles like mine that can run on E85. Those flex-fuel vehicles are everywhere, yet there are not enough stations selling E85. The closest station to my residence that sells E85 is a 60-mile drive away. If ethanol producers really want ethanol blends to catch on, they could just as easily make deals with major retailers who have added discount gas stations in front of their store (namely Wal-Mart through their affiliation with Murphy USA) to carry E85 at more of their outlets as they could convince various state legislatures to make everyone blend their fuels and dilute the supply.

Kyle Hill, Springdale, Ark.

It is remarkable that an article on ethanol has not a word on the giant subsidy ethanol-from-corn producers receive, courtesy of the farm lobby. Also not mentioned is the bar on importation of ethanol. Brazil is both willing and able to send ethanol via tanker, but the ethanol lobby prevents it. Ethanol from corn is an enormous user of water, maybe a net energy user. Ethanol from corn cannot compete without massive government intervention.

Harold B. Reisman, Ph.D., Carlsbad, Calif.

Ethanol proponents say that in 2007, ethanol helped displace 228 million barrels of oil. OK, producing that much ethanol probably took about 228 million barrels of oil to grow and process the corn used. There was no gain in useful energy and costly effects on our food supply and environment. It is past time to halt our ethanol binge and save billions of dollars the politicians wasted in ethanol subsidies.

William Ashby, Carbondale, Ill.

Correction: In "Does It Matter That Your Professor Is Part Time?" [November 17-24], Western Governors University is a 10-year-old private, nonprofit online university.

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