Sean King

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Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I Smell a Rat

Popsci: For years, studies have shown that ethanol is no better—or even worse—for the environment than gasoline. Some studies even claimed that it takes more energy to make a gallon of ethanol than you get from burning it.

But a new federal government-sponsored study released this week says the opposite. The report, entitled Improvements in Life Cycle Energy Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Corn-Ethanol, claims that a gallon of ethanol produces nearly twice as much energy as it consumes, and that switching from gasoline to ethanol cuts greenhouse gas emissions by 54 percent.

Why such different results? Better data, say the study’s authors—researchers from midwestern universities including the University of Nebraska, Iowa State, Michigan State, and the University of Wisconsin.

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