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Ethanol The Road to Energy Independence

After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita impacted the Gulf Coast, gas and heating fuel prices spiked and caused a big stir, but things quieted down a bit when prices began to drop.Prices are soaring again, and this time the talk of alternative fuels is at the forefront, both in Congress and on the news. The biggest topic of discussion? Ethanol. Currently manufactured in the U.S. using corn as the raw material, ethanol is mixed with gasoline in varying blends as an alternative to gasoline.

Most cars and trucks in the U.S. can operate without modification on E15, a blend of 15-percent ethanol and 85-percent gasoline.Additionally, a lengthening list of "flex" cars from U.S.

auto manufacturers can operate on E85, a blend of 85-percent ethanol and 15-percent gasoline. Ethanol emits less energy than straight gasoline as it burns, so the mileage with ethanol is less than with gasoline, but it burns much cleaner than gasoline, lowering emissions substantially.Two problems with ethanol: It is expensive to produce, and it's not readily available in most regions of the U.

S. Experiments with wheat chaff and other cellulose-based residue promise to bring the price down, and increased production will hopefully bring the alternative fuel to gas stations throughout the country.With resources on the Internet claiming methods of converting standard automobile fuel systems so they can run on E85, we may find that a giant step toward U.S. energy independence is much closer than we think.

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Aldene Fredenburg is a freelance writer living in southwestern New Hampshire. She has written numerous articles for local and regional newspapers and for a number of Internet websites, including Tips and Topics. She expresses her opinions periodically on her blog, http://beyondagendas.blogspot.com She may be reached at amfredenburg@yahoo.

com.Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Aldene_Fredenburg.

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By: Aldene Fredenburg



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