Ethanol, also known as grain alcohol, is made from corn and other grains. Ethanol contains approximately one-third more energy than is required to produce it and deliver it to fueling stations. In the near future it will also be made from rice straw, cornstalks, municipal solid waste, and energy crops such as switchgrass.
There are other benefits. Ethanol burns cleaner, emitting less carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons than plain gasoline.
Biodiesel, which is used in diesel-powered vehicles as well as stationary generators, is made from such things as oil from soybeans and used cooking oil.
The amount of used cooking oil now disposed of in the U.S. exceeds the current potential demand for biodiesel fuel, making it an abundant resource. Another advantage of biodiesel is its high lubricity which helps the moving parts of engines to last longer.
Biodiesel dramatically cuts air toxins, carbon monoxide, soot, small particles and hydrocarbon emissions in half.
Furthermore, since the raw materials for ethanol and biodiesel are produced domestically, using these fuel sources helps American farmers. In fact, experts estimate about a third of our transportation fuel needs can be met by domestically produced biofuels.
To learn more about ethanol, biodiesel and other alternative fuels, go to www.eere.energy. gov/vehiclesandfuels/ or www. eere.energy.gov/biomass.
America is exploring ingenious ways to deal with rising gasoline costs.