E85 cars and trucks may save American automakers

USA Today reports that Ford and GM are going to accelerate the introduction of more E85 cars and trucks, which will run on a mix of 85% ethanol (from corn) and 15% gasoline. Ford is planning to work with ethanol distillers to increase the number of gas stations that offer the alternative fuel, starting in the midwest, where corn is plentiful and where most of the ethanol producers are located.

Brazil has been doing this for years, and most cars and trucks in the country run mostly on E85 fuel. But the net benefits for this approach are still subject to debate. Some researchers claim it takes more energy to make ethanol than to refine gasoline. But some of those studies have been done by the oil industry, which is not entirely impartial.

Because of Brazil's success, it is likely that ethanol will become a part of the vehicle fuel options available in this country, along with fossil fuels, hydrogen, electricity, and natural gas. The gas station, ten years from now, will likely have a variety of pumps and charging stations for a variety of fuels and energy.

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