TRUTH IN LABELING: Y. Fray, the owner of ECO-LIMO in Santa Monica, Ca., has responded to a New York Times analysis posted this week about a backlash against ethanol fuel production. Her posting is an excellent primer on the different types of alternative fuels and how each reduces carbon emissions. For operators considering alternative fuel vehicles and needing some hard facts, please read below.
Please know and be advised that ECOLIMO does not promote the use of ethanol in our business or in our cars. First of all, ethanol is not widely or readily available in the State of California. If other transportation providers are promoting themselves as “green” and they should be “yellow” via the use of ethanol, where are they getting it and do they even know what it is? The most recent trend by California limousine companies is to buy a Flex Fuel vehicle because it says Flex Fuel on the back (sounds good right?) and just put regular gas in it because E85 is not readily available. Or, how about a large operator who was given large SUV hybrid cars by a large car maker for a major award show and didn't really care about fuel economy, emissions or global warming "as long as the car says" HYBRID" on the outside". Oh, please!
Basically, here are current choices for alternative types of energy for cars on the road today:
- Hybrid electric vehicles reduce tailpipe emissions by approximately 28 per cent.
- Ethanol, as a 10 per cent blend with gasoline, produces about three to four per cent fewer emissions than gasoline.
- Biodiesel, as a 20 per cent blend with diesel, produces 12 to 18 per cent fewer emissions than pure petroleum diesel.
- Natural gas burns more cleanly, efficiently and completely than gasoline or diesel fuel, producing far fewer toxic pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Propane produces up to 20 per cent fewer toxic pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Fuel Cell cars have been in development for years and use a sophisticated electrochemical energy conversion device similar to a battery. The power is then put to the wheels via an electric motor. The core source of energy is hydrogen, which is sometimes extracted from water. Despite the appeal of fuel-cell cars an affordable, commercially available model is not on the horizon.
- Methanol is another alcohol derived from a variety of sources such as oil shale, coal, natural gas or agricultural waste. Methanol can also be derived from landfills (LFG).
ECOLIMO promotes the use of renewable biodiesel fuel, CNG (a fossil fuel byproduct) and hybrid gas / electric technology. The primary reason is that these alternative types of energy are within our current domestic infrastructure and are the cleanest, most effective to date to help fight our climate crisis, reduce greenhouse gases and further reduce the dependence on our natural resources, specifically fossil fuels and foreign fossil fuels to boot. ECOLIMO does not promote the use of ethanol. Corn is the major agricultural stock for ethanol in the United States. ECOLIMO’s position is simply this regarding the use of ethanol for our company: there is not enough corn in the world to feed it yet fuel it. Corn, after all, is a feedstock for hog, poultry, beef, and dairy farmers. Corn sweeteners and syrups are widely used in food preparation and processing. Rising corn prices also put upward pressure on wheat and soybean prices, because all three grains compete for land and customers. Food prices are rising faster than the overall inflation rate.
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