Want to reduce pollution and oil dependency? Use ethanol

What can one person?you, for instance?do to reduce pollution, decrease America?s dependency on foreign oil and stimulate our economy?

Use ethanol. Buy vehicles that run on ethanol. And ask your gasoline distributor to stock and clearly label gasoline pumps that feature ethanol.

Ethanol is a clean-burning, renewable fuel. Ten percent, ethanol-enriched fuel reduces carbon monoxide better than any other gasoline by as much as 30 percent.

The use of 10 percent ethanol-enriched fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 12 to 19 percent compared with conventional gasoline, according to Argonne National Laboratory. E85 is the cleanest-burning fuel available on the market today.

Today, nearly all auto manufacturers approve, and even recommend, fuel enriched with up to 10 percent ethanol for all cars. Most vehicles produced since 1982 can operate on gasoline and ethanol blends up to 10 percent ethanol.

If you?re unsure whether your older car is suited for ethanol, check the owner?s manual or ask a reputable mechanic. By looking at your vehicle?s fuel cap, you can tell if it?s a flex-fuel vehicle?meaning it can run on regular gasoline, 10 percent ethanol-enriched fuel or E85.

Fuel enriched with 10 percent ethanol is also manufacturer-approved for use in small engines including power equipment, motorcycles, snowmobiles and outboard motors.

Ethanol is the highest-performance fuel on the market, with an octane rating of 113 in its pure form. Ethanol-enriched fuel contains more oxygen so it burns cleaner.

Fuel enriched with 10 percent ethanol burns cleaner, helping to remove gummy deposits in the fuel system so engines can run with optimal performance.

Ethanol is American made. It is made primarily from corn and milo crops grown in this state and across our country. Today there are more than 110 ethanol plants in the United States. Ethanol replaces gasoline that would require the use of 600,000 barrels of oil a day. The U.S. produced more than 4.8 billion gallons of ethanol last year.

This country?s ethanol industry supported the creation of more than 160,000 jobs in all sectors of the economy in 2005, boosting household income by $6.7 billion.

You may have noticed when you?re filling up at the pump that the Ethanol label has been removed from gas stations across Kansas. This change in this state?s ethanol labeling occurred two years ago?the thinking being that some consumers might view the label as a ?warning? not to use this fuel when nearly all vehicle manufacturers today warranty that ethanol is acceptable in their engines.

What fuel you put in your car is an individual decision and it should be. It just makes sense in an agricultural state like Kansas to help stimulate our local economies, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and reduce pollution in our environment.

You can have a voice. You can make an impact. You can vote with your dollars. You can do your part to promote the increasing use of renewable fuels.

Buy ethanol today.

John Schlageck is a leading commentator on agriculture and rural Kansas. Born and raised on a diversified farm in northwestern Kansas, his writing reflects a lifetime of experience, knowledge and passion.

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