ETHANOL: A FAVORITE TARGET FOR JUNK SCIENCE

Tricia Braid

Dec, 30, 2014  |  Today's News

It makes absolutely zero sense to us here at IL Corn that people who are apparently quite well educated and smart can somehow believe that gasoline containing ethanol derived from corn is less environmentally friendly than gasoline derived from petroleum. That doesn’t even pass the smell test. Don’t tell that to the University of Minnesota, however. They have researchers that are claiming ethanol is more harmful to humans and the environment than gasoline. As the kids would say in social media, #fail.

This study ranks right up there with the best of junk science. The good news is that it’s easy to debunk. The bad news is, well, people tend to listen to the bad news before they accept the good news as the truth.

The Renewable Fuels Association released its own study to counter the U of MN piece. RFA’s study draws attention to the university paper’s conclusions that counter real-world data, contradict current lifecycle modeling and research, and omit key variables when determining the environmental impact of electric vehicles and gasoline.

RFA’s report found that the paper’s conclusions “…stand at odds with real-world data showing decreases in ozone and PM2.5 concentrations...”, ultimately finding that “Omitting key emissions sources from the lifecycle assessment of EVs and crude oil inappropriately skews the paper’s results for the overall emissions impacts of these fuels and vehicles.”

Amongst RFA’s findings on the university study:

  • The study’s conclusions are undermined by real-world ozone and PM2.5 trends
  • The study’s findings are at odds with emissions estimates from the latest GREET model
  • Other research shows ethanol reduces the potential for ozone and PM2.5
  • The study uses questionable assumptions regarding other fuels

View the report or visit the RFA News Center for more details.