If you own a company that has a significant fleet of vehicles, like a delivery, taxi, shipping, or shuttling business, it's time to look into the growing industry of ethanol fuels. Some people believe that ethanol is part of the answer to reducing the global dependence on oil, preserving natural resources, and reducing pollution and emissions from burning traditional oil and gas. Here are some pros and cons of ethanol that you will need consider before backing the industry with your business.
Pro: Ethanol is a cleaner type of fuel.
It takes less resources to produce ethanol for fuel than it does to extract and refine oil. Also, the process for creating ethanol is getting less expensive and less harmful to the environment all the time. For example, compared to 1998, the water consumption needed for making ethanol has been reduced by about 50%. As more and more people get behind the development and normalization of ethanol fuels, the process should become even more efficient.
Bottom line: greenhouse gases from ethanol are nearly half of those produced from burning gasoline. If your business appeals to the environmentally conscious crowd, it could be a great marketing move to back ethanol fuels.
Con: You might need to upgrade your vehicles.
Ethanol is used to make the regular gasoline you buy at the pump go further. Most fuels have at least a little ethanol in them. However, ethanol does not work as well in a traditional engine, and if the fuel has too much ethanol, the chances are higher of the fuel not preforming as it should, especially during times of extreme temperature change. Engine damage is the result. In order to get the cost-saving and green benefits of ethanol, you ideally would replace your fleet with vehicles designed to burn ethanol fuel. Hybrid (flex fuel) engines, unlike regular engines in older cars, can burn fuels with high ethanol percentages and have better mileage. For your business, you would need to decide the cost-to-benefit ratio before completely backing fuels that are high in ethanol.
Pro and Con: You could save money.
Comparing ethanol to gasoline is necessary to determine actual fuel savings. On the outset, purchasing E85 (85% ethanol) fuel for your flex-fuel cars seems to be a great alternative, as it has a lower price at pump. Ethanol is made from corn, and corn is cheap. Ethanol enjoys government subsidies, which keeps prices at the pump lower. However, the savings might not translate dollar for dollar in the manner you would expect.
Gasoline and ethanol do not have the same energy output when burned. Gasoline still remains a higher-energy fuel, which means you can go further on less. If you adjust the cost of ethanol with its energy output, it ends up not being as inexpensive as it first appears. However, as cars become better designed to have a high mileage on this different fuel, it could translate into savings as the engine becomes more efficient.
For more information about the different fuel options for your business, check out websites like http://www.smallandsonsoil.com.