Letter to the Editor

Energy independence is the goal

Friday, June 16, 2006

To the editor:

Jack H. Knowlan Sr. made some interesting points in his op-ed column regarding ethanol production, but he's missing the big picture. Using ethanol or other alternative fuels is about energy independence, which should be our national goal. The alternative is paying $6 a gallon for gasoline, as Europeans are doing, and leaving our economy at the mercy of Mideast despots, which is no choice at all.

Brazil, which already has achieved energy independence, produces ethanol from sugar cane.

The news stories I'm seeing on the Internet say ethanol may not be cheaper and may not produce as much mileage as pure gasoline, though I recently got my best highway mileage ever using a 10 percent ethanol mix. But it's a fuel we can produce ourselves. We have the acreage to do it. And it will be an economic boon.

Meanwhile, auto manufacturers are promising more flex cars that run on either gasoline or an 85 percent ethanol blend. They are producing more and cheaper hybrid models. An independent company says it has a rechargeable battery that will power a compact vehicle 500 miles on a single charge. New York and California will soon allow natural-gas cars that you refill from your own gas line. More and better diesel models will be coming out next year. More ethanol plants are being constructed, and older plants are expanding.

The solution will be a mixture of alternatives. It will be on of our greatest challenges, and one of our most exciting.

W.K. ZELLMER, Cape Girardeau