Law mandating ethanol use
That nudge to get ethanol in fuel tanks was accompanied by a big shove by Congress in 2007 that mandated how much ethanol would be required to be blended into gasoline.
Now, the EPA will require 18 billion gallons of ethanol to be produced in 2016, which will add to the strain of devoting more environmental resources toward producing corn to meet these requirements.
For most of the twentieth century, the corn that is now used to produce ethanol mostly resulted in barrels of whisky.
But as scientists began to notice the toxic legacy of lead additives to gasoline and then the noxious nature of lead’s successors (like MTBE), ethanol soon became the preferred gasoline additive.
Learn more: Ethanol Fuel Basics Fuel ethanol overview (Table 10.3).
The United States’ most important crop, corn, is grown on a massive scale.
To improve combustion in engines, ‘anti-knocking‘ agents have been added to fuel since the 1920s.
In 2006, less than 5 billion gallons of ethanol was produced in the US.Other anti-knocking agents, like MTBE, can contaminate groundwater.