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Ethanol vs. Hybrids vs. Plug-ins: Why Argue?

There's been a ridiculous amount of controversy lately among people promoting their version of the best environmental automobile solution. People who own Priuses getting angry at people saying that bio-fuels are better for the environment. People who bemoan the loss of the EV-1 laughing at comparative electric power of a Prius.

Sometimes I feel like I'm preaching to the choir, but now I think the choir needs to be preached to, because they're at each other's throats. Baritones, basses and where can i buy real levitra sopranos...I don't care, folks, let's sing together for a change.


  1. Hybrids: Making individual vehicles more efficient by capturing the energy lost during breaking is a no-brainer with $4-per-gallon gas on the horizon. Cars should be more efficient and use regenerative breaking whether they're ethanol, gasoline, electric, or hydrogen-powered. The more we invest in this technology, the better off the buy cialis online australia world will be.
  2. Ethanol: There are a lot of problems with sugar-based ethanol, most of which are solved with cellulosic production. Cellulosic ethanol produces at least seven times more energy than is buy cheap online cialis required to produce it. It doesn't require huge swathes of usefull link branded viagra agricultural land or tons of fertilizer. Running a Prius with cellulosic ethanol means it would produce 6x less carbon than a Prius running on gasoline.
  3. Plug-ins: Using electricity to power cars is about two times more carbon-efficient than using gasoline. We've known this for a long time, but only recently have we had the technology to how much is cialis make it work cost-competitively. We should have all-electric vehicles on click here on line pharmacy the road right now, but we don't. Hopefully, with enough expressed demand, we will soon.

So, instead of arguing about which technology is best now, let's look at the best-case scenario... A plug-in hybrid burning E-85 cellulosic ethanol would produce roughly 15 times less carbon than a non-hybrid, non-E-85, non-plug-in counterpart.

Why can't we all just get along?

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Comments (21)Add Comment
written by uep, January 18, 2008
How long must we wait for a diesel hybrid, to run on biodiesel B100.
present tense
written by odograph, January 18, 2008
I agree totally that hybrids and alt-fuels are compatible. It's been years since a Prius was tested and found to run just fine on E85 (the owners were taking a risk, violating waranty, for long term use wait for an E85 certified model).

Sure on that I agree.

But here is the rub, it is a violation of chronology to say that cellulosic ethanol "is" a solution. We are all still waiting for it. Now it's true, as you say, that a recent study showed good energy balance. But energy balance is just half the battle. You need good economic balance as well. You need EROEI and well as good old fashioned ROI.

We are still in the "promises" stage with cellulosic ethanol. We are promised that it will get there, but it is not yet.

And so I contest your statement that:

There are a lot of problems with sugar-based ethanol, most of which are solved with cellulosic production.

We aren't there yet, in commercial, wide-scale, and proven producton. Sure, we've all heard the promises though ...
written by Kiashu, January 18, 2008
Or we could...
- walk
- bike
- take the look there canadian pharmacy cialis generic train
- take the bus

All of which are currently-available, commercially-proven technologies, and cost considerably less than we can expect a plug-in cellulosic ethanol hybrid to be.
written by Hank, January 18, 2008
I agree...see EcoGeek's new blog at
Efficiency and lower tech is the key to
written by Biofuelsimon, January 18, 2008
Cellulosic biofuels are here but not using technology based around enzymes or GM bacteria that act directly on cellulose. I've got the feeling that's like power from nuclear fusion, a technology that's been "five-years away" for the past 50 years.

The trick is probably to thermally decompose cellulose from wood chips, garbage what ever and then either transform that into a diesel-like fuel or try using microbes to digest the carbon monoxide and hydrogen that the process produces and turn that into fuel. and canadian healthcare, generic cialis GM have a venture to generic viagra online paypal try and do that at under $1/gal

There's no point doing that unless the engines which will use the fuel are much more efficient than even the revised CAFE standards will set.
present tense
written by odograph, January 18, 2008
It's not "here" when people are still "trying to hit $1/gal" or whatever.

I'm sure industry insiders have an interest in selling us various future, but we should be more cautious than that. Let's eliminate the cheap next day tramadol subsidies on things like this (and the ethanol CAFE loophole) and then let the innovators innovate.

It's almost comic. If they were as good as they say they are, why would they be coming to us with hat in hand? They'd just go make money.
I think...
written by filip, January 18, 2008
in reality, we do get along.
But, for the sport of it, we like to have some discussion going on, and we prefer to do that amongst other eco-sensitive people rather than to those who don't give a f*ck about the environment.
We "hurt" the ones we love most, isn't it??
written by filip, January 18, 2008
...bring on the contreversy
written by filip, January 18, 2008
What are CAFE-standards?
In our country a pub is called a 'café'; a cafe standard could therefor not stand for effeciency in any way over here.
written by odograph, January 18, 2008
Wikipedia has a good page. Basically CAFE is an acronym for Corporate Average Fuel Economy. It is a measure of what each manufacturer sells. Properly when we say CAFE we mean the "CAFE Requirement" which is our US way of buy levitra from canada commanding fuel economy. Hope this helps.
written by filip, January 18, 2008
It does, i even think i heard about it with an other name (eu standards)
excuse me for not checking on buy tramadol pay cod Wiki first, but i tend not to rely to cialis online usa much on Wiki-info (therefor forget to do so)
written by JT, January 18, 2008
It's about time more people start sharing Hank's sentiment. There's no magic bullet that will solve our transportation and energy shortcomings. We need diversity. And to those who say walk, bike, train & bus, those modes only work in cities large & small. I grew up in the country where your neighbor is a mile away, let me tell you that it's feasible in those areas. Bottom line, we need more than ONE solution.
CO2 recycling
written by James Staunton, January 18, 2008
I have been wondering about the true benefit from recyling CO2 from smokestakes (for example) using cellulosic processes. If the source is "old" CO2 that was out of the system for millions of years (i.e. coal), and is then turned into cellulosic ethenol, and reintroduced into the atmosphere when its burned again shortly thereafter, where is the benefit? I'd like someone to explain this, if possible.
the debate
written by Daniel Bell, January 18, 2008
Here's Joe Romm's response to Vinod Khosla

This is the debate I think Hank was talking about.

Hank, I get your point, and agree with you to a certain extent. But I think a more useful post will delve into the relative promises and hurdles for each technology, and more importantly how federal dollars ought to be allocated when they finally do come around.

Also, I'd appreciate the data you cite in claiming that ethanol as we have it today is 85% carbon neutral.

After all that, however, keep up the good work on your blogs.
Can't we all just get along?
written by Tracy, January 18, 2008
I am going to genuine viagra online agree with Hank and JT here - that there can be discussion and comparison of various solutions, but arguing over which is better is counter productive. I also want to add to JT, and that multiple solutions need to be not only for various lifestyles (big cities, burbs, rural areas, small towns) but also for various people - the disabled, families, the elderly, young people...

It seems like the MORE solutions we have for this transport problem, the better.
Not to nitpick, but it's "braking"
written by Cheezmeister, January 19, 2008
Hopefully your hybrid doesn't break smilies/cheesy.gif I agree, though. Anything's better than dead dinosaurs.
It's all in the interim
written by anonymouse, January 21, 2008
The ultimate answer is, and will be all electric. I don't think there is any disputing that.
However... it's how we handle the next 10 or 20 years... the "interim" period that will make or break this world and our environment. True hybrids... with very efficient batteries, super-capacitors for regenerative breaking, thin-film solar on the roof, and a small, very efficient multi-fuel capable engine for charging and/or long-distance driving. Those are the things that will get us through to the next generation of advancements.
Oh.... IMO. ;-)
It's what the mouse said
written by Jason Des Forges, January 21, 2008
It will be all electric, but before the amazing ultracapacitors made from carbon nanotubes people will want some backup which is why REEVs made sense. All electric must win out cas in combination with cheap spray on solar (nanotubes again) we not only have no emmisions but FREE ENERGY.
Energy and purchase viagra medication Material Balances
written by Mark, January 22, 2008
It is clear that much of the confusion around the comparisons of different fuel sources is a lack of definition of the system which are being considered in the energy and material balances. Is the petroleum products used to grow and harvest the look here viagra prescription corn included? Or is this left out because the cellulose is a by-product? What about the energy needed to mexico viagra no prescription make the solar panels? A common basis is needed to make the comparisons consistent.
Ze Holy Jew
written by Adolf Hitler, January 24, 2008
vell, all i have to say about zis is dat ve must do somethink.

what i bet ya'll didn't know is that i'm down with the jews the gypsys, homosexuals, and retards too. i'm done burnin' people started burnin' cds! i stopped battlin' the worlds started battlin' mcs!

... now ze SS on my jacket stands for Super Smooth.

be careful now, and dont get ze jew flu, vear a coat.
written by Doodster, January 27, 2008
Hi Hank

The Prius saves gas by the engine being off a lot of the time. Its an Atkinson cycle engine and comes with a big starter motor to spin it up fast whenever it comes on. So the engine is either operating within an efficient range or is off. Excess power when the engine is on is also stored in the battery, such as when you're going slow.

The regen brakes are only a small part of the efficiency gain.

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