Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Methanol, also known as "wood alcohol," is produced primarily from natural gas, but is also produced from a wide range of renewable feedstocks such as biomass, agricultural waste, landfill gas, timber waste, and even waste CO2. As a qualifying alternative fuel in the Open Fuel Standard Act, clean burning methanol would provide a tremendous cost-savings to consumers while dramatically reducing harmful emissions from automobiles.
The U.S. pioneered methanol fuel blending in the 1980's and 1990's, putting 20,000 methanol flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) – cars capable of running on any combination of methanol (up to 85%) and gasoline – on the road. California's 200 million miles driving experience with methanol demonstrated that the technology for methanol flexible fuel capability is feasible, efficient and affordable, and that there are no technical hurdles to broad methanol adoption. Additionally, the costs for critical infrastructure such as methanol fueling pumps is low compared to other technologies, with the cost for a methanol compatible tank and pump just $60,000.
Today, producing new cars with gasoline, ethanol and methanol, or "GEM," flexible fuel capability would cost about $100 per vehicle. This modest investment provides huge dividends to the consumer. At today's prices, methanol costs only $1.04 per gallon wholesale. Adding distribution costs, state and federal taxes, and accounting for methanol's lower energy content than gasoline, the effective price for the consumer filling up with M-85 is just $3.19 per gallon. If we were to replace only 10% of our transportation fuel with methanol, American consumers would save $38 million every day, and over $14 billion every year while preventing the flow of billions of dollars for purchasing oil from overseas.
Further, providing consumers with alternative fuel choices like methanol, ethanol and biodiesel puts considerable competitive pressure on rising gasoline prices, making every fill-up cheaper, and reducing the impact that the high cost of oil has on every facet of consumer's lives.
Methanol has superior fire safety characteristics given that it does not ignite as easily as gasoline, burns with 1/8th the heat of gasoline, and is less likely to cause deadly fires. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that because of methanol's low volatility and 'inherent fire safety advantages,' a switch to methanol fuel could save hundreds of lives each year, and millions of dollars in property losses.
"The Methanol Institute is proud to support this bipartisan legislation," Dolan stated, "At a time of fragile economic recovery, this practical energy solution will provide considerable savings for consumers without the need for our federal government to put forth any investment."
CONTACT: Matt Roberts, 703-248-3636, email@example.com