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By Robert Rapier on Oct 18, 2006 with no responses

Environmental Irony in Virginia

I ran across an ironic article today from the Richmond Times-Dispatch. In part, it read:

Oct. 17–Virginia has one public filling station where motorists can fill up with E-85 fuel, and stations providing the gasoline alternative for government vehicles number just five.

Yesterday, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine joined representatives of General Motors and state and federal agencies in launching the first E-85 pump in the Richmond area. The pump, connected to an 8,000-gallon tank, is at a state fleet-vehicle office on Leigh Street.

Kaine touted the environmental and human-health benefits of a cleaner-burning motor fuel and praised the public-private partnerships that promote the fuel’s use.

Bless their hearts. And then they follow up that sentence with:

He then filled up a GMC Yukon sport utility vehicle used by his office from the new pump.

Throughout the article, they tout the “cleaner-burning alternative to gas that benefits the environment and can help cut the nation’s dependence on foreign oil”, but apparently do not see the irony of promoting highly inefficient vehicles. A bit later the article states:

At yesterday’s event, General Motors donated a brightly painted E-85 Chevrolet Tahoe to the state to be used to educate consumers.

Do these people really believe that running big SUVs and pickups on E85 is going to help solve our energy problems? Shall we all rush out and follow their lead? Can we possibly find a faster way to deplete the topsoil than by producing as much corn as we possibly can just to inefficiently convert it to ethanol?

This kind of thinking drives me crazy. Makes a guy want to move to Europe. Which, by the way, I am about to do. More on that later, as well as an essay contrasting biomass gasification with cellulosic ethanol.