If CO2 Is So Bad For Our Atmosphere, Shouldn't Carbonated Beverages Be Banned? - Updated with Responses
Never mind bovine flatulence, you should worry about Coke, Pepsi, 7Up, Dr. Pepper, Hires, and all Beer and Sparkling Wine!
Author of THE ETHANOL PAPERS and YES, TIN LIZZIE WAS AN ALCOHOLIC
Exec. Vice President/Co-Publisher
THE AUTO CHANNEL
So there I was last night, Wednesday night, doing battle online with the latest idiotic anti-ethanol screed. This one was written by Jennifer A. Dlouhy and something called Chunzi Xu. Titled "Gasoline Prices Are Set to Rise If Corn-Belt States Win Fuel Fight," it was published on Bloomberg.com and then republished on other websites, such as Yahoo.com.
I'm familiar with Ms. Dlouhy from a previous piece of ethanol-hating crap she wrote for Bloomberg in July 2016. I wrote and published a sarcastically humorous rebuttal to it on TheAutoChannel.com a few days later. Who says it was humorous? Well, I meant it to be humorous, and I recall Cindy Zimmerman of AgWire.com thinking it was humorous, so I'll go with Cindy's opinion - it was humorous. Anyway, you can decide for yourself by CLICKING HERE.
The point is, I already knew that Jen Dlouhy had nothing of value to say about ethanol, and I couldn't find anything of interest ever written by her cohort to concern myself with, so I focused my fight on the knuckleheaded readers who posted a wild assortment of preposterous false statements and responses against ethanol. (You can read my rejoinders on the Yahoo site by CLICKING HERE.)
One of the most egregiously wrong claims made against ethanol fuel is that ethanol creates more, or too much, CO2 as compared to petroleum oil fuels. And, as everyone has heard continuously over the past decades, CO2 is one of the worst "climate change gases" that can be emitted into our atmosphere. The alarmists who shout this myth appear to be ignorant of the fact that without CO2 in our atmosphere, we're dead...literally, completely, totally, fully, without exception, DEAD! (If you don't know why, you don't deserve to inhale the oxygen that CO2 helps to produce.)
In any event, as is typical of my ripostes to nitwit ethanol opponents of all classifications, I tried to provide accurate factual information, observational clarity, historical perspective, and sharp or stinging nips softened with some hilarity.
You see, all carbonated beverages are carbonated with Carbon Dioxide. This means that every time a bottle of a carbonated beverage is opened, dangerous and deadly CO2 is shot into the air. What this means is that the pop of a can, cap, or cork is not simply some happy invitation to celebrate, it is actually an alarm for the citizens of the world to duck and cover.
Oh yes, gone are the good old days of popping a brewski after work or a ballgame. No more launching of ships or marriages with champagne. No more Big Gulps of soda pop at 7-Eleven; those giant-sized cups are really like B2 bombers, and with every bubble crackle like a bomb exploding.
We're in for it now. I can just imagine the caterwauling that will go on once AOC and the scowling Swedish gnome hear about this: "How dare you. How dare you steal my life just to satisfy your greedy thirst for a fizzy drink!"
Bye, bye Sprite, so long Mountain Dew, adios Corona and Dos Equis, sayonara Kirin and Saporro. You can't have your cake and eat it, too. Do you want a tasty drink, or do you want the destruction of all living things on planet Earth?
It's just that simple.
I'll wait here if anyone can tell me why CO2 in a carbonated beverage should get a free pass.
UPDATE: Bloomberg News Contributor Responds and I Reply
Per my normal process, I always inform people when I make them the subject of an article. I think it's the fair thing to do, and there's always the possibility that they'll provide some valuable information to explain their perspective better. Since Bob Gordon and I have no axe to grind one way or the other, we are delighted to learn now information.
So, shortly after publication, on Thursday, January 12th, I sent Jennifer A. Dlouhy (one of the authors of the Bloomberg article cited at the top) an email alerting her to the story. A few hours later she responded to my editorial. I then replied to Ms. Dlouhy, and I am appending her reply and my response just below:
I will confess I'm a little taken aback you'd call that story an "anti-ethanol screed," given I strove to be fair in covering a complex issue and we simply set out to describe the potential consequences (short and long term) of this shift and the current fight over the timeline for this change the governors have sought.
Nothing in our article spoke to the carbon dioxide emissions of ethanol or various blends, despite, as you described it, the false claims by "knuckle-headed readers."
Frankly, I would have thought one takeaway for readers would be that there was a far easier and less-disruptive way to facilitate year-round E15 sales: by extending the RVP waiver to E15. But of course, we know what happened there, and, as the story made clear to point out, that was tossed out because of a legal challenge by the very refiners objecting to this approach now.
We quoted only biofuel industry-commissioned analysis of potential price changes and logistical consequences of this shift, without quoting refining/pipeline industry representatives speculating on far higher price increases. Further, the story spelled out that E15 has a similar volatility to E10, making clear that the fact that E10 has a waiver and E15 doesn't is a function of a law and the timing of it, not science or actual evaporative emissions.
Candidly, I heard from ethanol foes and oil industry champions (sometimes they overlap) who faulted the story for not making clear that the ~2,800 stations offering E15 are just a sliver of US stations and alleging we unfairly inferred that the RVP issue is the main obstacle to retail sales of E15.
Incidentally, beyond fizzy sodas and beer (and Isi-whipped desserts), there's also coolants and fire extinguishers to consider! Maybe that's fodder for a future item.
Hi Jen -
Thanks for your quick reply. I wish you had responded to me back in 2016, after I published my editorial rebuttal of your "Biofuel Blunder..." article. If you had, perhaps I could have provided you with some accurate information that you might have relied on for future reference. Nevertheless, here your are, and I'm genuinely very glad to engage in discussion with you. I will be appending your response and this reply to my editorial.
I agree that there was nothing in your latest article that mentioned claims about carbon dioxide emissions. As I wrote in my editorial, I wasn't directly responding to the specific points in your article, but to the many commenters who eagerly rushed in with uninformed anecdotes about the evils of ethanol fuel. Just as "misery loves company," the same can be said about ignorant people who want to find solace with others of similar incorrect disposition rather than do some actual research.
And so, it was during my simultaneous round-robin session with a half-dozen ethanol opponents that I took my pups for a walk and considered the issue of CO2. This led to my question (and subsequent editorial) "If CO2 Is So Bad For Our Atmosphere (and it causes catastrophic climate change), Shouldn't Carbonated Beverages Be Banned?
By the way, it was this same type of inspiration that led to my unique treatise on the irrelevance of BTU measurements when comparing internal combustion engine fuels. If you would like to learn more about
this please visit:
In regards to your comment that you're "a little taken aback" I would call your story an "anti-ethanol screed," allow me to explain: Alcohol-based fuels should have been, and should be today, the primary fuel for any type of internal combustion engine. It is only because of excessive taxation on alcohol production for more than 40 years, plus an unreasonable law that then prohibited alcohol production, followed by political graft that permitted the reckless use of the highly toxic substance tetraethyl lead (TEL) for over half a century that has kept alcohol fuels (particularly ethanol) from a dominant position as an engine fuel and essential component for producing plastic, ink, cosmetics, etc., etc.
Petroleum oil fuels have been the cause of nearly every war since 1914. These wars were responsible for the death and ill health of hundreds of millions of people around the world. Added to the carnage of the wars themselves are the use of tetraethyl lead, associated aromatics, and other poisonous additives such as ethylene bromide. The airborne spread of tetraethyl lead itself is responsible for the death and ill-health of additional hundreds of millions of people around the world, as well as the horrendous dumbing-down of the entire human race.
Just today (Thursday), the Guardian Newspaper and website published a text story and video that sets forth the devastating effects of lead. This video can be viewed in the window below:
Yes, the blame is shared by lead contained in paint and from lead pipes, but the one thing that makes lead from engine fuel more deadly than leaded paint and metal pipes is that everybody in every part of the world is exposed to lead from engine fuel around the clock, every day of the year for life. And, even though TEL has been mostly banned, it remains in the air, on the ground, and in our blood systems.
The deadliness of tetraethyl lead is also borne out in the video and text documents produced by Derek Muller and Susan Fourtané. Links to these documents are contained in my April 2022 report:
If alcohol fuels had been the primary fuel for internal combustion engines, the world would have been very different. Sure, men (and some women) would have found other excuses to go to war, but they might not have been so all-encompassing. And the non-war related deaths and illnesses might never have occurred.
Therefore, in my opinion, any story that does not take this universal bloodshed into account, and fabricates concerns that equivocate on the use of ethanol fuel, is an anti-ethanol screed.
Moreover, using 10% ethanol in an ethanol-gasoline blend is arbitrary. 5% ethanol was pretty much all that was needed to provide the anti-knock ingredient to gasoline that replaced MTBE. So any amount over 5% could have been used. There are decades of historical precedence of using much higher blends or ethanol-only fuel to safely, efficiently, and economically run internal combustion engines. Dancing around random boundaries like E10 or E15, or hiding behind a fictitious "blend wall" to deny the expansion of ethanol fuel is utter nonsense. Concerning oneself with Reid Vapor Pressure or RINS (Renewable Identification Numbers) is just more game-playing. RINS are only significant to try to keep the oil industry from defrauding the intent of the RFS, and RVP is as irrelevant as BTUs. Every single internal combustion engine vehicle on the road, regardless of age or manufacture can safely, efficiently, and economically run on ethanol-gasoline blends significantly higher than E10 or E15. With a minor software update on modern vehicles, or installation of a reasonably priced module on carbureted vehicles, they can all be converted to being flex-fuel vehicles.
Proof of this is, again, the historical precedence of using higher blends for many decades in Europe and Brazil. If you are unaware of this you will find the following two reports very revealing:
What's more, when the EPA ordered the testing of E15 in 2009, the government labs not only tested E15 on all test vehicles, they tested E20. The results showed E20 as viable as E10 and E15. By all rights, there should not even be a discussion over using E15 today, E20 should have been given the go-ahead more than a dozen years ago.
Right now, the minimum mandated regular fuel in America should be somewhere between E30 and E50, and instead of state and the federal government issuing electric vehicle directives, the order should be that all new internal combustion engines be optimized to run on E85 and higher ethanol fuels.
Lastly, for now, there's the issue of evaporative emissions. The whole issue of "evaporation" and derivative aspects of the word "evaporate" is misunderstood and taken out of context, intentionally or by ignorance. For example, there are people running around who will say that ethanol can't be transported on long distances by pipeline or trucks because of evaporation. If these people did a modicum of research, they would learn that ethanol is transported very nicely by pipeline in Florida and Brazil. As it happens, gasoline evaporates faster and earlier than ethanol, and so if you can transport gasoline by pipeline there's no reason you can't transport ethanol by pipeline. Ethanol is also transported by trucks, but it doesn't have to be transported long distance because the best business model for ethanol production and distribution is to use the Dairy Industry business model, which is to source the raw materials locally and distribute the finished product to local sales outlets. Oil refineries can't be built just anywhere, but distilleries can be, and any town or city can provide a constant source of raw material and crops, to make ethanol - remember, it doesn't have to be corn.
Throughout America there are thousands of alcohol distilleries and breweries, with more popping up almost every day. Some are small, but there's no restriction on how big they can grow. In fact, you or your next-door neighbor could rather easily produce enough ethanol in your garage or backyard to supply your entire block with engine fuel. The distance to transport this fuel might be no more than 100 yards in any direction. It would be a wonderful money-saving or money-making system for anyone seeking some side-hustle revenue.
The evaporative issue also comes into question concerning photochemical low-level ozone smog, also known as LA Smog. There are claims that E15 creates more smog than E10. Low-level ozone smog is created by gasoline, not ethanol. How do we know, because LA Smog was first identified in the 1940s, 50-plus years before the regular and widespread use of ethanol-gasoline blends in America. So it is the gasoline that causes the smog. Blaming ethanol for smog is juvenile. There is a point above E10 when the blend can create slightly more smog than E0 gasoline or E10. However once the blend level rises a bit higher and hits around E15, it is again creating less smog than E0 and E10. When the blend reaches E20, it is incontestably better than E0 or E10. It gets more favorable for ethanol as the level goes up from there. So, the appropriate answer is to simply skip E15 and go straight to E20 or more. My regular generalized comment about ethanol-gasoline blends is "there is one thing wrong with ethanol-gasoline blends, it has gasoline in it."
I have a much more thorough explanation of the low-level smog issue in a report I wrote and published April 25, 2022. I wrote this explanation in rebuttal to claims made by Dr. Ramanan Krishnamoorti, a Professor
of Petroleum Engineering, Professor of Chemistry, Chief Engineering Officer, and Interim Vice President/Vice Chancellor for Research & Technology Transfer at the University of Houston. Read this rebuttal at:
My Krishnamoorti rebuttal appears in the 2nd half of the report. The first half relates to spuriously silly claims made by a State of Maine elected official named Beth O'Connor. I think that you might find my rebuttal to her equally instructive, assuming you would really like to understand ethanol fuel better.
Well, Jen, if you've hung on through all this, thank you. As I mentioned at the top, I will be appending your reply and this response to yesterday's published editorial. If you have some additional comments you would like to make I will happily add them to the story.
I look forward to our next exchange.
THE AUTO CHANNEL
Oh, and by the way, The Auto Channel could use a little financial support to continue fighting all the ethanol haters. CLICK HERE if you'd like to help us