Study says ethanol fuel could cause more health problems than gasoline

Time to trot out Alanis, cuz this is what the kids call “ironic”: a study from Stanford University says widespread use of ethanol in vehicles could have serious health effects. Atmospheric scientist Mark Jacobson ran computer models comparing air quality in 2020 based on use of both gasoline and E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline currently seeing a big old political and industrial push. He found that the ethanol blend would produce more ground-level ozone than gasoline, estimating that it could lead to a 4 percent increase in ozone-related deaths nationwide by 2020. The study, published in the online edition of the journal Environmental Science & Technology, also says hospitalizations for respiratory issues could increase and fuel-related cancer rates would likely remain the same. “We found that using E85 will cause at least as much health damage as gasoline,” says Jacobson. “The question is, if we’re not getting any health benefits, then why continue to promote ethanol?”