Using ethanol-based fuel instead of gasoline would likely increase the ozone-related death rate in Los Angeles by 9 percent in 2020, according to a new study by atmospheric scientist Mark Jacobson. (Credit: Mark Z. Jacobson)
The deleterious health effects of E85 [a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline] will be the same, whether the ethanol is made from corn, switchgrass or other plant products, Jacobson noted. “Today, there is a lot of investment in ethanol,” he said. “But we found that using E85 will cause at least as much health damage as gasoline, which already causes about 10,000 U.S. premature deaths annually from ozone and particulate matter. The question is, if we’re not getting any health benefits, then why continue to promote ethanol and other biofuels?