Green smokescreen

Flex-fuel vehicles are designed to allow vehicles to run on various gasoline-ethanol mixtures, up to 85 percent ethanol (or E85). Although Finance Minister Flaherty plans to spend $2 billion on biofuels over the next seven years, it is unlikely that there will be sufficient ethanol on the market to meet an E85 demand in most areas of Canada. As a result, most flex-fuel vehicles will probably run on something closer to E0 -- that is, gasoline without any ethanol. Given the environmental and social impacts of widespread ethanol production, coupled with the loss of performance experienced by flex-fuel vehicles running on E85, it is unclear why they are called "green machines". If anything, they're green smokescreens.

Published Globe and Mail 27 March 2007