Ethanol Fuels Journey; Cross-Country Road Trip Begins

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 31, 2005 | Go to article overview

Ethanol Fuels Journey; Cross-Country Road Trip Begins


Byline: Melissa Brosk, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Christopher Lapp's road trip to San Diego could change the way Americans fuel their cars.

He is driving cross-country in a 48-year-old Cadillac that has been converted to run primarily on ethanol. The trip, which is being called the "Coast to Coast Ethanol Journey," began yesterday after the Memorial Day Parade in downtown Washington.

In 1957, when Mr. Lapp's Caddy was brand new, the average price for a gallon of gas was 55 cents, according to the Department of Energy. The average price for a gallon of gas today is $2.12.

Mr. Lapp, who is a nuclear and environmental consultant, said one of the reasons he wanted to make the coast-to-coast journey was because he is "interested in a diverse mix of energy sources for America's future."

Ethanol, which is made by fermenting and distilling grain, sugar and corn, has been a popular topic on Capitol Hill this year.

On Wednesday, the Senate passed legislation that would require all refineries to use renewable components, most of it ethanol, in gasoline annually by 2012. The bill would double ethanol use in the United States to 8 billion gallons a year.

Officials at the American Coalition for Ethanol said that by increasing the amount of ethanol used in gasoline the need for crude oil would drop by 2 billion barrels annually.

"Ethanol is a cleaner burning fuel. Every gallon of ethanol you use displaces seven-tenths of a gallon of petroleum. Using ethanol is almost like removing 1 million cars from the road," said Brian Jennings, executive vice president of the group.

Mr. Lapp doesn't want to remove cars from the road, but he does want to add them. He is hoping that by making the 6,000 mile round trip he will be able to bring attention to ethanol as an alternative source of fuel.

"I want to show people that ethanol could be part of the equation in solving the fuel issue. It's a bridge between natural gas and petroleum," he said. …

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