Gerald Roye dismisses the role ethanol can play in reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil and production of carbon dioxide (C&EN, March 17, page 6). He argues that ethanol can displace only 10% of the country's need for gasoline. This is a frequently cited criticism; unfortunately, it is misplaced.
Any progress we make toward the goal of reducing gasoline consumption is positive progress. No one would denigrate achieving the same 10% reduction through conservation or improved fuel economy. Perhaps ethanol will not be the panacea we had all hoped it would be, but it is the most feasible of the short-term steps we can take.
Robert G. Butler