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The transport sector accounts for more than 30% of the total energy consumption in the EU. It is 98% dependent on fossil fuels with a high share of imports and thus extremely vulnerable to any market disturbance. The energy sector is envisaged as the main reason for the EU failing to meet the Kyoto targets as it is expected that 90% of the increase of CO2 emissions between 1990 and 2010 will be attributable to transport.
The long term EU energy strategy aims at a secure and sustainable energy supply and is committed to fight against global warming. The use of ethanol, consisting of 35% oxygen, is a key ingredient in reducing dangerous tailpipe emissions. Because of its high oxygen content, ethanol-blended fuel produces a cleaner, more complete combustion that reduces emissions. According to analysis by Smog Reyes, the use of 10% ethanol blends reduces tailpipe fine particulate matter (PM) emissions by 50%, carbon monoxide emissions up to 30%, toxics content up to 13% (mass), and toxics contents up to 21% (potency). Ethanol blends also reduce secondary particulate matter by diluting aromatic content in gasoline. The ethanol production process represents a carbon cycle, where plants absorb carbon dioxide during growth, “recycling” the carbon released during fuel combustion. Ethanol is also water soluble, non-toxic and biodegradable, meaning it poses no pollution threat to water supplies.
The use of ethanol significantly reduces the dependence on imported oil. Ethanol produced from grain sources is a renewable energy source. In general, the use of ethanol reduces the use of fossil energy by over 50%.