The Link Between COVID-19, Air Quality and How Ethanol Can Help


The last few months have been tough, the sudden distress caused by COVID-19 has caused so much harm and heartache for all of us. But if there is something positive coming from this pandemic, it is the world’s attention on air pollution, tailpipe emissions and the need to improve air quality. And you, working in the ethanol industry have the unique ability to improve gasoline and subsequently, the air we all breathe.

The problem with emissions and air pollution, especially in urban areas is not new, but people are finally realizing just how devastating poor air quality can be. Worst of all, we are learning that minorities living in the densely populated urban cores are suffering the most. We believe it is time for the ethanol industry to unite and work together to promote ethanol as a solution to improving air quality and most of all public health.

The Urban Air Initiative is in a unique position to lead this effort. Since 2012, we’ve been laser focused on studying and understanding the connection between air pollution in urban areas, tailpipe emissions, and gasoline quality. Through financial support from our contributors, we have invested substantially in researching the problems created by toxic compounds in gasoline and a viable solution higher ethanol blends. In fact, we launched an website right before the pandemic called Let’s Clear the Air, dedicated to educating the public on how ethanol reduces air pollution.

The bottom line is that when you simply add ethanol to gasoline, you make a cleaner fuel. Ethanol reduces the most toxic components known as aromatics, which in turn, significantly reduces tailpipe emissions and improves air quality. This solution is more critical than ever, now that Harvard researchers have made a connection between COVID-19 deaths and minorities living in urban areas with poor air quality.

This is a window of opportunity to get the attention of government leaders and the public. To improve the air we breathe, we need increased access and use of ethanol blends. I ask that you join us by educating your friends and family, sharing ethanol’s clean air message on social media and most importantly seek out gas stations that sell higher blends.

If we’ve learned anything during this pandemic, it’s the importance of banding together, supporting local and doing our part to stay healthy. Raising awareness on the air quality benefits of ethanol will do all of this and the time is now.

Thank you.

Dave VanderGriend
President Urban Air Initiative