Illustration for article titled Because Were All Driving Less Due To The Pandemic Its Affecting Beer And Soda Production, Somehow

Just in case you don’t believe that everything is somehow deeply and profoundly connected, listen to this: because we’re all stuck indoors and driving less, there’s been less refinement of oil into gasoline, which means there’s less production of ethanol, which is an additive in 98 percent gasoline in America, which means that there’s been a sharp decline in the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) production, which is made as a byproduct of ethanol production. And that means potential trouble for the companies that make beer and soda and a number of other CO2-dependent products.

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Yes, making gasoline is tied to the making of beer via the convoluted tendrils of byproduct production, which I first realized while reading this fascinating Tedium email-newsletter.

It seems there exists a CO2 Coalition, and they’re so concerned that this coalition, which includes the Compressed Gas Association, the North American Meat Institute, the Beer Institute, and the Brewers’ Association, among others, sent an urgent letter to the Vice President.

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Here’s some of what the letter has to say:

Dear Vice President Pence:

Representing thousands of American workers across all 50 states that ensure the reliability of our Nation’s food supply, we write to express our strong concern that the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic creates a significant risk of a shortage in carbon dioxide (CO2) that would significantly impact access to essential food and beverage supplies and other essential sectors of the U.S. economy. We bring this to your attention and request the assistance of the federal government during this temporary emergency to prevent a substantial CO2 shortage before it creates any food and beverage shortages.

The group is urging the Vice President to provide federal incentives to get CO2 production going again, especially

“those sites that are capture-ready, i.e. that have the ability to capture, liquefy, and store usable CO2"

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...which is interesting, as that sounds like they’re attempting to supplement the usual sources like ethanol production with factories that may not necessarily have been in the CO2 byproduct business.

Is there anything this stupid virus isn’t screwing up?

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)

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