Skip to comments.Boondoggle Ethanol Program Got You Down? Help End it.
Posted on 05/19/2011 5:04:09 AM PDT by possum john
Ethanol is Not About Energy Independence
Have you figured out that the federal ethanol program is not about becoming energy independent, but about putting Midwest corn farmers on the government dole? If not, keep reading. If so, are you ready to help end it? That's in here, too.
If you think ethanol lowers fuel prices, then I guess you don't know that each gallon of ethanol is subsidized 47.5 cents per gallon by our tax dollars. In fact, Brazil exports ethanol, but we put a 54 cents per gallon import tax on Brazilian ethanol and then limit its import to seven percent of US production. If it were about saving money, we'd simply import the much less expensive ethanol from Brazil.
If it were about energy independence, we wouldn't us corn, either. It takes about 65% more energy to produce ethanol from corn than the ethanol yields. Who says so? University of California-Berkeley geoengineering professor Tad W. Patzek in Science Daily back in 2005.
(Excerpt) Read more at thekencarroll.blogspot.com ...
An average vehicle consuming gasoline which contains 10% ethanol removes as many calories from the food chain in a year as it would take to keep two people alive for that same year.
If ethanol were truly more energy efficient than other fuels, then the stills which produce ethanol would use ethanol as a fuel. They do not.
Hi, welcome to FR.
When posting a blog, just post the entire thing (long as it’s not on the excerpt-only list, and few blogs are).
Most blogs have a lot of malicious adware stuff.
Boondoggle Ethanol Program Got You Down? Help End it.
Ethanol is Not About Energy Independence
Have you figured out that the federal ethanol program is not about becoming energy independent, but about putting Midwest corn farmers on the government dole? If not, keep reading. If so, are you ready to help end it? That’s in here, too.
Image by Rastoney via FlickrIf you think ethanol lowers fuel prices, then I guess you don’t know that each gallon of ethanol is subsidized 47.5 cents per gallon by our tax dollars. In fact, Brazil exports ethanol, but we put a 54 cents per gallon import tax on Brazilian ethanol and then limit its import to seven percent of US production. If it were about saving money, we’d simply import the much less expensive ethanol from Brazil.
If it were about energy independence, we wouldn’t us corn, either. It takes about 65% more energy to produce ethanol from corn than the ethanol yields. Who says so? University of California-Berkeley geoengineering professor Tad W. Patzek in Science Daily back in 2005.
At this point, you may be confused simply because the truth and what you’ve been led to believe are very different. So, let me say it directly: We use more energy to produce ethanol from corn than the entire amount of energy yielded from the corn-made ethanol. More simple? It takes more energy than we get back, so the ethanol makes us MORE dependent on foreign oil and costs us more money.
“Ah,” you say, “but it was supposed to be about energy independence, wasn’t it? How could this be?”
The Wrong Crop for the Wrong Reasons
Well, only if you believe the rhetoric. You see, one reason Brazil’s ethanol is so cheap is that it’s derived from sugar cane, not corn. But we use corn, so it looks more and more like this is a give-away program to Big Ag than anything else.
Being someone who pays attention, you ask, “But don’t we also grow sugarcane in the United States?”
We do. We also grow sugar beets. Both of them produce about five times as much ethanol per acre as corn, which makes the ethanol from those crops much less expensive to produce. We also have switchgrass throughout the United States.
Switchgrass is very interesting. For one thing it takes half the costs to produce switchgrass per acre as it does corn. For another, switchgrass can grow in marginal growing areas, meaning the costs are still less because it requires less productive lands. Remember how it takes 65% more energy to produce corn ethanol than the ethanol yields? Ethanol from switchgrass yields 500% more energy than it takes to produce it. And you don’t even have to replant switchgrass! So, why are we focused on corn?
Does Archer-Daniels-Midland have huge investments in switchgrass like it does in corn production? Nah, I didn’t think so.
Look up switchgrass and ethanol online and you’ll see there are quite a few articles on it. Several good ones in Scientific American alone. From 2006 to 2008 there were several studies announced and quite a few stories written on the emergence of switchgrass as an alternative to corn as a source of ethanol. Since 2009, articles on switchgrass disappeared. I wonder why.
How do we fix this mess?
Well, we obviously can’t rely on Washington. That’s a near-certainty.
Image by Frank Kehren via FlickrNow, here is how we combat this massive, wasteful federal give-away program. Not all filling stations have ethanol in their gasoline. At a 90% gas/10% ethanol blend, which most filling stations use, for every 10 gallons you pump you have pumped nine gallons of gas and one gallon of ethanol. That gallon of ethanol costs you and other taxpayers 47.5 cents. Pump ethanol-free gas and when you fill up, you save taxpayers about a buck.
Want to put an end to this subsidy and get ten to fifteen percent better gas mileage? Pump gasoline without ethanol. If enough of us do this, then we can bring this to an end. When ethanol-free gas stations are over-run with business and ethanol mix stations have declining sales, it will right itself through simple supply and demand.
I know that you may not know where your nearest ethanol-free gas station is located, but I’m looking out for you: Go here: http://pure-gas.org/ for a current list which is listed by state and then by city. It’s easy to look up. Now you’re all set
The ridiculous Ethanol Scam: brought to us by the Iowa Caucuses going first in the Presidential sweepstakes.
That is exactly what I used to think, but I've heard some cogent arguments on FR that it's possible to grow corn for both food, feed and fuel. That said, I say remove the subsidies. The market will take care of what is grown for what purpose. It is always that simple.
go buy a new lawn mower. Read the tag attached to the fuel tank, It says no Q-85.
There is a reason for that.
While many might find a conspiracy in this, I am guessing that perhaps there is no pot of gold at the end of that rainbow either.
God already gave us a pleantiful energy source - nuclear. We are just too dumb to figure out how to use it.
The US is now an ethanol exporter, not importer. We produce more than we use.
And when blended with gasoline fuel, the subsidized product can then be exported.
Petroleum Supply Monthly, April 2011
See: Table 1. U.S. Supply, Disposition, and Ending Stocks of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products, February 2011, page 7
But we use corn, so it looks more and more like this is a give-away program to Big Ag than anything else.
This article is legitimate. The federal (DC) ethanol mandate IS about subsidizing the corn industry.
Ethanol can be produced from many other crops more efficiently than from corn. This is beside the fact, which the article does not go in to, that ethanol-added fuel has problems in itself, from water accumulation to corrosion to less energy per unit volume.
However do NOT use the argument of burning food for fuel, that is irrelevant and like aspects of the birth-certificate thing, is subject to logical ridicule (as in Americans don't consume enough calories?).
It IS about subsidizing the corn industry, at immense expense, in both energy and engine maintenance terms, to the taxpayer. A blatant case of (corrupt) lobbying power at the federal congressional level.
Your Senator (or President) is NOT concerned about you; he or she is concerned about perpetrating their privileged career. That is why the Federal Government needs to be dismantled to at most sixty percent of its current revenue and program authority.
Thus the Tea Party.
The Suntrade Institute
The mandate only specifies the volume of ethanol to be included in the fuel supply; it does not mention what source is to be used.
The subsidy is paid as ethanol is blended with gasoline. It is paid regardless of the source of ethanol, included imported sources. (note, we are now an exporter of ethanol since we produce more than we use)
One man's subsidy is another man's investment!
You miss the entire point. Making fuel from cropland is a political confrontation where America’s interests are not to feed the “World that hates us” and rather to make food costs higher for that world and make them rage against OPEC for causing the mess. We do not need the feed the world with cheap farm products, while they vote against us at the UN and hate us.
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was trying to start a Biomass program back in the 80s. They were going to use alfalfa. They would produce several products from the alfalfa. I believe ethanol was one of the products. Alfalfa is a good rotation crop for most farmers. They needed a good water supply and some land and an agricultural base. The farmers found out and tripled the price they wanted for their land and the TVA left. I haven’t heard anything since.
Larry, FR has long been a fair use site. I'm a very long-time FReeper. My ID shows '98 but that's only because of an ID glitch. I've actually been on here since '94 or '95.
I am asking that you not post my blogs in their entirety unless you have prior permission from me. possumjohn is a friend and thought what I wrote was worthy of posting here. I appreciate him posting an excerpt.
Anyway, no hard feelings and what's done is done, but I don't want people to begin to believe that I don't care about my intellectual property.
Ken Carroll aka Ken in Eastman
So we are now subsidizing other countries at 47.5 cents/gallon? And if we didn’t slap a 54 cent/gallon tariff on Brazilian ethanols we WOULD be an importer and save taxpayers money.
Bottom line: It costs 65% more energy to produce ethanol than the energy we derive from ethanol. If it wasn’t a subsidy program, why would we do it?
You joined before JR? Good trick!
Here's my FRiendly advice. If it's your own work, there is no issue with fair use. You are using FR, so give FR readers your full attention in return. Don't use FR AND be stingy with the content.
Folks will be MORE likely to give you hits if you are playing fair (i.e., sharing and contributing, not using).
All we are saying, is give your whole piece a chance!
I apologize for the date being wrong, but it’s been a long time, so it was ‘96 or ‘97 instead of earlier. Time flies. I remember commenting on the Dodge County voter fraud trial that was posted and that trial began in ‘96, but it could have been someone’s post on it later.
As for my blog, all I’m asking is the same consideration others get. That would be “fair use”.
Thanks for the advice on how to manage my blog. I hope you don’t mind if I make my own decisions there. Based on the number of FReepers who do go to my site from here to read my blog, I’m providing something of value. I’m glad to do so, but I’ll do it my way.
All I asked is that you respect my intellectual property. I’ve asked nicely.
Ethanol is more expensive than 100% gas, I tested it in my car. I gained about 11% in mileage, while paying about 2.7% more for the 100% gas.
This was based on 10 cent more per gallon over ethanol tainted gas, but I found a station that only charges 2-3 cents more than the ethanol-tainted gas at 7-11, so it blows away the value of the ethanol junk coming out of those pumps.
You are certainly welcome to your opinion. I do resent the “scummy” remark, but that is your opinion and you are welcome to it.
I write what I believe to be a quality product. If I post a blog (including my own when I do) I post it under Blog/Personal. If I post my own, I label it as vanity. There is no pretense of it being anything else.
If you want to attack me because I didn’t appreciate Larry being so flippant about other people’s property, then so be it. I have, and will continue to be polite as I have always been on FR - even with people I believe to be wrong.
There is usually non-ethanol gasoline in most locations. Just look it up. There’s a link to one site in the blog. I’m sure there are others as well.
Non-ethanol gas gets (according to the government) 3-4% fewer mpg. I think it’s not that good and I’ve heard anecdotal of 15% better without ethanol.
Of course my site has always linked to this site even when I wasn’t posting here.
I’ll continue to offer good, quality blogs to those who are interested in reading them.
Fixed it for you.
The subsidy is paid at the blending of gasoline. It is paid regardless of the source. If we eliminated the tariff, the subsidy would still be paid, but we would be promoting the foreign import over domestic production without the tariff.
It costs 65% more energy to produce ethanol than the energy we derive from ethanol.
That has been proved false multiple times.
I am not a fan of the subsidy. But as long as we have it, the tariff is needed so we are not subsidizing foreign production.
You have that backwards.
However, vehicles will typically go 34% fewer miles per gallon on E10 than on straight gasoline.
There is usually non-ethanol gasoline in most locations.
Not in my location or several others. I live in an area the EPA requires reformulated gasoline and MTBE is no longer used here.
I certainly hope this makes you feel good about yourself. Let the piling-on herd-mentality begin.
Name calling and ad hominem attacks are generally pointless, but they do reveal much more about you than the person you attack.
So, I suppose I should either run away or allow people like you to post my entire blog without complaint.
This all started when Larry posted my entire blog without permission and I dared asked nicely that he not do so in the future.
Is it that you don’t want it posted here at all? Is it that you want it all regardless of my wishes? Larry apparently liked it well enough that he posted all of it. What Larry decided was fair game to take took me about 2.5 hours to create.
If you don’t want to read it, then simply don’t read it. Other people like it and have the courtesy to respect my request not to post all of my blog on other sites.
I did make a recent exception for the Georgia Chapter of Americans for Prosperity for this same blog, but they asked up front and I gave them my permission to post it on their site. Are you that much better than them?
I know some states (e.g. Minnesota) require blended gas, but most still do not.
And you are correct. I did have that backwards. Thanks for the correction and shame on me for thinking I could multi-task efficiently!
Why not just post the full content here? In what way does the blog
post cease to be your "intellectual property" if posted here in full?
Oh, I forgot. The 60 to 65% more fuel consumed than produced includes fertilization, planting, harvesting, etc. and that seems to be the standard on reputable sites. Can you give me a site that gives figures that disprove the numbers I used (including all energy spent on crop production and refinement)? If I’m wrong, I’d like to know and I need to see studies that show it.
Ethanol is combustible crap which over time distills (separates) into a thick viscous consistency. Lawn mowers, leaf blowers, chain saws, etc stored with Ethanol fuel mixtures often become impossible to start. Repair shops profit off ethanol problem with expensive fixes and replacement sales. Yet the persistent problem remains, ETHANOL. Wonder why your seldom used car runs rough?
If you read my latest comment, then you know that - at times - I allow an entire blog to be posted elsewhere. If permission is asked up front and if I decide to grant it. AFP Georgia has, in the past, posted my blog excerpts and linked back to my site. So, when they asked permission up front to post an entire blog, I granted it. No problem.
I don’t just slap some words into a word processor and upload them. It takes time to research, write, edit, re-write, re-edit and post a blog. I do it because I think what I have to say might be important or at least entertaining or best of all encourage people to think for themselves.
My measure of my success is the number of pageviews I get on my blog site. It’s the only way I have of knowing whether or not I am reaching people. The changes in those number of pageviews is important feedback to me. For that reason I like to link back.
This same blog (interestingly enough) is posted in excerpt form on another blog where it is linked back, not to my site, but . . . to Free Republic. I didn’t even bother to contact the blog owner, because I’m sure they meant no harm and thanks to me, FR may get another six or eight hits. Yeah, I know, really big numbers.
I’m really not trying to be an ass, but I strongly believe in property rights, even intellectual property and even for bloggers like me that put some time and energy into writing to the best of their abilities.
Thank you, by the way, for the civil response.
The reality is although these counties must have it used, the surrounding more rural counties often get their gasoline supply from the more densely populated urban area where more gasoline is sold.
I do not believe you will find a single real study that claims 60~65%.
Ethanol contains 23.6 megajoules per liter of ethanol. The highest values claimed (but disproved) were by Pimentel and Patzek of 29%.
I'm not trying to push ethanol; I work in the oil/gas industry. I am against the ethanol subsidy. But I want to see the information given out on Free Republic to be factual.
Do you have a link that disproves Pimentel’s findings? The only ones that I am aware of were funded by the USDA and had a disturbing air of Lysenko about them.
Pimentel and Patzek also include values like the energy of the food eaten by farmers and labors along the process. They included the energy used to make tractors and other equipment.
If you apply this standard, all choices are net losses of energy.
I think Dr. Wang’s 2005 study was one of the most complete. It is tainted with concerns of the production of greenhouse gases but the energy calculation including what was required to produce the electricity consumed seems quite complete.
So you admit to being a user, not a contibutor.
Hope you and your sockpuppet have fun here.
“The subsidy is paid at the blending of gasoline. It is paid regardless of the source. If we eliminated the tariff, the subsidy would still be paid, but we would be promoting the foreign import over domestic production without the tariff.”
You appear to be forgetting about these subsidies.
How many of those are tied to production values? How many would actually result in less paid if more was produced? How many would be paid regardless?
I am not promoting the subsidies. But the poster seemed to be talking about the blender credit subsidy. I definitely do not want to be paying a subsidy to foreign produced ethanol.
I think subsidies are subsidies. They should all be eliminated. If a farmer can grow corn and sell it to an unsubsidized ethanol plant at a profit with no subsidies along the way I say more power to him, otherwise, it needs to end.
Agreed. But as long as the subsidies exist, the tariff needs to remain so we are not subsidizing foreign production.
One-half gallon of oil in the form of pesticides per bushel of corn would cost $2 to $3 per bushel. If this were true -- and it clearly isn't -- it should be enough to illustrate to literally anyone that the price of petroleum is quite literally the ONLY thing driving corn prices. And this idiotic piece of agitprop -- from a hydrogen "energy" advocacy site -- also shows the guy in the encounter suit spraying chemical fertilizer, a sight that I've never been privileged to see, what with me *growing up on a farm*.
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