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Ethanol giant shifts gears
Houston Chronicle ^ | Jan 5, 2010 | Tom Fowler

Posted on 01/05/2010 5:03:06 AM PST by thackney

Fagen Inc. was pretty busy from 2006 to 2008, building 47 ethanol projects across the U.S., bringing in about $2.2 billion in revenue for the family-owned business in Granite Falls, Minn.

"Corn ethanol has been the best thing that has happened to the farmers since the invention of the combine," said 61-year-old Ron Fagen, who grew up in the tiny community of Maynard near Granite Falls. "It gives them another market for their corn."

But the ethanol party's over, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

...

Fagan is actually taking part in a project to build what is expected to be the largest biomass-fueled (i.e. wood scrap) power plant in the U.S. in the coming years for the City of Austin.

(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.chron.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: biomass; energy; ethanol
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1 posted on 01/05/2010 5:03:08 AM PST by thackney
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To: thackney
My thoughts are this...

Never been fond of the Fuel, but their maybe a technological sweet spot , using it as a supplementary fuel.

Go here: http://www.ethanolboost.com/

Ford is experimenting with it in something known as "Project Bobcat" that is showing Torque numbers through the moon. Diesel replacement? Perhaps...

2 posted on 01/05/2010 5:14:08 AM PST by taildragger (Palin/Mulally 2012)
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To: thackney

If a fuel needs subsidy in order to be viable, it is not a ‘fuel’.


3 posted on 01/05/2010 5:15:33 AM PST by agere_contra
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To: thackney

Ethanol produces twice the CO2 as its gasoline equivalent.


4 posted on 01/05/2010 5:21:12 AM PST by Hoodat (For the weapons of our warfare are mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.)
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To: thackney

Ethanol is just a great big taxpayer subsidized waste of money directed at farm votes in a few states, lobbied by the big boy of lobbyists, ArcherDanielsMidland, and a feel-good environmental nightmare.

It cannot compete in the marketplace and is immoral as it robs food from being consumed by poor countries grain was previously shipped to.


5 posted on 01/05/2010 5:26:48 AM PST by bestintxas
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To: agere_contra

the bigger concern these days is the oil import bill.

anything that pulls down the oil import bill is better than the current regime.

this is the first that I’ve heard that biofuel production has been cut in half in 2009. that means that the obama goal of doubling renewable fuel output in the USA three years has no hope of succeeding.


6 posted on 01/05/2010 5:28:09 AM PST by ckilmer (Phi)
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To: thackney
Corn based Ethanol is essentially burning food. It is asinine.

Alcohol based fuels will only be viable is they use a source which does not drive up the cost food. Cellulose ethanol is a possibility.

The best use for pure ethanol is as a fuel for alcohol fuel cells. These could be integrated into a new line of plug-in hybrid type cars.

Biodiesel is a far more thermodynamically efficient fuel than ethanol. For internal combustion engines, biodiesel makes far more sense than ethanol.

We apparently are still far away from efficient production of biofuels. When you need government subsidies for alternative fuel in an world of $80/barrel oil, something is not right.

7 posted on 01/05/2010 5:30:08 AM PST by magellan
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To: agere_contra

That 2.2 billion revenue would not have been there were it not for mine and your tax dollars...


8 posted on 01/05/2010 5:30:53 AM PST by Ryman (Check out my grandson's story @ http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/babythomas2)
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To: Nailbiter

ping


9 posted on 01/05/2010 5:31:42 AM PST by IncPen (SEC PROSECUTE AL GORE FOR TRADE FRAUD - GIVE BACK THE OSCAR! - GIVE BACK THE NOBEL!)
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To: Hoodat
Ethanol produces twice the CO2 as its gasoline equivalent.

I am also curious as to how it affects mileage.

Whenever we drive from Central Florida to Central South Caroline we notice that the Florida tankful gets 360 miles max range and the South Carolina tankful gets 420 miles, in addition to being 20 cents cheaper per gallon.

10 posted on 01/05/2010 5:33:49 AM PST by N. Theknow (Kennedys: Can't fly, can't ski, can't drive, can't skipper a boat, but they know what's best.)
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To: N. Theknow

it is such a scam...and all it has done is raise food prices around the world...when are people going to wkae up and realize that green is now the new red!!!


11 posted on 01/05/2010 5:35:18 AM PST by surfer (To err is human, to really foul things up takes a Democrat!)
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To: N. Theknow

Ethanol is an inferior fuel compared with gasoline. By volume, it takes 1½ times the ethanol to produce the same energy as gasoline. So yes, your mileage per gallon of ethanol would be considerably lower.


12 posted on 01/05/2010 5:39:14 AM PST by Hoodat (For the weapons of our warfare are mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.)
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To: Hoodat

Ethanol is hydroscopic (absorbs water) so must be transported in dedicated tanker trucks....using diesel fuel.


13 posted on 01/05/2010 5:48:28 AM PST by spokeshave (Albore can uninvent the internet about as well as 0bama can unjump the shark)
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To: spokeshave
....also needs special fire extinguishers to put out any raw Ethanol fires...

fire departments nation wide are rushing to get funds for this....

.........all your unintended consequences belong to us....

14 posted on 01/05/2010 5:50:16 AM PST by spokeshave (Albore can uninvent the internet about as well as 0bama can unjump the shark)
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To: magellan

I disagree. We make plenty of corn. I’d rather burn that than buy foreign oil, regardless of cost. It’ll take 10 or more years to supply that oil from domestic sources.

F*** the Middle East.

If we stopped selling our “excess” corn to China and the rest of the world for almost nothing, Ethanol derived from corn wouldn’t even make a dent in the market.

I say, end farm subsidies. Watch what happens to food prices. Ethanol would be cheap as compared to fossil oil.


15 posted on 01/05/2010 6:09:25 AM PST by SubmarineNuke (To the Sea I shall return)
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To: bestintxas
Ethanol does NOT compete with food. That’s a myth from the anti-development crowd.
16 posted on 01/05/2010 6:14:05 AM PST by Missouri gal
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To: Missouri gal

Please explain how using corn for fuel does not compete with food...


17 posted on 01/05/2010 6:20:20 AM PST by Ryman (Check out my grandson's story @ http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/babythomas2)
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To: agere_contra

>>>If a fuel needs subsidy in order to be viable, it is not a ‘fuel’.

Does that include the ‘subsidy’ in the form of US military might to keep the free-flow of global crude oil going so we can get what we get?


18 posted on 01/05/2010 6:23:07 AM PST by Keith in Iowa
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To: Ryman

>>>Please explain how using corn for fuel does not compete with food...

Do you assume once corn is used for ethanol there’s nothing left?

If you do, you are dead wrong.

The production process for ethanol yields other products that end up in the food chain - one is animal feed.


19 posted on 01/05/2010 6:24:55 AM PST by Keith in Iowa
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To: Missouri gal

Ethanol not competing with food market would be news to the cattle farmer. It has killed the beef industry and by some studies caused food prices we pay to rise some 15%.


20 posted on 01/05/2010 6:25:00 AM PST by Dartoid
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To: Missouri gal

On one hand, the anti-development crowd whines incessantly about how awful high-fructose corn syrup is, while on the other hand, they complain about ethanol production depleting this crucial food source.


21 posted on 01/05/2010 6:25:07 AM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: Hoodat

>>>So yes, your mileage per gallon of ethanol would be considerably lower.

10% ethanol fuel give me a lower fuel cost per mile driven. I’ve done the math.


22 posted on 01/05/2010 6:28:04 AM PST by Keith in Iowa
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To: Keith in Iowa

Have you noticed the rising cost of food products produced by this obamanation...


23 posted on 01/05/2010 6:29:00 AM PST by Ryman (Check out my grandson's story @ http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/babythomas2)
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To: Ryman

>>>Have you noticed the rising cost of food products produced by this obamanation...

No.


24 posted on 01/05/2010 6:30:01 AM PST by Keith in Iowa
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To: Keith in Iowa

please show your figures and math that produced that results...


25 posted on 01/05/2010 6:30:38 AM PST by Ryman (Check out my grandson's story @ http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/babythomas2)
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To: Missouri gal

“Ethanol does NOT compete with food.”

If that is true, then what pray tell, would the alternative be for the corn that is turned into ethanol if not for food?

Or you saying it is just more corn being raised?


26 posted on 01/05/2010 6:33:45 AM PST by bestintxas
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To: Keith in Iowa

What are your prices for 100% gasoline and 90% gasoline?


27 posted on 01/05/2010 6:35:11 AM PST by Hoodat (For the weapons of our warfare are mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.)
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To: bestintxas

More corn is being raised, the distillers dried grain is more efficiently fed to animals than the whole corn was to begin with and, oh by the way, #2 yellow corn isn’t used for human food anyway.


28 posted on 01/05/2010 6:37:56 AM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: SubmarineNuke

“We make plenty of corn. I’d rather burn that than buy foreign oil, regardless of cost.”

You of the cap-and-tax crowd that we do things regardless of it making economic sense are what is killing this country.

Just talk to the poor farmers in California who cannot farm as their water is denied them to keep alive small creatures who have zero value. Environmentalist will do things “regardless of cost”.


29 posted on 01/05/2010 6:38:35 AM PST by bestintxas
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To: Hoodat

“What are your prices for 100% gasoline and 90% gasoline?”

Also, what would the price for the 90% gasoline be without the tax subsides...


30 posted on 01/05/2010 6:40:47 AM PST by Ryman (Check out my grandson's story @ http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/babythomas2)
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To: Mr. Lucky

“oh by the way, #2 yellow corn isn’t used for human food anyway.”

That would be news to some that I found on google in 20 seconds.

http://www.allproducts.com/manufacture99/ksvtrading/product3.html

Come up with better facts.


31 posted on 01/05/2010 6:42:05 AM PST by bestintxas
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To: Hoodat

Ethanol blends are always at least 10 cents/gallon less than non-ethanol fuel.

My typical 10% ethanol blend cost per mile driven is 9 to 11 cents. Non ethanol fuels is 13 to 16 cents.

The cost per mile driven is derived by simply dividing the fuel cost by the number of miles driven.


32 posted on 01/05/2010 6:48:51 AM PST by Keith in Iowa
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To: bestintxas

“If that is true, then what pray tell, would the alternative be for the corn that is turned into ethanol if not for food?

Or you saying it is just more corn being raised?”

There are corn byproducts left over from the corn after the starch is turned into alcohol. They make very good animal feed.

I would be all for ethanol if it was not dependent on massive tax subsidies. That’s on top of the normal crop subsidies that are paid out to farmers.

Ag subsidies are destructive, and they misdirect capital and the shape of agriculture.

All ag subsidies should go; they should have gone away 50 years ago.


33 posted on 01/05/2010 6:53:00 AM PST by HereInTheHeartland (The End of an Error - 01/20/2013)
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To: Ryman
Please explain how using corn for fuel does not compete with food...

Field corn (as opposed to garden variety "sweet corn") is not food per se, but is instead processed into animal feed or food ingredients.

Each kernel of corn consists of fiber, germ, protein and starch. Starch can be processed into food and industrial starches, syrup, or alcohol. The fiber and protein is used to make gluten feed, flour, grits or meal, etc. The germ is used to make corn oil.

"Food versus fuel" is a bad anti-ethanol argument based on a false premise.

34 posted on 01/05/2010 6:58:27 AM PST by railroader
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To: Keith in Iowa

To Keith in Iowa...must be a big difference in cost to transport the ethanol since that is NOT the difference in cost found in other parts of the country; it is usually the reverse of that.


35 posted on 01/05/2010 6:59:47 AM PST by Ryman (Check out my grandson's story @ http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/babythomas2)
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To: Keith in Iowa

To Keith in Iowa...must be a big difference in cost to transport the ethanol since that is NOT the difference in cost found in other parts of the country; it is usually the reverse of that.


36 posted on 01/05/2010 6:59:59 AM PST by Ryman (Check out my grandson's story @ http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/babythomas2)
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To: bestintxas

Im in the energy business.

I am not a cap and trader, nor am I an environmentalist. Read what I wrote again.

I support creating fuel from our own sources with our own two hands and our own labor.

If we did away with subsidies (do you support the 50 yrs of farm subsidies?), ethanol fuel would be cheap as opposed to fossil oil. As fossil oil costs would sky rocket.

Our food is far too cheap in comparison to CPI increases over the last 5 or 6 decades, due largely to subsidies (and farming technology betterments).

Our oil is also far too cheap.

Our economy cannot recover until we get back to economic fundamentalism. Our economy is subsidized with cheap/free money, the same as our food.

I say burn ethanol. Its a product that is competitive in a truly free market; one where we aren’t subsidizing our lives away to big Ag and big Oil interests, the latter with the largest tax breaks of any industry in history, the former with direct payments of our tax dollars.

Once gas hits 5 or 6 bucks, ethanol is very competitive without tax credits.

Don’t try to impose an envirnmentalist moniker on me and try to think your posts through before slapping labels on your fellow freepers.


37 posted on 01/05/2010 7:03:17 AM PST by SubmarineNuke (To the Sea I shall return)
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To: SubmarineNuke
Our food is far too cheap...

Our oil is also far too cheap.

Our economy cannot recover until we get back to economic fundamentalism.

LOLOLOL!

"Economic fundamentalism" indeed! You don't care for the fundamental market forces which have resulted in cheaper food and fuel, so which "fundamentalism" were you talking about?

The market is giving you cheap food and cheap fuel, which is to you a Bad Thing, apparently. You arbitrarily declare that both are "too cheap". Because the pathetically inefficient alternatives to petroleum and other fossil fuels cannot compete, it must be that they are "too cheap!"

Yeah, that's the ticket!

Is it possible, in your universe, that solar power, wind power, ethanol production, etc. are too inefficient and too expensive?

38 posted on 01/05/2010 7:14:16 AM PST by TChris ("Hello", the politician lied.)
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To: bestintxas
You might not want to be a smart ass in a subject you're not familiar with.

The US doesn't import corn from South Africa, but, in any event, "Corn fit for human consumption" is not co-mingled with corn sold as ethanol feedstock.

Maybe 10-12% of the US corn crop is consumed in some form by humans, the vast majority of this is in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, with a minor portion in the form of food such as corn chips, tortillas or canned corn. Almost of of this corn is "white" vs. "yellow" corn. Corn intended to be used as human food in the US is grown on direct contract with the food processor because of quality control, genetic and other concerns.

39 posted on 01/05/2010 7:15:40 AM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: N. Theknow
Ethanol reduces gas mileage, effectively eliminating any gain that may have been made in reducing emissions due to a larger quantity of fuel burned to do the same amount of work.

Subsidizing fuels is simply BS, that includes bio-diesel. If a product can't make it on its own, then that product needs to be dumped, not paid for by the taxpayer in order to keep the company afloat.

40 posted on 01/05/2010 7:16:18 AM PST by calex59
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To: Keith in Iowa
Ethanol blends are always at least 10 cents/gallon less than non-ethanol fuel.

Maybe in Iowa but not in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

Florida 10% was $2.64 as of New Year's Day and is that today as well.

South Carolina was $2.39 for 0% and Georgia was $2.49 for 0%.

Range for a tankful of Florida fuel was 360 miles. Range for a tankful of South Carolina fuel was 420 miles. Still driving on the Georgia tankful and it is down to a 1/4 of a tank and the range on that tank so far is 350 miles.

41 posted on 01/05/2010 7:32:44 AM PST by N. Theknow (Kennedys: Can't fly, can't ski, can't drive, can't skipper a boat, but they know what's best.)
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To: Keith in Iowa
I have a problem with your math. You stated that on average your ethanol mix costs 10 ¢/mile or yields 10 miles/$. And gasoline costs 14.5 ¢/mile or yields 6.9 miles/$. As for fuel cost, you stated that gasoline is $0.10 higher than ethanol mix. Are we good so far?

Let's call the price of ethanol mix 'x'.

x = price of ethanol mix ($)
x + 0.1 = price of gasoline ($)

(10 miles/$) * (x) = (6.9 miles/$) * (x+0.1)

Solving for x yields a price of 22¢ per gal for ethanol mix and 32¢ per gal for gasoline. Where are you buying your gas?

42 posted on 01/05/2010 7:42:03 AM PST by Hoodat (For the weapons of our warfare are mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.)
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To: Mr. Lucky

Well well. Your “#2 yellow corn isn’t used for human food anyway” is not 0% but 10-12%.

I suspect that even that number is just direct consumption, not indirect.

For example, if any of it is used for feedstock, that is for human consumption as well, isn’t it?

We are also talking about humans in a worldwide sense, not just humans here in US.

The humans outside the US are the ones most susceptible to starvation and in need of food, regardless of whether it meets all the specs the USDA places on us for consumption here.


43 posted on 01/05/2010 7:44:04 AM PST by bestintxas
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To: Keith in Iowa
We can look at it another way. Let's say that gasoline is $2.50/gal while your ethanol mix is $2.40/gal. Using your figures of 10¢/mile for EtOH mix and 14.5¢/mile for gasoline, your vehicle mileage would be 24 mpg for the EtOH mix and only 17.25 mpg for the gasoline.

Since you have not challenged the fact that ethanol gives you less mpg than gasoline, there is something seriously wrong with your numbers.

44 posted on 01/05/2010 7:51:47 AM PST by Hoodat (For the weapons of our warfare are mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.)
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To: SubmarineNuke

You conflict yourself with your own words.

How can you say “Its a product that is competitive in a truly free market” with a straight face? There is no way it is competitive. It survives solely with government mandates and subsidies.

How dare I “Don’t try to impose an envirnmentalist moniker on me”? Reread my own post.

When someone spouts garbage such as “regardless of costs”. yes, I will always assume that they are people creating problems in our society.

Take care in your words you use.

By the way, I am a petroleum engineer.


45 posted on 01/05/2010 7:58:13 AM PST by bestintxas
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To: N. Theknow; magellan; bestintxas

Re: Ethanol cannot compete

EXACTLY!

An analysis of the ethanol subsidy from taxpayers shows that the Ethanol producers are paid 100% of the costs oil producers have (1) finding the energy, (2) producing the energy, (3) transportation costs and (4) marketing expense.

Total subsidy is around $2.58 / gallon ... or roughly what the cost of gasoline is at the pump.

Other really bad outcomes of Ethanol:

a) 10% less fuel economy (which is why folks will pay a little more for “no ethanol” gasoline

b) 10-20% lifespan reduction on the fuel system if your vehicle was not engineered for flex fuel

c) High water use in production

d) Higher pollution when manufactured, and when burned than with gasoline

e) Much higher costs along the entire food chain

f) Reduction in US exports of corn, which could partially offset high oil and gasoline imports

In short, it takes far more energy to make ethanol and burn it than it does to make gasoline and burn it.


46 posted on 01/05/2010 8:08:46 AM PST by Nobel_1 (bring on the Patriots!)
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To: bestintxas

You’re missing the point that the principal corn by-product of ethanol, distillers dried grains, is a very efficient protein feed for animals while raw corn is decidedly not. So the question is whether these poor starving masses that everyone seems to think American farmers have some sort of social obligation to feed are better served by the greater availability of high fructose corn syrup or by the greater availability of 24% protein meal.


47 posted on 01/05/2010 8:21:09 AM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: SubmarineNuke
Our food is far too cheap in comparison to CPI increases over the last 5 or 6 decades, due largely to subsidies

In all my years on FR, you're the first person to get the relationship between farm subsidies and cheap food.

I'm not saying food is too cheap, I don't think it is, but it is cheap because the farm subsidies have really been a 'cheap foo for consumers' program.

48 posted on 01/05/2010 8:21:32 AM PST by Balding_Eagle (If America falls, islam will cover the earth with darkness for a thousand years.)
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To: bestintxas

You are just wrong.

If oil wasn’t subsidized, ethanol would be comparitively cheaper.

I’m for no subsidies of any kind to any industry. In that respect, I’m for ethanol if and only if the blinders on folks like you can think from that perspective.

You endorse subsidies everyday. Admit it. Once you do, don’t apologize. I don’t need it.


49 posted on 01/05/2010 8:34:38 AM PST by SubmarineNuke (To the Sea I shall return)
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To: SubmarineNuke

“If oil wasn’t subsidized, ethanol would be comparitively cheaper.”

The nonsense of your position is obvious to all.

The subsidization of ethanol directly via credits and indirect via mandates is inconsequentially small in the oil and gas sector as compared to that given ethanol.

I am speechless as to why you think making oil cheaper would impact the competitiveness of ethanol.

In Economics 101, making a competitive alternative cheaper gives one less reason to invest in something as the alternative is what people would buy.


50 posted on 01/05/2010 8:56:21 AM PST by bestintxas
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