Skip to comments.The Ethanol Debacle
Posted on 09/13/2013 1:49:26 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
The government mandated blend of ethanol in every gallon of gasoline is a full-fledged disaster and neither Congress, nor the Environmental Protection Agency shows any indication of either repealing or abandoning it.
A recent Wall Street Journal editorial said, A strong candidate for the most expensive policy blunder of recent years would have to be the mandate to blend corn ethanol and other biofuels into the nations gasoline supply. Last month even the Environmental Protection Agency essentially acknowledged that the program is increasingly unworkable and costly to consumers. The EPA just wont do much to fix it.
Some future historian will calculate how many trillions this nation wasted when it passed a law in 2007 that was supposed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to save the Earth from global warming and to provide a domestic energy source to compete with OPEC oil.
Implicit in that calculation will have to be the millions, if not billions, of automobiles whose engines were ruined by ethanol. Another element of the calculation is the way the cost of food at home and around the world was increased needlessly by requiring approximately 42% of the U.S. corn crop be used for ethanol production. It is more than the amount of corn used to feed livestock and poultry nationwide.
Only an environmentalist would think it was a good idea to burn food as fuel instead of permitting corn to be used as part of the nations food chain and for export.
(Excerpt) Read more at canadafreepress.com ...
Ethanol debate continues...
FReep Mail me if you want on, or off, this Wisconsin interest ping list.
I believe Junior Johnson said it best ... Corn is good for two things ... Eating and Drinking.
Ethanol is corporate welfare for flyover states. ADM and other agro giants make a fortune off of it. Don’t expect Midwest republicrats to do anything but fight to expand its use.
“Implicit in that calculation will have to be the millions, if not billions, of automobiles whose engines were ruined by ethanol.”
Billions of automobiles? I am all for taking ethanol out of our gasoline, but I have a hard time taking this writer seriously when he suggests that billions of automobiles may have been ruined by ethanol. If he means to have this refer to US automobiles, that would mean about three automobiles per capita, including every man, woman and child. That is absurd.
So 100 years from now...etc.
Possibly he meant dollars or cents or value. Ethanol is corrosive and attracts moisture. It ain’t good for an internal combustion engine.
If (really big word) the U.S. was ever allowed to start producing more oil and build refineries, we would have the gasoline we need to run our vehicles and the corn to feed the world.
From the stuff I read, the bottleneck isn’t the availability of oil.
It’s the refineries.
We’ve had what, four, five, six of the biggest in the world go offline in the last few years because of explosions/fires?
And I’m not picking on the oil companies, but why would they give a crap? They have a captive market. They can charge whatever they want, pretty much.
OK. I see what he seems to be saying. If we keep up this ethanol nonsense for x number of years we will have ruined billions of automobiles. I like to use hyperbole when debating issues as appropriate, but I think this is not a proper argument in this case. It is also the straight-line fallacy regarding trends.
Why stop at 100 years? Let’s push it out to a full millennium. “By the time we enter the next millennium, 100 trillion automobiles will be ruined by ethanol.”
There are good arguments for ending this ethanol policy, but this seems like a weak one to me.
..Obama issues an Executive Order to the Sun...
....to increase it's magnetic field....
and make a good crop of sunspots before elections in 2016....
(PhysOrg.com) -- Sunspot formation is triggered by a magnetic field, which scientists say is steadily declining. They predict that by 2016 there may be no remaining sunspots, and the sun may stay spotless for several decades.
The last time the sunspots disappeared altogether was in the 17th and 18th century, and coincided with a lengthy cool period on the planet known as the Little Ice Age....and lasted 400 years.
Good luck surviving with no electricity and GE modified seeds.
I am still in favor of bankrupting the jihad. Whether we do it through fracking, biofuels, electrics, or some other technology is secondary. As a practical matter, some combination of increased domestic oil production and biofuels is at the moment the cost effective method. As to food vs. fuel, raw calories today are cheap. The farmgate price of the commodities in your grocery basket is about 14 cents on the dollar, an all-time low. Americans today spend less than 10 percent of disposable income on food, split roughly in half between foods purchased for home preparation and food eaten away from home. That too is an all-time low.
Calories are cheap; what people are paying for today is convenience, better taste and nutrition, and availability through a global marketing system that gives us 24/7 access to the foods of the world. (Someone needs to tell Team Obama that local foods won't give you fresh fruits and vegetables in midwinter, or variety.)
Would food be cheaper if we removed the ethanol mandate? Most of the studies suggest that the effect would be marginal. The ethanol buildout was feedstocked from increased production, not by shorting traditional food and feed markets. Yes, the U.S. is coming off a bad weather cycle, which has given us three straight years of declining corn production (for the first time in U.S. history). But we are probably headed for a record harvest this year, and trend yields continue to increase. Farmers expect the national average yield to exceed 200 bushels an acre in the relatively near term (10-15 years), and nobody in the bidness will raise much of an eyebrow if you project 300 bushels an acre in another generation.
And it's not just in the U.S.; places like Argentina, Brazil, and Ukraine are ramping up, and the world's #2 corn producer, China, is capable of doubling yields as well with full application of existing technologies. (With average farm sizes of about five acres, China faces major social barriers to farm modernization, but that will change as the population becomes urbanized.)
By the way, I do not think corn ethanol is the long run solution. My expectation is that third generation feedstocks, very likely algal or microbial, will eventually become price competitive. The question is when. This is one of those big game-changing developments that could pop out of the labs at any time ... or it may be ten years. A lot of smart people are working on it, and the chemistry is not hard. It's just a matter of getting the price points down. When that happens, the Arabs will have to go back to pounding sand.
Get some today, pure gas.
Native American Indians to build refinery in North Dakota.
Delvin Cree: North Dakota tribe breaks ground on oil refinery www.indianz.com News Headlines
May 9, 2013 - Delvin Cree: North Dakota tribe breaks ground on oil refinery ... 25 miles west of New Town, will be the first new refinery to be built in the U.S. in 30 years. ... Editorial: Take pride in Native American Day in South Dakota (9/10
The Ethanol hasn’t seemed to harm my car, but it tore the hell out of my boat , and my jet ski, despite my having spent a fortune on products that fight it.
Converting food to energy should be a crime.
Same here. Weed eaters and chainsaws too. Ethanol is most hard on 2 stroke motors of all sizes and types, it dilutes the oil differently than gas. It is next hardest on small gas engines on mowers, etc. I've not really heard of anyone having trouble with a car engine. I've heard of older tractor and car engines with rubber gas lines failing, but not the engine itself.
I continue to believe that burning food instead of pumping oil is stupid beyond belief. Only a moron destroys food.
I agree. Hard to see man staying on top of the food chain by using our food for fuel.
his nation wasted when it passed a law in 2007
- - - - - -
The ethanol mandate started in 2005.
ENERGY POLICY ACT OF 2005
TITLE XVETHANOL AND MOTOR FUELS
Subtitle AGeneral Provisions
SEC. 1501. RENEWABLE CONTENT OF GASOLINE
All ethanol does is drive gasoline prices higher, create more pollution when you burn it, and drive mileage down.
Exactly what are you claiming the alcohol does internally to "kill" an engine?
From the stuff I read, the bottleneck isnt the availability of oil.
Its the refineries.
- - - - - - -
Even with the shutdowns, we refine more fuel in the US than we use ourselves.
We refine about twice as much crude oil as we produce ourselves. We import nearly the same amount of crude oil as we produce domestically.
Refinery Utilization and Capacity
Crude Oil Production
U.S. Imports by Country of Origin, Crude Oil
It wasn't than long ago that 125 bushel corn was considered exceptional
It costs too much at the pump!
We need a glut of unleaded gasoline, and no "boutique blends".
Reservations have been poor places for a long time. But, by treaty and tradition, they are exempt from a lot of state laws. Hence, some of them have built gambling casinos with varying degrees of success.
The EPA makes it very difficult to build and operate a refinery. This plan makes me suspect that the EPA has less authority in the reservations. If it takes place, I look for it to be widely copied for refineries and other types of industry as well.
Exactly. I’m not a farmer but I do have occasion to rub shoulders with farmers from time to time. The technologies in the field today are amazing, and the stuff in the pipeline is even better. NCGA runs an annual yield contest with competition in several categories. Last year, most of the national winners were over 300 bushels an acre. That was in the face of the worst drought in decades. That much yield potential is already in the plant, and both the genetics and the agronomics are improving rapidly. I’m a layman in such matters, but it’s fun to watch.
A lot of Americans are at a Little House on the Prairie level of understanding of agriculture. Charles Ingalls never imagined field maps capturing soil conditions across multiple variables (moisture, organic content, chemical content) on a ten square meter scale, with seed and fertilizer variable rated across the field. All of this is GPS controlled. The next evolution may be planters capable of planting four or five varieties in the same field: the optimum variety, optimum plant density and planting pattern for each soil type, with chemicals applied with almost surgical precision. And that’s all independent of better genetics, which is also advancing rapidly.
When the auto manufacturers themselves go to the effort to issue warning stickers and owner manual guidance to not use E15 (Ethanol 15%) on the pain of voided warranties (Toyota), I presume that they might know their own engines. This is from AAA on this subject; "The auto industry, though, says E-15 -- as the blend is known -- corrodes pumps, fuel lines and injectors. And manufacturers say they won't cover damages caused by the higher blend."
As for older vehicles, designed and built to non-ethanol standards, the alcohol concentration is a known deteriorating factor for the fuel systems. Perhaps it is excessive to say that E15 is a killer but I would not want the expense of parts replacements!
Ethanol and biofuel mandates have the economic effect of firmly tying the price of grain crops used for food (or used to feed animals used for food) to the world price of energy. This is a grave mistake because future price gyrations in either food or energy would cause markets to react in ways that might substantially change food supplies.
But more important, the entire idea that we must consume food crops as a substitute for oil is just silly and wrong. Why not convert coal to motor vehicle fuel instead of converting field corn? It defies logic.
Mostly because of the cost of the crude oil going into the refinery.
What we pay for in a gallon of:
I have seen some of the stuff, and it makes a Tomahawk missile look simple.
The central government mandating the blending of ethanol is lousy as a matter of policy, just as is their mandate of any other product. But ethanol doesn’t not burn hotter than gasoline. If you engine was running hotter, your timing was off.
Yep, and snowmobiles, chainsaw, weedwhacker, mini-tiller, etc.
My ‘95 Nissan Maxima had to have all its fuel injectors replaced after 3 years. The mechanic told me they were corroded by ethanol use. I still drive it today with the replacement injectors and it runs like a dream. And I haven’t used ethanol since they were replaced.
There is/was an Alcohol/ethanol group on Yahoo which contained a lot of useful information for individuals wanting to produce their own fuel but whoa be to anyone who pointed out the inefficiencies (which an open debate might address) or to mention FOX news.
It was exactly like posting some anti-communist message on the DU.
Instant deletion of your post should you defend FOX or point out that without political interference ethanol is not the way to go at this point in time as it is not economically viable without political distortion of the energy and costs required to produce it..
If however, they can come up with an enzyme to allow the use of Kudzu, they would have a twofer.
Gimme straight gasoline please.
I will concede that it attracts water and causes corrosion, and it may well, in higher concentrations, attack rubbers and plastics which are part of the fuel system. The fuel rail and injectors are about the only thing that could fairly be considered an actual part of the engine.
Brazil built cars that ran on pure alcohol, and there are cars built here called "Flex-fuel" vehicles, which can run on various blends. When Brazil discovered they were awash in petroleum...they backed off the ethanol.
Is it true that we cannot export crude overseas?
Is it true that we can and do export finished product?
Is anybody paying attention to the effect of long-term mega-yields on soil chemistry, biology, and physical structure? I have serious doubts that that soil is as “renewable” as the left and sold-out politicians think.
The farmgate price of the commodities in your grocery basket is about 14 cents on the dollar, an all-time low. Americans today spend less than 10 percent of disposable income on food.
1) The US negotiated for over 10 years with Mexico on NAFTA, which finally allowed US companies to sell corn in Mexico. At that time, corn was produced by thousands of subsistance peasant farmers.
2) When US corn flooded the Mexican market, the price of corn went down, and thus the price of tortillas went down. Hooray from the corn consumers! Disaster for the subsistance farmers — they couldn’t match US prices, and had to quit farming. Instant unemployment [working for drug dealers begins to look attractive]. Instant migration north.
3) When ethanol mandates for gasoline hit, corn prices doubled ... in Mexico. When tortillas are your staple food, and their price doubles, very low income people go hungry. More Mexicans go north. [Working for drug dealers looks even more attractive].
Conclusion: the combination of NAFTA and ethanol really screwed the Mexican population. Unintended but predictable consequences.
Fertilizer. If you don’t use it, your yields will not be near as high. That is the key for much of the high yield revolution.
Export of Crude Oil is limited by permit requirements. We export very little, normally only a small amount to closest Canadian refinery.
Crude oil exports are restricted to:
(1) crude oil derived from fields under the State waters of Alaska's Cook Inlet;
(2) Alaskan North Slope crude oil; (since 1999, not before. For a few years there was a west coast oil glut and ~5% was exported then stopped when the surplus no longer existed and is no longer exported)
(3) certain domestically produced crude oil destined for Canada;
(4) shipments to U.S. territories; and
(5) California crude oil to Pacific Rim countries.
Is it true that we can and do export finished product?
Yes, we import more crude oil than we need, refine more than we use and export the surplus finished product. Much of that is the refinery “leftovers” that cannot be converted into highway transportation fuel. Examples would be petroleum coke and residual oil.
Definitions, Sources and Explanatory Notes
Weekly Imports & Exports
Crude Oil Exports by Destinationhttp://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_move_expc_a_EPC0_EEX_mbbl_m.htm