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The unintended consequences of the ethanol quick fix
Christian Science Monitor ^ | July 27, 2007 | Ray Nothstine

Posted on 07/26/2007 5:46:51 PM PDT by PJ-Comix

Grand Rapids, Mich. - Ronald Reagan once said that the most terrifying words in the English language are, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." His one-liner immediately comes to mind when looking at the problems behind the federal government's campaign to boost production of corn-based ethanol with a massive 51-cent-per-gallon subsidy.

(Excerpt) Read more at csmonitor.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy
KEYWORDS: energy; ethanol
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To: xcamel
Only a fool would think that the $.50 per bushel increase in the value of corn from last year to this makes much difference in the price of a gallon of milk.

Even assuming that retail milk prices were determined by the dairyman's cost of production (they aren't), the influence of the price of corn would be minimal. A Holstein dairy cow will produce about 8 gallons of milk per day. A $.50 increase in the cost of corn translates into an average increase in the cost of a lactating cow's daily feed ration of about $.15, or $.02 per gallon (and even that assumes the dairyman has no ability to substitute other ingredients such as ddg's in the ration).

51 posted on 07/27/2007 6:53:36 AM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: hophead
"Yogurt went from .69 to .99 OVERNIGHT! And I get LESS MPG’s per gallon with this crud."

I expect its pretty hard on the fuel pump and injectors as well.

52 posted on 07/27/2007 7:12:01 AM PDT by norton
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To: PJ-Comix

The author of that piece is very intelligent. I like how he writes


53 posted on 07/27/2007 7:53:35 AM PDT by Reagan79 (Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys)
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To: xcamel

>Only a fool would use his food for fuel.<

Particularly when it takes more petroleum to produce the equivalent amount of ethanol.

Talk about the dog chasing its tail!


54 posted on 07/27/2007 8:02:27 AM PDT by Darnright
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To: Mr. Lucky

Go look at the CBT charts and rethink your position...


55 posted on 07/27/2007 8:12:28 AM PDT by xcamel ("It's Talk Thompson Time!" >> irc://irc.freenode.net/fredthompson)
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To: xcamel
OK, September corn is currently trading at $3.18 per bushel.

How much corn do you think a lactating dairy cow will consume in a day?

56 posted on 07/27/2007 8:18:29 AM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: Mr. Lucky
One cow? you have to be kidding me...
How about 100, or 200 or 500? How about the cost of production? how about the grains **not** being planted to make more room for corn ethanol? How does this effect the price of your feed when there is **less** grain, or beet pulp, or silage for feed? How much has your meat gone up? Your Corn flakes? Your Soda? apply that to 300 million people...How many dairy's are just closing down because they can't afford to operate? How many are switching over to just growing non food/feed corn?
$1 worth of ethanol is costing Americans about $3.75 by now.
57 posted on 07/27/2007 8:36:02 AM PDT by xcamel ("It's Talk Thompson Time!" >> irc://irc.freenode.net/fredthompson)
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To: xcamel

I take it that you really don’t have a whole lot of experience in agriculture, do you?


58 posted on 07/27/2007 8:39:06 AM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: NVDave

Ping


59 posted on 07/27/2007 8:46:25 AM PDT by investigateworld ( Those BP guys will do more prison time than many convicted Japanese war criminals ...thanks Bush!)
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To: 1rudeboy

Agave are dying from fungi among other parasitical attackers; they must grow to a certain age for tequila production so if they are sickly or dying they will never make an economical crop.

The soil best suited for agave is totally unsuited for corn; a lot of amendment and irrigation will be necessary to switch over.


60 posted on 07/27/2007 8:47:30 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: Nathan Zachary

Variable compression, variable injection engines will perform better with ethanol; ordinary engines will have less power and poorer mileage.


61 posted on 07/27/2007 8:52:37 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: Old Professer

A 1950’s vintage naturally aspirated long stroke Offenhauser makes an ideal ethanol friendly engine.


62 posted on 07/27/2007 9:05:36 AM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: Mr. Lucky

You don’t seem to have any experience with logic from what I can tell.


63 posted on 07/27/2007 10:17:18 AM PDT by xcamel ("It's Talk Thompson Time!" >> irc://irc.freenode.net/fredthompson)
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To: xcamel
Oh please.

Don't make bizarre allegations if you don't want to be called on them.

64 posted on 07/27/2007 10:38:09 AM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: PJ-Comix
What I'm looking forward to is the screams of outrage about how the move to E85 and even ethanol as a fuel is increasing the greenhouse gasses, contributing to even greater "global warming!"

A lot of people don't realize that there's less energy in ethanol than in gasoline, and consequently, you burn more of it to produce the same work in an internal combustion engine. The more you burn, the greater the exhaust.

Mark

65 posted on 07/27/2007 10:57:28 AM PDT by MarkL (Listen, Strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government)
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To: Mr. Lucky
They're not allegations - they are facts - and even the most basic search would prove it to anyone who would bother to look. Diverting any quantity of basic commodity food products to fuel production is about the stupidest thing any society can do, not to mention disastrous to the economy.
66 posted on 07/27/2007 11:37:32 AM PDT by xcamel ("It's Talk Thompson Time!" >> irc://irc.freenode.net/fredthompson)
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To: xcamel

What nutrients do you think are removed from corn used as ethanol feedstock?


67 posted on 07/27/2007 11:39:00 AM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: Mr. Lucky

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1861790/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/1861233/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1859974/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1858095/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1857162/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1852378/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1850059/posts

Start reading....

And Yes, sugar, and starch, and name even one common food product not effected by the price of corn — I bet you can’t.


68 posted on 07/27/2007 11:50:35 AM PDT by xcamel ("It's Talk Thompson Time!" >> irc://irc.freenode.net/fredthompson)
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To: xcamel
Lettuce. Beans. Celery. Watermelons. Potatoes. Asparagus. Pancakes. Bread. Noodles. Raspberry cobler. Pumpkin pie. You get the idea.

Have you told us yet how much corn you think a dairy cow eats in a day?

69 posted on 07/27/2007 12:04:13 PM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: PJ-Comix

I have used union 76 for years that does contain ethanol. I use it because Calif has MTBE in all the other gas and that stuff is deadly on the water systems let alone our lungs. I have not really found any problems accept that my fuel pump in my truck gas tank started to not hold pressure.


70 posted on 07/27/2007 12:08:47 PM PDT by jetson
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To: Mr. Lucky

6 of the 10 products you mentioned use corn starch, corn oil, or sweeteners in normal commercial production.

(summer) lactating dairy cows.
Feeds lbs./cow/day
Alfalfa silage 10.00
Corn silage 50.00
Shelled corn 10.00

Now I’m done with you.


71 posted on 07/27/2007 12:13:59 PM PDT by xcamel ("It's Talk Thompson Time!" >> irc://irc.freenode.net/fredthompson)
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To: xcamel
Now I'm done with you

And I'll be done with you (right after this post of course).

The USDA reports the average retail price of whole milk in the City of Indianapolis (my state capitol) this July to be $3.80 per gallon. At 8 gallons per cow, ole Bessie produces $30.40 per day in retail product. The cost to the dairyman, at today's CBOT close, for the corn fed to Bessie today was $.57

72 posted on 07/27/2007 12:25:39 PM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: PJ-Comix

Corn planting is up 19% this year from last year. We will be up to our @sses in corn. It won’t affect food prices at all.

The whole story is a yawner.


73 posted on 07/27/2007 12:40:19 PM PDT by TexanToTheCore (If it ain't Rugby or Bullriding, it's for girls.........................................)
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To: PJ-Comix

I am still looking for the consensus of scientist who say a CO2 molecule from ethanol is better for global warming reduction than a CO2 molecule from gasoline. Gotta be some reason for this stupidity.


74 posted on 07/27/2007 12:42:56 PM PDT by Tarpon
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To: Racer1
you said, "Its not the farmers reaping the benefits as much as the retail food stores."

the middle men can raise the price and the consumer doesn't see it. Farmers work hard for their money, and nobody gives them credit for being productive....but non farmers can sure look down their collective noses at farmers and ridicule them as being country hicks.., and then they complain if the farmer makes a buck or two......sheesh.

75 posted on 07/27/2007 1:00:15 PM PDT by Auntie Toots (The GOP is still the best we've got.....AND THAT USED TO BE THE TRUTH)
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To: padre35
As far as "Govt intervention in a market"...imagine this....

National retail sales tax

A real free market

A government only as large and intrusive as enumerated in the Constitution without the 16th or 17th amendments

An educated society because government has nothing to do with education. Everyone fails or succeeds on their own merit

My idea of "Utopia".

Which I guess means no government intervention except when enforcing objective laws.
76 posted on 07/27/2007 1:13:24 PM PDT by BabsC
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To: Intolerant in NJ

The yield in ethanol per acre varies form 330 to 440 gallons.


77 posted on 07/27/2007 1:34:17 PM PDT by TexanToTheCore (If it ain't Rugby or Bullriding, it's for girls.........................................)
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To: Mr. Lucky; xcamel

As a farmer who sells feed (high-test alfalfa hay) to California dairies, here’s the secret of what causes milk prices to go up/down the most:

The numbers of fresh cows in milking parlors. Period, end of discussion. Feed prices aren’t the driving factor.

When the dairymen control the number of springers they’re going to bring on-line, they can keep milk prices high.

When the dairymen see high milk prices, they start raising a lot of heifers to add to their lines, and when those heifers drop, then they crater milk prices, usually within three to six months.

It’s the old saying: Show the American farmer a profit, and he’ll rather quickly show you a surplus.

Milk prices have been higher than they are now very recently. Matter of fact, it was only back in 2002/2003 that Class I milk was up at over $19/cwt in the CA market.

The price then promptly crashed downwards to about $10 to $11/cwt for 18 months, because too many dairy farmers expanded cow numbers too fast.

Last summer’s heat wave took out quite a few cows in the southwest, so dairy prices started going back up. The dairy co-ops started encouraging farmers to not replace milkers as they were culled in the last year, so they’ve re-established some profitable price levels for fluid Class I and Class III milk.

The price of the feed going into the TMR rations for milkers is a very small component of any increase in milk prices. Matter of fact, I can tell you what happens when there is an abundance of milk (and low fluid milk prices) and dent corn or corn silage prices go up: hay prices go down, because the dairy farmers try to screw the hay farmers out of pricing power for alfalfa hay as long as there is surplus hay out there.

Only when they got the number of milkers and replacements down to a point where they quit dumping milk at $10/cwt into the market did the price of milk start going up again.

BTW — as the price of corn goes up, you should see what the California dairymen substitute into their TMR’s: beet pulp, pumpkins, silage soybean mush, DDG’s, you name it. It is pretty humorous to watch .... unless you’re a hay farmer.


78 posted on 07/27/2007 1:39:29 PM PDT by NVDave
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To: Tarpon

It is the source of the carbon that is at issue.

When you burn a gallon of crude oil, you’re liberating carbon that had previously been sequestered in the ground.

When you burn a gallon of ethanol or biodiesel, you’re liberating carbon from plant material, that is then re-sequestered in next year’s crop, and then re-liberated, etc, etc.

The point of bio-fuels is that the act of growing the bio-fuel feedstock takes CO2 out of the air and puts it into carbon in the plant matter, only some of which is then harvested and re-released back into the atmosphere.

With oil/natural gas/coal — the carbon is released, never to be completely re-captured.


79 posted on 07/27/2007 1:42:22 PM PDT by NVDave
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To: PJ-Comix

Ethanol production has caused corn based livestock feed to go from $4.00 per 100# a year ago to $8.50 per 100# now. We are seeing this in the cost of meat, eggs, dairy products, anything that uses corn oil, or corn syrup and even canned corn and corn on the cob. Besides that, it’s more expensive than the gasoline that it is supposed to replace.
This has to rank up there with global warming as one of the stupidest things that has ever been perpetrated on the American public.


80 posted on 07/27/2007 1:50:45 PM PDT by BuffaloJack
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To: padre35

OK, what you have not explained is how you think ethanol is of any value in the energy equation, short or long term.

How is ethanol better than millions of barrels of oil? If, as you claim, we (the world) can’t ever produce enough oil to meet demand, then how can enough ethanol be produced to make a difference? Ever? Mathematically and physically that much ethanol simply can’t be made. Not now, not 10 years from now. It’s a pipe dream.

And as I said, fuel for cars is only one part of the petroleum equation in the world’s economy.


81 posted on 07/27/2007 1:53:03 PM PDT by ChildOfThe60s (If you can remember the 60s........you weren't really there)
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To: NVDave
Another thing farmers can substitute for corn is shelter.

Particularly with beef cattle, a little extra corn in the ration has always been an adequate substitute for shelter during the winter. I don't let the girls in the basement yet, but by rearranging their winter pasture and suffering the labor of additional cleaning allows for a significant reduction in their caloric needs.

82 posted on 07/27/2007 2:02:51 PM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: BuffaloJack

At $3.18 per bushel, corn tonight is worth $5.66 per cwt. If you’re paying $8.50, you might wanty to re-think your purchasing strategy.


83 posted on 07/27/2007 2:23:24 PM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: BuffaloJack

Farmers’ received prices for all the things you mention have not kept up with inflation from the 70’s.

The current prices of corn (and on down the line) have not recovered to prices (adjusted for inflation) farmers received in 1973, when we went off the gold standard completely and the oil embargo started causing commodities inflation in earnest.

If we were to give farmers the inflation-adjusted price, per bushel, for dent corn that farmers were receiving in August of 1973, they would be getting just under $14/bu.

What are farmers receiving today, hmmm? I see that the September futures on the CBOT settled today about $3.21.

Less than 25% of what farmers were receiving for their product in 1973, if we adjust the value of the dollar for inflation.

And all you malthusians are running in circles, screaming and shouting about ethanol being a scam and how food prices are going up. Americans spend less of their paycheck, as a percentage, on food that ANY other industrialized society in the world, and you’d still be spending less than any other society if the prices went up by 25%. And you’ve got the balls to sit there, piss whine, moan and bitch about how much farmers are making. It isn’t just corn that has not kept up with inflation, either. Here’ a graph of slaughter steer prices from 1980 to this year. NB how through the 80’s, even as there was double-digit inflation in the early 80’s, cattle prices were cratering.

US farmers have the ability to take a profitable market and produce themselves into a losing market in only a couple of years. Doesn’t matter the commodity — if there is suddenly a big profit in cattle, corn, beans, whatever - you’ll see US farmers suddenly chase those profits and produce themselves into a surplus.

Recently, farmers are finally making a profit in some sectors. And all the American consumer wants to do is piss and whine. You consumers have this expectation that your W-2 wages will continue to adjust upwards to the cost of living increases, but the farmer can just go to hell when it comes time to keep up with the cost of inflation. And make no mistake — farming expenses are going through the roof: steel, oil lubes, rubber tires, equipment prices, diesel fuel prices, taxes, insurance, etc — they’re all going through the roof.

But when the farmer tries to pass those costs through to the consumer? Carping, whining and bitching.

If you look at a graph of of the CRB vs. US Treasury benchmark rates, you’ll see that the CRB finally decoupled from benchmark interest rates in 2002. Commodity cycles are 16 to 20 years long, and after farm commodities peaking in price back in ‘82, and cratering in ‘86 (and again in ‘98), the commodities markets are in their secular bull cycle. Ethanol is in the mix somewhere, but steel prices have nothing to do with corn for ethanol. Copper prices have nothing to do with corn for ethanol. Tire prices have nothing to do with corn for ethanol. Moly, nickel, zinc, lead, silver, gold, etc — all have nothing to do with corn for ethanol. They’re all on a tear upwards, in a bull market. American schlubs working in Cubicle-Land typically have no clue about commodities prices, because they now live lives completely insulated from anything dealing with the real physical world any more as so much manufacturing and “dirty industries” are moved off-shore.

Farmers see all these commodities prices going up, raising their input costs. In 2000, I paid only about $600 for a 18.4x38 tire. Today, it would be $1200, if I could get it.

Want cheap food? Buy your food from China. They’ll always want to be the lowest cost producer. They’ll provide you with all the food you want at the cheapest possible prices.


84 posted on 07/27/2007 2:28:23 PM PDT by NVDave
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To: NVDave

Yeah, thats the tale they tell, the problem is it isn’t true, since it’s only part of the story. There was an article that laid out all the particulars and proved that ethanol was a big loser when it comes to total carbon. They took into account that to handle corrosive alcohols you needed to make things like stainless gas tanks, stainless storage tanks, trucking fuel instead of pipelines, and different materials for hoses, fuel injectors, gas tanks, all adding to the carbon costs.

The land use issues were also considered and proved to be not very positive when you consider the massive amounts of land surface area required by an energy intensive growing process. Imagine the forests which need to be cut down for fields of grain. Net loss of carbon sink.

By the time you added it all up, it was a net negative for ethanol.

The most promising new fuel, as if we need one when we actually need new leadership in Washington to quell the hot air and globull warming BS, was in SITU RF processing of oil shales, and even old wells. The U.S. Green River Formations are said to contain about 800 billion barrels of oil that is recoverable from the oil shale. Using nuclear power for processing the oil shale is the way to go. Reprocessing old oil wells with the RF process is looking good — Makes more oil flow from the rocks.

The funny thing is no one wants to talk about the current “modern maximum” where the sun’s output seems to be nearing a 1000 year high — Especially in the last 50 years. I wonder why that is? Must not fit the socialists template.

We are going to need the CO2 when the next ice age shows up.


85 posted on 07/27/2007 3:13:04 PM PDT by Tarpon
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To: BuffaloJack

Please point this out to Mr Lucky - He seems to be a dairyman who operates on free money and no capital...


86 posted on 07/27/2007 3:23:54 PM PDT by xcamel ("It's Talk Thompson Time!" >> irc://irc.freenode.net/fredthompson)
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To: Mr. Lucky

Oh, by the way...

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1872740/posts


87 posted on 07/27/2007 5:26:21 PM PDT by xcamel ("It's Talk Thompson Time!" >> irc://irc.freenode.net/fredthompson)
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To: TexanToTheCore

Somewhere I had heard fifty - thanks for the correction - even 400 sounds like a not very efficient use of resources......


88 posted on 07/27/2007 8:42:11 PM PDT by Intolerant in NJ
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To: Racer1

If that is not a complaint then just what is? That comment I made is more than suitable for your line of thought.


89 posted on 07/27/2007 8:51:00 PM PDT by jwh_Denver (In the Rise and Fall of United States I hope the Fall part is more than one chapter.)
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To: Tarpon

Look, unless you live in the mountain west, you probably don’t know the real history of “oil shale” the last time they shook down the taxpayers for trying to extract oil from shale.

The oil companies spent a lot of money.... and did nothing with oil shale.

Land use issues by academics and government pinheads mean nothing to me. The land in question isn’t owned by you, the government pinheads or these idiot academics. It is owned by the farmers.

Here’s a whopper of a clue: you don’t get to tell someone else what to do with their private property. If they want to grow nothing, or grow corn, it isn’t your business.


90 posted on 07/27/2007 9:33:38 PM PDT by NVDave
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To: NVDave
Yep, lived in Colorado for quite some time. Used to camp and four wheel out there all the time. Utah, and Wyoming were my favorite destination places. Mostly national forest service land, I might add. The oil shale idea was hot and heavy when I was living there.

Here is a whopper of a clue, don't tell other people what they can and can't drive -- same deal as property rights. Food for fuel, very dumb idea, no matter who owns the land.

91 posted on 07/28/2007 5:34:14 AM PDT by Tarpon
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To: PJ-Comix
I hate ethanol. It drives up the price on MANY things. Notice how much higher the price of milk is lately? Ethanol is the DOPIEST idea ever. Easiest way to get fuel is simply to drill for it.

We have hundreds of years of Western coal to dig up and burn. Bring in the big boys with their big toys like this one


92 posted on 07/28/2007 5:43:34 AM PDT by dennisw
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To: PJ-Comix
But for the Iowa Caucuses and ethanol, the heartland states would be totally ignored.
93 posted on 07/28/2007 5:48:52 AM PDT by reg45
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To: FreedomCalls
It takes more than a gallon of gasoline to produce and deliver a gallon of ethanol to the pump

I think that statement is false - prove it. Furthermore, how much gasoline does it take to produce a gallon of gasoline and deliver it to the pump?

94 posted on 07/28/2007 5:58:38 AM PDT by reg45
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To: Mr. Lucky

It would be fun to drive an Indy car to work!


95 posted on 07/28/2007 6:09:52 AM PDT by reg45
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To: Tarpon
Excellent point. You can also argue that a pound of CO2 produced in China is just as polluting as a pound of CO2 produced in The United States.
96 posted on 07/28/2007 6:18:07 AM PDT by reg45
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To: Tarpon

I don’t want to tell people what they can/can’t drive. Personally, I have less than zero interest playing the part of a nanny-state buttinski. If people want to drive a Hummer — let ‘em do it. Just make sure that they’re the ones paying for it, not the rest of us.

I do, however, have to laugh at people who claim they want high gas mileage, buy silly hybrids, and then turn up their noses at diesel engines which would give them more fuel efficiency overall than they’re going to get from an Otto-cycle engine. Ethanol, mixed with gasoline, could provide the necessary octane boost to increase gasoline engine efficiency by increasing compression ratios. Sadly, only the Japanese seem to be smart enough to do this by shipping Miller cycle engines (Mazda and Toyota).

As for the whole “food for fuel” line of propaganda: I’ve addressed this on another thread. If we go back to pre-WWI days, the amount of land we are currently planting in corn (about 90 million acres) used to be planted to hay fields for horses. In effect, we (the US) have been here before. When there were about 27 million horses in the US, and 23 million of them were used on farms, we “grew fuel with farmland” in the form of hay.

All this screeching about “food for fuel being a stupid idea” is completely ignoring history. Even if we were devoting 100% of the ground planted to corn to ethanol, we’re only just now duplicating the land cropping allocations of 1915. Americans weren’t wanting for food back then, and they’re certainly not wanting for food today. Matter of fact, Americans would be well served by becoming as skinny as they were (on average) in 1915, compared to their rotundness today.


97 posted on 07/28/2007 8:38:07 AM PDT by NVDave
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To: reg45
I was cruising the net a couple of days ago and ran across an Offenhauser engine for sale. Not one of the really old long strokes, but the merely 35 year old short stroke, supercharged version. I can't figure out how to convince Mrs. Lucky that it's just a replacement engine for the generator (or why it cost more than our first house).

As to your post #22, you're correct. Most of the folks who claim corn is so energy intensive to grow don't grow corn and, in any event, the average suburbanite uses more gasoline mowing his yard than a farmer does planting an harvesting a 160 acre corn field (modern farm implements run on diesel, not gasoline).

98 posted on 07/28/2007 9:36:19 AM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: Intolerant in NJ

That actually was a typo. The range is 330 to 440 galssons per acre. Alot.


99 posted on 07/28/2007 8:51:47 PM PDT by TexanToTheCore (If it ain't Rugby or Bullriding, it's for girls.........................................)
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To: jwh_Denver
Those are the facts as I see them. At no time did I recommend that it be governmentally controlled.
100 posted on 07/29/2007 9:17:43 AM PDT by Racer1
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