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A poll conducted by the Clean Fuels Development Coalition over nearly 2,200 people says that 88 percent of adults are of the opinion that the U.S. should pursue alternative fuels to decrease our dependence on foreign oil. Really?? Amazing. More interestingly, 72 percent of adults blame the increase of food costs on the price of oil increasing. My favorite statistic is this: "Other results indicate that nearly eight in 10 adults (78 percent) believe usage of ethanol would lessen the country's dependence on foreign oil." Wow. Not only are we using a substantial survey to state the obvious, but astonishingly 22 percent of those surveyed don't think using ethanol reduces usage of foreign oil. They either don't know what ethanol is or they understand the complicated petro-heavy production process required to make today's corn ethanol.

Anyway, what is important about this survey is that it shows that the majority of Americans are behind the search for and advancement of alternative fuels. That, in turn, should tell our fearless leaders that they have our support to throw more funding at alternative fuel research and production, so we can kick our black gold guzzling addiction cold turkey. Oh, and deepen our national debt to do so.

[Source: Clean Fuels Development Coalition]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      As for biofuel from trash, don't waste our time with vaporware. It might come online, and it MIGHT replace some fraction of our gasoline usage. It depends on how much energy is in the feedstock, and I have not seen convincing evidence that there's enough energy available to make ethanol fuel anything but a niche player.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I can lead a horse to water but i can't make him drink. Follow the link, do the work and find out what's going on out there re ethanol. If you think that ethanol is not viable becasue is requires a few subsidies then you might as well retire your automobile and saddle up your horse because there's not a fuel out there not getting subsidized in some way. Here's an MIT report on "Ethanol from Trash". Do some work on it and report back to me:


      And btw, i said nothing about the "family" farm.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The best available research on the matter - Tilman et al 2007 - makes it clear that you can get a maximum 18 gigajoules of energy per hectare of cellulose ethanol feedstock (switchgrass and cellulosic waste) and 80 Gj/ha from corn.

      When you crunch the numbers for replacing 100% of our gasoline demand with ethanol, you end up needing more land area than exists in the continental US to make it from cellulose. With corn, you would need 31% more arable land than currently exists in the US. And that's growing nothing but corn - no food of any kind, just corn. Clearly, replacing even 50% of our gasoline demand with biofuel, even 25%, is geographically and ecologically not possible. Full stop, it CANNOT BE DONE. There is not enough energy available in those feedstocks to replace anything but an insignificant portion of our gasoline demand. Biofuels cannot make us energy independent.

      Tilman - and others - also make it clear that the greenhouse gas emissions from corn fields (nitrous oxides and carbon from disturbed soil carbon sinks) actually make the greenhouse effect of biofuels MORE severe than just burning fossil fuel. In other words, the intensive agriculture required to create a gallon of "carbon neutral" biofuel releases more greenhouse gas than just burning a gallon of fossil fuel.

      Cellulosic ethanol is a pipe dream. Corn ethanol is a pipe dream. Neither of them represent a true alternative to fossil fuel. As an ecologist specializing in global change, I am fully aware of the shortcomings of a fossil economy - but I am also in a position to recognize the folly of switching to biofuels. Neither represents a true way forward.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I can also supply links that show ethanol production results in a net loss of energy.

      Even the most pro links show only a 30% gain in energy. It takes about a gallon of gas to produce about 1.3 gallons of gas equivalent in ethanol.

      Removing the MASSIVE subsidies would be the way to show if this is anything other than a boondoggle. I think we all know quite well that if you took away the subsidies, there would be no ethanol.

      Corn ethanol consumes 30% more energy than it produces:

      Ethanol takes 6 units of energy to produce 1:

      There are a bunch of studies on each side of the issue, with the most reputable showing in a range of +30% to -30% energy gain. An average of ZERO energy gained. Considering that there are billions spent on subsidies to keep this industry going, I am just a bit more cynical about the net positive numbers.

      Lets take away the subsidies and let the real story emerge on ethanol.

      If you think there is something real to making energy from garbage, by all means lets fund RESEARCH in that area. That is money better spent than on production subsidies.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Advocates of ethanol,
      Do the math yourself using the following sites that are either advocates or neutral to corn ethanol. (Remember also that the energy balance of cellulosic ethanol has not been determined yet and that to break down cellulose and lignin will take substantial energy; corn starch is easier to turn into alcohol)

      Iowa corn yields: iowacorn.org

      Ethanol per bushel yields: National Corn Growers Association

      Energy balance: National Corn Growers Association

      Lower Heating Value for Ethanol and Petroleum equivalence: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

      Gallons of Petroleum Fuels consumed in the US: US Energy Information Administration (DOE)

      Land Area of the US: Anywhere you please

      Calculate the acreage needed to fulfill Petroleum needs...it'll either depress you or confirm your bias.

      • 7 Years Ago
      please, ethanol bashing is basically ignorance. it is a good thing that the farm subsidies have been there all those years, keeping the American farm viable for a time when it is a crucial element in plugging the gap. CORN ETHANOL IS A BRIDGE TECHNOLOGY. wait until companies like these are making ethanol from the cornstalks and every other form of trash from forest floor to farm waste to municipal solid waste:


      • 7 Years Ago
      Pointing out that ethanol is at best a mediocre fuel with marginal (if even positive) energy gain is not "bashing".

      American Agribusiness does not need subsidy, and the "family farm" pretty much disappeared decades ago.

      And if ethanol needs my tax dollars to make it in the marketplace, that constitutes proof that there are better alternatives.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is all basically because "alternative" fuels mean that you don't have to use less fuel. And the last thing that Americans want is to use less of anything.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ethanol is unlikely to have anything beyond a tiny percent blip in oil dependency, given the large amount of petroleum products used to produce it. It also has low energy content and even E85 vehicles are not that efficient at burning it so extract even less energy than is available.

      By the end of that process you are lucky if ethanol is producing any net reduction in petro products.

      What it does do is funnel taxpayer dollars to industrial corn farms. Yipee.