• Jul 7, 2010
The BP oil spill has reminded us that whether we love ethanol or hate it, it's still loads better than crude oil. Or at least that's what the corn ethanol lobbies would have us believe, according to Slate.

With ethanol plants closing left and right, about 1.4 billion gallons of additional distilling capacity under construction, and with the EPA still not giving the green light to E15, the ethanol-is-better-than-oil-spills message is being pushed hard. Matt Hartwig, communications director for the Renewable Fuels Association, sums up the ethanol lobby's main talking point: "The Gulf of Mexico disaster serves as a stark and unfortunate reminder of the need for domestically-produced renewable biofuels."

An upsurge in oil-spill, ethanol-focused advertising slogans may also be a sign of rising lobbying efforts in the nation's capital by the industry. One example seen in a Washington D.C. Metro station that reads, "No beaches have been closed due to ETHANOL spills. ... America's CLEAN fuel," was paid for by Growth Energy, and ethanol industry lobby group.

In a crisis like the oil spill, politics and panic can rule the day. Let's just hope policy makers remember the false promise of corn ethanol before dumping a few billion dollars into resuscitating it. Any of our readers feel like starting an ABG lobbying group on K Street?

[Souce: Slate | Image: r-z – C.C. 2.0]


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  • 51 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      biological ethanol is expensive.. but it does keep the farms humming and productive. The most modern facilities are achieving an EROI of over 2 and use 1 gallon of oil per 20 gallons of ethanol. Costs would drop even further if vehicles could run on wet ethanol.

      Ethanol/Methanol blends made from coal or NG are very inexpensive.. reagent grade methanol is sold in mass quantities for $1 a gallon, fuel grade (other alcohols and water in the mix) could probably be sold for $0.80 a gallon if there was a demand for it. Coal, NG, woody waste or sewage is run thru a gasifier.. the resulting synthesis gas is cleaned up, put thru a catalyst and you end up with a mix of ethanol/methanol alcohols that are very usable as fuels.. quite cheap.

      These fuels will set the upper limit that gasoline will ever reach in the US.. but for that we need a fleet of vehicles that can run on E85 or M85 fuels.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What's the "false promise" of corn ethanol? Why the relentless negativity toward ethanol on the part of ABG? When's the last positive story about it that ABG has published?
      ABG could be picking up stories from sources like this:

      http://www.biofuels-news.com/index.php

      but oh no. We have to troll around and scoop up every tired, frequently refuted myth repeated by every random outlet instead.

      Compare that to the cheery, totally uncritical view of petroleum diesel ABG exhibits. Diesel comes from petroleum, which as the Gulf shows, has major drawbacks just on the extraction side. Not counting the reality of it being far dirtier than ordinary gasoline - with even more soot and sulfur - in millions of engines that aren't the shiny new ones with elaborate filters that try to compensate for petro-diesel's inherent filthiness. And of course, it reinforces the oil cartel's monopoly control over our transportation system and funds various death cults out to kill as many of us as possible.

      Corn ethanol is not only a clean-burning, renewable alternative fuel that doesn't fund the death cult, it's by far the BIGGEST, most important, most used alternative fuel. No wonder the oil cartel hates and fears it, and funds a wall-to-wall FUD campaign against it. Why is ABG making itself useful to the oil cartel in this regard?


        • 4 Years Ago
        If switchgrass ethanol is so obviously great, why is it an also-ran, maybe-someday, research project?
        • 4 Years Ago
        "If switchgrass ethanol is so obviously great, why is it an also-ran, maybe-someday, research project?"

        Big corn AgriBusiness lobby making billions selling patented seeds and support chemicals shoving corn in your face.

        There's little need for genetic manipulation of switchgrass, so no money selling patented seeds, and no need for support pesticides and herbicides. There's no billion dollar business selling seeds and chemicals.

        Switchgrass isn't some 'test' crop, it's been shown in numerous real world multi year tests to outperform corn 2x-3x without support chemicals. There's no shortage of supporting documents on the web.

        Here's just one -

        http://bioenergy.ornl.gov/papers/misc/switgrs.html

        With corn being outperformed by just about any crop. including sugar beets, the only real question is 'Why corn?'
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Why is ABG making itself useful to the oil cartel in this regard?"

        I don't know, why do keep acting like everybody is dismissing ethanol instead of realizing they are dismissing corn ethanol.

        Sustainably produced ethanol from biomass is great. Corn ethanol is ridiculously inefficient and just about the dumbest biomass source you could choose.

        • 4 Years Ago
        E.J., you failed to answer my question. Flex fuel cars don't care what made their ethanol. Ethanol molecules are ethanol molecules. If switchgrass is so great, why doesn't it win in the market? HOW does the eeeevil corn lobby, sitting around its evil conference table in its evil lair, sabotage switchgrass? What does "outperform" mean? In the real world, what matters is price. Is switchgrass cheaper than corn ethanol? If not, why should anyone care about it?
        • 4 Years Ago
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Corn ethanol is not only a clean-burning, renewable alternative fuel that doesn't fund the death cult, it's by far the BIGGEST"

        Ethanol rocks, bring it, use it.

        Corn ethanol is stupid. Plain, generic switchgrass produces 2.5x-3x more ethanol per acre than corn, with no pesticides, no herbicides, less irrigation, and no subsidies.

        Corn only makes sense if you're selling seeds, support chemicals, or getting paid to grow corn.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I always thought it was a great idea to clear cut land to plant corn so we could use millions of gallons of water so that we could process it at plants that require huge amounts of power so that we can convert it into a fuel that produces less 'bang' for the buck.

      Well, not really.

      But I do enjoy having that little road that turns into a green leaf on my Ranger, because then when people ask me what I am actually DOING for the environment I can say that I not only bought an ultra low emission vehicle (go figure, the Ranger with my engine actually is), I can ALSO say that I got a flexible fuel vehicle that runs on gas, or any blend of ethanol up to 85%. Then I give them a steely eyed stare and ask THEM what THEY have done for the environment.

      In this way I win, because a) no one seems to know the emission rating of their vehicle ("what - you didn't even LOOK when you bought that car? Do you use your own club, or someone elses to hit baby seals over the head?") and, no one also knows if their vehicle can run on fuels OTHER than gasoline ("So - I suppose you want children to breath dirty and and drink dirty water, DON'T YOU?").

      To bad I cannot find a gas station to put that stuff in the car, would be fun to actually do that once.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I also, would like to know what the false promise of corn ethanol is. I wasn't aware of any promises. That's a pretty big statement from a so called Green Blog.

      Ethanol certainly is not perfect but, if I had a choice between a fuel from a middle east country and say Iowa. I choose Iowa.

      iirc corn ethanol subsidies are far less than what big oil gets in the form of tax breaks and other subsidies. It would be interested see what would happen to fuel prices and the market if all subsidies were stopped.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The subsidies (about 50¢ per gallon) largely serve to offset the price increase caused by our tariffs on imported ethanol. Without dropping the tariffs or changing any other policies, dropping the subsidy will increase ethanol's retail price beyond competitive levels.

        What we need to do is to make alcohol fuel compatibility a standard feature, like seat belts, in new cars going forward. In a few years the market will be big enough to attract price competition. If we all switch to ethanol, that will be more demand than our farmers can handle and we'll be able to drop our tariffs, and thus our subsidies with them, without hurting our domestic ag sector.

      • 4 Years Ago
      I agree with the comments that all new vehicles should be E85 capable.
      That would encourage ongoing private sector investments in fuels made from non food based biomass as part of the transition from oil to alternatives. It should also allow for a reduction in subsidies.
      Combine E85 with DI turbo engine technology coming online to meet new fuel economy regualtions and you can take advantage of the higher octane and cooler burn to generate more horsepower.
      Message to Ford - The new ecoboost running on E85 would be an entertaining and green powertrain for many of your vehicles... (next gen Mustang, Focus, Fusion)
      Turn your engineers loose on E85 and see what kind of performance boost they can get.
      e85evodude
      • 4 Years Ago
      Long Live the ICE and long live Corn Ethanol!!! Flame away!!!



      Ethanol is great. Call it a gateway fuel. You cant expect people to quit the ICE cold turkey. Putting a quick charge hwy in place now is also dumb. There are just not enough cars on the road to warrant this and there probably wont be enough cars on the road to do this for several years. The best way to do your quick charging hwy is to have hotels foot the bill (not the American public). This way you can go hotel to hotel... I would rather my tax dollars (subsidies) go to a farmer, than a quick charge station that only very few privileged people will ever use before it is either destroyed by vandals or no longer compatible with new cars.

      I am one of those people that converted my car to take advantage of the 105 octane rating of E85. Would I like to see E85 from switchgrass or Algae, or some other crop that yields more go-juice per acre... YES. But until the day comes when it is commercially available from a viable source, I will support our farmers 100%. I prefer to make our farmers richer than big oil people in other countries.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @e85evodude
        Gateway fuels are for addicts. You guys are the disease, my EV is the cure. The ICE is a joke. Humans in the future will laugh at the way you all waist fuel now and push that waist into the atmosphere, 20% efficiency and the rest lost to heat. Then, they will laugh even harder when they learned we actually contemplated using H2 for the light duty fleet.

        Computers took a long time to catch on also. They were just so few and so expensive.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @e85evodude
        Ethanol does NOT cause starvation. Even while ethanol corn production went up several hundred percent in the last ten years, food corn production went UP, not down. Sugarcane ethanol similarly has had no effect on food production. It's oil cartel FUD. Don't be enough of a sucker to let it implant itself in your mind, and don't become a useful tool of our enemies by becoming emotionally invested in defending their myth so that you close your mind to reality.

        Rest assured that regardless of the crop or biomass source used to make ethanol, the oil cartel will come up with some BS scarce story about it that the gullible will swallow and parrot.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @e85evodude
        BEV people don't like corn ethanol because they don't want subsidies going to a worthless cause, that is not only NOT a sustainable alternative to gasoline, its causes deadly global food price increases resulting in mass starvation.

        If they could make cheap ethanol from algae, and do it in a way thats not destructive to the environment and not a giveaway to the oil conglomerates noone would have a problem with that. But we're talking about corn ethanol, and there are many, many problems with that.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @e85evodude
        "Ethanol is great. Call it a gateway fuel."

        The BEV people don't like ethanol because it *is* a gateway fuel.

        It's a gateway to hydrogen fuel cells, and that's what they don't like. If you're using biomass to make ethanol, you've *already* made hydrogen. So, when the ICE demand begins to wane, producers like Coskata are already primed to supply cheap, clean, carbon-neutral H2.

        http://www.coskata.com/process/
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ethanol is a good choice for an oxygenator (replacing the poisonous MTBE), at about a 5% ethanol blend (E10 is overkill).

      But ethanol produced from corn makes a poor fuel - much lower energy content per volume compared to gasoline or diesel, relies on hidden subsidies (much more than 50 cents per gallon), and consumes too much water for long-term sustainability.

      The best solution is to drop all subsidies and allow refiners to purchase fuel-grade ethanol on the world market (most would then come from sugarcane)
      • 4 Years Ago
      I do not like ethanol period. It still uses a ICE which is 20% efficient. Enough said!
      • 4 Years Ago
      The water usage issue comes up a lot with corn ethanol. Most of it based on the assumption that the corn is grown with irrigation. Nearly 90 percent of our total corn crop is grown without irrigation.

      O.k. let's assume it is grown with irrigation and compare it to the oil sands of Canada. Which we know for a fact uses huge amount of water to extract and process the oil. Not to mention the environmental impact of the land. Plus the energy to extract and refine a product that starts out as something similar to asphalt.

      Most of our imports come from Canada, yet the problems with the oil sands get discussed very little.

      Corn ethanol is not going to solve all are fuel problems but, it is a lesser of many evils.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Nope, water use at the ethanol plant itself is not sustainable.

        Has nothing to do with whether or not the corn is irrigated.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Dependence on Big Oil swapped for dependence on Big Agra. Meh...no thanks. I'll fuel my cars of the future with batteries charged with beautiful (and free!) sunshine.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Carney, get off it already. Nobody here supports clearcutting food crops for low quality fuel. 10 of the 22 posts so far are yours. You look like an idiot spamming the thread.
        • 4 Years Ago
        By the way, ethanol advocate David Blume, author of "Alcohol Can Be A Gas!" calls ethanol "liquid sunshine".

        http://www.permaculture.com/
        • 4 Years Ago
        The most important point to make about "liquid sunshine" is that ethanol is made up of only CH3-CH2-OH, please note there is ZERO NITROGEN (as in fossil fuel derived nitrogen rich fertilizer). Sustainable ethanol production does not require added nitrogen. Find the right series of crops and the system simply harvests CO2 and hydrogen from the air and the energy from the sun.
        Will sustainable ethanol production cost more than $3.00 a gallon, yes in the US it will. Is a sustainable locally grown fuel worth 13 cents a mile traveled?
        • 4 Years Ago
        The key phrase in your post is "of the future". After decades of intensive public and private sector research, solar power is still ten times as expensive as other forms of electricity generation. And given the range limits and charging time issues, BEVs are not versatile enough, let alone cheap enough, to replace liquid fuel ICEs yet.

        By comparison, alcohol fuel in fully flex fueled cars has been ready since the early 1990s.

        Corn farmers and peaceful agribusiness are hardly the villains on the world stage that the oil cartel is. Equating them ignores reality. Shifting our fuel purchase dollars from petro-tyrannies to farmers, both in the US and the poor tropics, would do a world of good.
      Alex
      • 4 Years Ago
      I actually like e85... but more for the fact that I have an engine that I plan to build up to take advantage of its equivalent ~105 octane. I have run it through my non-e85 engine (dont worry, it didnt do any damage to the vehicle, everything in the fuel system is stainless steel) and it ran pretty good. Would have run better if I would have advanced my timing, but it did run, and it ran quite well. I plan to try to run it again once I replace the few rubber lines I have with silicone and get a timing light nearby.

      The only problem is that I can only get it in MI, and not in NY where I live for a few months each year.

      Of course, If i could get it to run right all the time, I'd probably run it more. Come on, at $2.30/gallon who wouldn't, especially considering it's octane equates to race fuel if you have the engine.

      and it still uses less energy than hydrogen to produce
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't think mandating that cars have the capability to use a heavily subsidized fuel that people who currently have the capability to use choose not to use will solve anything. It could be argued that current CAFE credits for E85 capability have actually lead to more more gasoline consumption. The majority of ethanol consumption occurs because people are forced to consume it (as RFG). Increasing ethanol availability may increase sales somewhat, but it will not be a make a significant ROI for our heavy levels subsidization.

      It would be better just to take the incremental cost that would be passed on to consumers and place a $130 registration fee on gasoline cars to build up public charging infrastructure(1.3 billion for 10 million cars/year would be enough to place a $20k Nissan quick-charger with $8000 for installation along every mile of ~46,000 miles of Interstate highway in the US). Once quick-charge infrastructure is built, there are no real limitations on EV range. Then use the remaining ethanol subsidies to build further infrastructure, fund smart grid technoligies, fund renewable energy like wind, solar...
        • 4 Years Ago
        lne937s, you do not know what you are talking about.

        "The fact of the matter is that people do not choose to use ethanol despite the subsidization when they have the option to use it."

        Sure they do. That's why E85 pumps exist. If gas stations lost money on them despite the subsidies, there wouldn't be any. The number of E85 stations has exploded from less than 300 to more than 2,100 in the last several years.

        "Low-cost foriegn ethanol is the result of [...] clear cut[ting[ Brazilian rainforests"

        Wrong. Oil cartel falsehood. Sugarcane is not grown in the rainforest area. The roots rot in the damp soil. Instead, it is grown hundreds of miles away, in the grassier areas, the rough equivalent of our Great Plains grain growing region.

        This untruth has become so widespread, and is so frustrating to the Brazilians, that they have actually passed a law banning ethanol cane cultivation in the Amazon basin. Now that's as objectively foolish as Russia banning banana plantations in Siberia, but that kind of shows the lengths to which Brazil has been driven to try to find a PR stunt so the truth can cut through the deafening din of oil cartel lies. Doesn't seem to have worked though - there's no shortage of suckers.
        • 20 Hours Ago
        Carney-

        I was using people to refer to consumers who choose not to use the fuel, rather than retailers who choose to use ethanol credits to help pay for the cost of their gasoline stations.

        How about a counter deal- I'll give you the E85 capability mandate if ALL state and federal ethanol subsidies end immediately. That means farm subsidies for corn used for ethanol, all ethanol production subsidies, point of sale subsidies, blending subsidies, filling station subsidies, R&D subsidies, automaker CAFE credits, etc. Right now ethanol is subsidized heavily at every step of the process. If you want to increase the cost of a new gasoline car by ~$130 by forcing automakers to comply with an E85 capability mandate, fine- makes EV's a better value. Better still, if you want to force consumers to have mandatory 5% unsubsidized ethanol mixed into every gallon, gas prices will go up and mileage will go down, making EV's look like an even better deal...

        Just take away the billions in subsidies that have accumulated over decades and use that money for EV infrastructure.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "The number of E85 stations has exploded from less than 300 to more than 2,100 in the last several years."

        That isn't because they can sell E85 at a profit, It is because gas stations get Federal incentives of $50,000 and, in many states like Kansas, up to $100,000 tax credit for installing the pumps. Many of these tax credits, in addition, can be applied to "mixed" systems- which lets operators pay for part of the cost of station equiptment to sell regular gasoline.

        Ethanol industry lobbyists actually lobbied the US government to make the federal credit apply to mixed systems because (according to ethanol lobbyists):

        "According to ACE, many fuel marketers choose not to install stand-alone E85 pumps because it does not make financial sense for them. This is because a dedicated E85 pump often has a break-even point of more years than the useful life of the pump."

        http://www.ethanolproducer.com/article.jsp?article_id=6199

        That $50K federal credit to install the pump would fully pay for 2 EV quick chargers. The $100k state credit would install 4 more... Basically 6 EV quick chargers could be installed for the incentives on one E85 pump. The federal credits on those 2100 E85 stations would cover 4200 quick chargers- or one for every 2-3 miles of US Interstate Highway (long-distance EV infrastructure solved). State credits could easily build additional public charging stations to cover long commutes.
        • 20 Hours Ago
        You simply ignored what I said as if I had not taken the trouble to write it. Harping on ethanol's status as being subsidized, in an effort to stigmatize it as morally inferior and inherently nonviable, is a mere debating trick, rather than a reflection of reality or a sober and sound energy strategy. I just got through explaining to you that the subsidy is not the result of an inherently uncompetitive status that ethanol has, but is merely an effort to build up a domestic ethanol industry protected from cheaper foreign competition. Were we to allow cheap foreign ethanol in the country now, ethanol would not merely be cheaper by the gallon, it would be at the very least highly competitive, if not cheaper, by the mile or month.

        Furthermore, making cars FULLY flex fueled -- able to run on other alcohol fuels as well, especially methanol which is extremely cheap -- further opens up the market to alternative fuels. After a few years a critical mass of cars on the road would be alcohol compatible, and gas stations would be forced to race each other to switch at least one pump to alcohol to avoid being undercut by their neighbors.

        You seem to think that an absence of public charging stations is the key barrier to EV acceptance. But a charging station that lets you go from empty to full in 8 hours is useless in many if not most real-world instances, and does not reduce range anxiety. It's range anxiety, charging time, up-front price, and sheer unfamiliarity that are the barriers to BEVs.
        • 4 Years Ago
        polo, still smarting from the comprehensive smackdown I gave you over the food vs. fuel myth? You'd think you'd have the grace and honesty to admit you were wrong on that, to build some credibility for anything else you'd have to say. No instead, you're hilariously insisting on a sweeping denunciation of ethanol, as if nothing had happened. Instead of shouting and gesticulating, look down, buddy, you ran out of cliff a while ago.

        For a "sham", ethanol seems pretty physically real to me. It's sold in over 2,100 locations in the US, at competitive prices. Fill up a flex fuel vehicle with it, turn the key and it runs great. It's half of all vehicle fuel used in Brazil. The fact that it benefits agriculture is a feature, not a bug, genius. US and poor tropical farmers could use the money that is now going to the madrassas and the Iranian nuclear program.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I actually only mentioned the subsidization once in the first sentence. The fact of the matter is that people do not choose to use ethanol despite the subsidization when they have the option to use it. Low-cost foriegn ethanol is the result of low-cost labor used to clear cut Brazilian rainforests to plant sugar cane (not very environmentally friendly)- which we can't compete with economically, regardless of scale. Although Methanol has some benefits, it is more energy efficient to use the same gassification process to generate electricity to charge an electric car- and the cheap methanol is made from fossil fuels. Even the cheapest alcohol-based fuel is still more expensive than average electricity.

        Rather than mandating that vehicles be able to use a fuel that has relatively low environmental benefit and has not caught on despite significant government intervention (including fuel subsidies, mixing subsidies, corn subsidies, etc.) doesn't make sense.

        Basically, for less investment, we can build 20-30 min public quick-charge infrastructure for highway travel as well as public slow-charge infrastructure for commuters that can get us off of oil, rather than spending to supplement oil with ethanol.
        • 4 Years Ago
        lne937s, at 3:33pm (7/07/2010) you wrote [my caps], "The fact of the matter is that people do not choose to use ethanol DESPITE THE SUBSIDIZATION [...]"

        I then pointed out the exploding growth of ethanol stations. "If gas stations lost money on them despite the subsidies, there wouldn't be any."

        Your response? Droning on about the subsidies. But your original point was that even with subsidies, ethanol doesn't sell. We've established that it DOES sell, and is growing rapidly. Whether that's solely because of the subsidies is a separate issue, but, when you are disproven, you scamper on to another argument as if the disproving had not happened. It happened. You were disproven. Have the honesty to acknowledge it.

        In any case, we should all consider it a miracle that ethanol sells at all, given that maybe 3% of cars on the road can use it. That's the key barrier. No matter how much you subsidize or encourage a fuel, if only a tiny fraction of cars can use it, your sales prospects are extremely limited.

        That's why if we're serious about getting off gasoline, we should just mandate that all new cars be fully flex-fueled.

        How about a deal. We drop the ethanol subsidies and all other ethanol incentives in 3-4 years (enough time to establish a critical mass of cars) after the establishment of a flex fuel mandate, and then divert that money to whatever boondoggle charging-station scheme you want. Deal?
        • 20 Hours Ago
        polo, some relevant facts which I will repeat although you ignored most of them already:

        1. Haiti's staple grain is rice, not corn. Rice is nowhere made into ethanol in any significant quantity. Therefore, even buying the false premise that increased ethanol production equals less food, that mechanism was and would have been irrelevant to Haiti.

        2. The reason rice prices rose and supplies fell in the timeframe in question was a drought in Australia.

        3. Dwelling on details of the suffering does not prove a point; it's an emotional trick to get back the barriers of rationality and critical thinking. It's as if you kept insistently rubbing everyone's nose in the pathetic image of some starving waif in order to prove your crackpot thesis that his hunger was caused by the Evil Leprechaun King.

        4. Yes, the portion of US grain going to ethanol production has risen to record highs, but the key fact you and the story ignore is that the quantity of food grain did not go down - food corn production went up too. FOOD CORN PRODUCTION WAS ALSO HIGHER. Re-read that as many times as necessary before it gradually seeps into your cranium. Other staple crops such as soybeans also saw their production levels rise.

        5. The economic crisis was caused in no small part by OPEC increasing the price of oil from $10 a barrel in 1999 to $140 a barrel in 2008. That increases the price of everything, including food. The portion of the price of a box of corn flakes coming from energy is much bigger than the actual corn's portion.

        6. The UN and similar institutions are heavily influenced by member states, many of whom are petro-tyrannies gravely threatened by ethanol.

        7. Only half of arable land in the US is farmland, and the majority of that is un cultivated. Production efficiency is relentlessly rising - corn yields are up more than 17% since 2002 alone, and the State of Iowa now produces more than the entire 1940s USA. Fewer people are needed to make even more produce, so young people are forced to leave rural areas to find work. The poor tropics use inefficient methods, when they farm cash crops at all rather than engage in subsistence. In other words, we can hugely expand production for biofuels without reducing food production.

        8. World hunger is not caused by inadequate food supplies (again, there is significant overproduction and slack capacity), but by gross economic mismanagement and corruption; violent conflict; extreme poverty, or brutal repression that keeps the food out.
        • 20 Hours Ago
        lne937s, no deal - the timeline is the dealbreaker. Just dropping the subsidies immediately without either dropping the tariffs or allowing enough time for a critical mass of ethanol compatible cars to appear on the road just destroys the ethanol industry and infrastructure. The subsidies you harp and harp and harp and harp about are tiny compared to what we fork over to OPEC. We spend hundreds of billions each year on artificially high gasoline prices thanks to OPEC production limits. Why don't you focus your ire where it belongs? Why don't you focus on hundreds of billions flowing overseas instead of less than ten billion here at home? Ethanol and electricity don't have to be enemies. The Chevy Volt, at least soon, is a BEV with an ethanol-compatible ICE.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ??...smack down? From what I remember you completely ignored my entire post (which was fully sourced) and instead drew up a straw man and went on a 3 paragraph tangent...but I get it that an corn ethanol shill wouldn't react well to the fact corn ethanol is pushing up global food prices to the point many poorer countries face mass starvation (UN report) or that corn ethanol spiked food prices to the point Haitians were reduced to eating mud pies. In who's world does anyone have to build credibility up with YOU? I'm not the one with a half star next to every single one of my posts.

        Here are the articles showing corn ethanols deadly effects on food prices, causing global starvation.

        U.N. report:

        Global food crisis: biofuels threaten hunger
        Saturday, April 19, 2008 - 10:00
        By Barry Healy & Stuart Munckton

        A food crisis, caused largely by skyrocketing prices, has hit dozens of countries across the Third World, while an April 14 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) argues that increasing production of "agrofuels" (the large-scale production of biofuels, using food crops to create fuels such as ethanol) further threatens the world's poor with hunger.

        An Asia-wide shortage of rice — the region's staple food — has emerged in recent months. The Oryza rice industry website reports a World Bank estimate that around 33 countries face potential social unrest because of rising food and energy prices.

        Two of the top three exporters, India and Vietnam, have stopped selling abroad in order to secure their domestic food supply. The world's largest producer, China, needs its 123 million tonnes for its own population. Now, worrying strains are appearing in Thailand, the remaining major exporter.

        Record prices

        Prices on the global rice market have exploded. Thai rice was selling at US$780-$800 a ton on April 4, up from $100 not long ago. But Oryza stated that most exporters in Thailand were no longer offering supplies because they may fail to meet their commitments.

        ABC Radio National reported on April 7 that the price
        of the low quality subsidised rice sold to the poor in Bangladesh has risen dramatically over recent months. Low income Bangladeshi workers are spending most of their pay on rice and eating only twice a day.

        On the same day, the German JungeWelt newspaper reported that
        conflicting pressures are neutralising the benefits rising prices deliver to Thai farmers. For example, fertilizer prices have shot up 400%.

        Also, accumulated debts from previous poor harvests eat into returns and new sowing requires loans at high interest rates.

        Thai farmers now have to guard their fields against thieves. Thai news media are reporting many farmers in tears, showing their fields stripped bare in the night.

        Some Thai farmers are pushing their production past sustainable limits. Instead of leaving their soil to recover after the harvest they are immediately sowing a fresh crop.

        The Bangkok government has responded to the record high prices by supplying five kilogram packets of rice about 30% cheaper for the poor. However, rice mill owners are rumoured to be hoarding stocks to take advantage of future high prices.

        There are all the signs of a major cost explosion in the near future, threatening massive suffering across all of Asia.
        http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/39360

        The Haiti story:

        Haitians Eat Dirt, Cars Eat Corn Redux
        Posted on: January 26, 2010 9:31 AM, by Sharon Astyk

        A couple of years ago, I wrote a post with the above title, about the way that biofuel and meat production in the US was pushing up world food prices. I observed, as has been documented in any number of studies, that when the world's poorest people and the world's richest people's vehicles (or their pets, to their appetite for grain fed meat) compete for food, the cars, pets and rich folk always eat first - the rich come to the table once for their share of staple grains, then three of or four more times for more grains in the form of meat. We then come to the table again for a share for meat for our pets, and now two or three more times for a share for grain for our cars. Only after we have sated ourselves on meat, our pets have done the same and our cars have sated themselves on biofuels do the world's poor get to come and eat a little grain. Or if the grain is gone, or its price risen out of reach, they fill their bellies with what they can find - the dirt in the title refers to "cookies" made out of clay that Haitian people were eating to quiet their misery because they could not afford enough food to live.

        In 2008, as Aaron Newton and I document in _
        • 4 Years Ago
        -But a charging station that lets you go from empty to full in 8 hours is useless in many if not most real-world instances

        Most people don't fill up their entire gas tank every time they go to the pump you idiot. A 10-20 minute quick charge that gives a 40-80% recharge is fine for "most real-world instances".

        Ethanol is a sham, perpetuated by the agricultural conglomerates. Not a surprise they can afford to pay for their opinions to be shoveled out online by obnoxious shills.
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