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Last Thursday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration released ethanol production for the month of October and, once again, makers of the corn-based fuel set a record high. For October, U.S. production of ethanol shot up to 27,410,000 barrels, beating the 26,061,000 barrels made in September and shattering the previous record of 26,963,000 barrels produced back in August 2010.
Industry analyst Andy Lipow calculates that the amount of ethanol in U.S. gasoline averaged out to 9.5 percent for the month of October. The January-to-October results indicate that ethanol production averaged of 851,300 barrels per day, while consumption of the corn-based fuel came in at 825,700 barrels per day. In stark contrast, gasoline consumption averaged a shocking 9,054,000 barrels per day.

With the Environmental Protection Agency recently approving gasoline with 15 percent ethanol content (E15) for Model Year 2007 and newer vehicles, we suspect that October's record ethanol production numbers will be trumped in the coming months.

[Source: Platts | Image: diaper – C.C. License 2.0]


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  • 43 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      use some friggin' common sense.
      If farm land is used for corn ethanol instead of food - the price of food has to go up.
      very basic law of supply and demand that still works when the gov. doesn't get involved

      OK, so we now import more food from Mexico, Argentina, Thailand, and such and in the short-term we think it is costing us less - so why are we paying more???
      (and this shiitt really scares me - I've seen cantalopes growing out of septic tanks in Mexico - no offense Mexico)

      How about burning down rain forests in Brazil to grow sugar-cane ethanol ?
      How about burning down rain forests in Indonesia to grow palm oil for biodiesel ?

      None of it really makes sense does it ?
      Sorry, your no food for ethanol argument is a loser.

      If we paid the true price for everything - including oil (with military and healthcare factored in), it would all make more sense.

      The free markets will work if given a chance. Mandates, socialism, fascism, and communism will all fail in the long-term.

      You and I definitely agree on one thing - journalism major AlGore is a moron.
      (hey, he's buying ocean-front property in California - go figure) Time to head for the desert ?
        • 1 Month Ago
        Also, nobody is burning down rain forests to grow ethanol. Ethanol DOES NOT GROW IN THE AMAZON.

        In the first place because it can't (the soil is too wet; the roots rot).

        In the second place, because it's illegal to, because the government of Brazil, exasperated at the stubborn persistence of myths in the heads of the misled and deluded like you, banned it. Now that would be like Russia banning banana plantations in Siberia, pointless in practical terms. But that's how hard Brazil is trying to get through the oil cartel smokescreen of FUD.

        If anything, sugarcane ethanol will help reduce deforestation, by removing the incentive to slash / burn / and move on to slash again for subsistence farms, and creating cash crops to earn hard currency, promoting development.
        • 1 Month Ago
        Your assumption is that there's a fixed, low amount of available farmland.

        But as I have repeatedly said to you (in one ear, out the other), only half our arable land is farmland, and less than half of that is cultivated. Furthermore, because of constantly rising efficiency, every year we're producing more and more food, fiber, and feed, with less and less farmers, and with less and less farmland needed to do so.

        Thus, as I have said repeatedly to you (in one ear and out the other), we can massively expand agricultural production for biofuel without affecting food production capacity.

        The proof is in the results. As I have said repeatedly to you (in one ear and out the other), we have dramatically expanded ethanol corn production by several hundred percent. Has food corn production gone down? No, it has gone UP 45%.

        I've used short and simple words. Not sure how else I can communicate these basic concepts.
        • 1 Month Ago
        Russ Finley said, "All arable land in America is being used for something, forests, conservation reserves, crops, whatever"

        Now you're just wildly making stuff up. Plenty of farmland is idle, I see it myself all the time. The fact remains, less than half our farmland is cultivated.

        "The price of farmland has skyrocketed along with the price of corn as ethanol production has ramped up--a function of supply and demand."

        The price of corn could not possibly have gone up as a result of the corn ethanol program, because, once again, food corn production has gone UP 45%, NOT DOWN during the skyrocketing rise of ethanol corn production.

        '...But as I have repeatedly said to you (in one ear, out the other), only half our arable land is farmland, and less than half of that is cultivated. ...'

        "Ah, one small problem. It's not true."

        Yes, it is.

        See this article,

        http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/in-defense-of-biofuels

        And specifically this chart:

        http://www.thenewatlantis.com/imgLib/20080520_DefenseofBiofuelsTableL.gif

        "Efficiency gains are not nearly enough to compensate for the massive increase in ethanol production."

        They can play a big role, along with the other factors I mentioned.

        "the average annual price of a bushel of corn has increased 100% over the decade prior to the 2005 renewable fuels legislation. The only thing that can cause the price of corn to double with record acreage being planted is supply not meeting demand."

        Plenty of factors, most especially the 1,400% rise in oil prices from 1999-2008 that caused prices throughout the economy to rise, explain that. Energy is a bigger factor in the price of a box of Corn Flakes than the corn itself.

        In the big picture, growth and development make land more valuable, not less, and incentivize farmers to make the most of their land and treat it well. It also in general increases tax revenues and strengthens the rule of law and better enables enforcement of conservation laws. Finally, yes, enabling desperately poor subsistence farmers to join modernity by farming a cash crop will cut hunger. To the extent that corn ethanol helps bring us to an alcohol fuel future and away from the present subjugation to the oil cartel's interests, then yes corn ethanol helps solve hunger. As previously established, it sure doesn't hurt.
        • 1 Month Ago
        "...Your assumption is that there's a fixed, low amount of available farmland. ..."

        Which happens to be true. All arable land in America is being used for something, forests, conservation reserves, crops, whatever

        The price of farmland has skyrocketed along with the price of corn as ethanol production has ramped up--a function of supply and demand.

        "...But as I have repeatedly said to you (in one ear, out the other), only half our arable land is farmland, and less than half of that is cultivated. ..."

        Ah, one small problem. It's not true.

        "...Furthermore, because of constantly rising efficiency, every year we're producing more and more food, fiber, and feed, with less and less farmers, and with less and less farmland needed to do so...."

        Efficiency gains are not nearly enough to compensate for the massive increase in ethanol production.

        "...Thus, as I have said repeatedly to you (in one ear and out the other), we can massively expand agricultural production for biofuel without affecting food production capacity.n The proof is in the results. As I have said repeatedly to you (in one ear and out the other), we have dramatically expanded ethanol corn production by several hundred percent. Has food corn production gone down? No, it has gone UP 45%...."

        None of that is true. The proof is the fact that the average annual price of a bushel of corn has increased 100% over the decade prior to the 2005 renewable fuels legislation. The only thing that can cause the price of corn to double with record acreage being planted is supply not meeting demand.

        "...Also, nobody is burning down rain forests to grow ethanol. Ethanol DOES NOT GROW IN THE AMAZON...."

        However, it does grow in Brazil's Atlantic Rainforests and Cerrado grasslands:

        "Brazil fines 24 ethanol producers for illegal forest clearing"

        http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0701-brazil.html

        "Biofuels driving destruction of Brazilian cerrado"

        http://news.mongabay.com/2007/0821-cerrado.html

        "...If anything, sugarcane ethanol will help reduce deforestation, ..."

        Riiiight, like corn ethanol actually lowers the price of food. ....

      • 4 Years Ago
      We got that 9.5 % estimate beat in Minnesota, where all blends of gasoline are E10, and where we sell a lot of higher-blend E85, E50, E30, ect. for the vehicles that can use it. Also, all our #2 diesel is contains a 5% (B5) biodiesel blend.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Bob,

        Just so you are aware, an "E10" sticker on a pump actually doesn't ensure that you are getting exactly 10% ethanol. According to gov't regs, the E10 sticker just indicates that UP TO 10% of what you are pumping could be ethanol. How much ethanol is actually in your E10 is up to your local blender. E5, E7 and E8 used to be fairly common in past years at an E10 marked pump. Again, it's up to the blender. Most of the time even the gas station doesn't know exactly what they have.

        Just an interesting FYI.
      • 4 Years Ago
      and you can expect our food prices to go even higher
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ditto to what Nixon said.

        Take off the blinders. Ethanol is no where near as evil as so very many people want it to be.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If you graph food commodity prices against ethanol production, you will find there is no correlation between the two.

        Now it you graph food commodity prices against other market-traded commodities like gasoline and oil, you will find a very high correlation.

        But in your tiny mind, I suspect you will never figure out what that means and will continue to whine about something that has been proven false over and over anyways. Carry on with your ignorance.

      • 4 Years Ago
      http://www.tinygreenbubble.com/green-energy/item/1303-disarming-the-food-to-fuel-conflict-part-2-the-misinformation-campaign

      Looks like ol' Russ is a busy guy...Maybe he is getting paid by BIG OIL to slam ethanol. Amazing what an industry will do to deter a challenger.
        • 1 Month Ago
        Looks like ol' Carney and JD are busy guys...Maybe they is getting paid by BIG BIOFUEL to slam oil. Amazing what an industry will do to deter a challenger ...eyes rolling.

      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm just soooo happy that all this ethanol is FINALLY having an effect on gas prices. They promised in 2-3 years we'd see lower prices and more ethanol available.

      THEY WERE RIGHT! Gas in my town hit a new high today, $2.99. We are on our way to ending our reliance on foreign oil AND creating green jobs.

      Thanks ADM! Thanks obama!

      (Can someone put an end to this madness please? You people should be rioting and nobody cares. Amazing how passive Americans have become.)
        • 1 Month Ago
        "...It's been lowering the price of Gasoline for several years know. The last report I saw was 10-20 cents less back when Gasoline was cheaper. ..."

        This is the internet. With all due respect, there really is no excuse not to link to sources to back up claims. Following is a report suggesting that ethanol has done nothing to reduce imports. One hypothesis is that because the oil companies admitted that they were using part of the blending subsidy to lower gas prices, people bought more gas. Citizens paid less at the pump but that was a chimera because they paid the difference with the subsidy with their tax returns:

        http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/2009/10/14/ethanol-and-petroleum-imports/

        "...The price of Corn has only benefited rural farm communities. ..."

        No doubt. Just as welfare is beneficial to poor urban communities. Why do rural communities deserve our charity (transfer of wealth) more than others?

        "...While it does increase the price for feed, the effect of competition with Gasoline has a positive effect overall. ..."

        Ethanol does not compete with gasoline. For that to happen you need a real market based on consumer demand. It is blended into our fuel supply by government fiat under penalty of law. The congressional budget office just calcualted that ethanol is costing an extra $1.78 per gallon on top of the pump price.

        "...And don't forget that the price of Oil is extremely high and Ethanol doesn't have any measurable effect, that I am aware of, on crude Oil prices especially with the blender's credit still intact. ..."

        Correct. It has no impact on crude oil prices.

        "...And Russ, reversing an argument is an ineffective method, you actually have to add something to make it anymore than parroting. ..."

        Reversing an argument (parroting it) is a very effective and perfectly legitimate debate method when the argument being reversed is based on unsubstantiated innuendo. It highlights that fact to the originator and prevents them from using it again. And note that I've added a great deal more to this discussion than yourself, or anyone else for that matter.

        It's amusing to see commenters insisting that their debate opponents must be working for big oil while simultaneously denying that they are not working for big biofuel. It's pretty obvious that nobody on this thread is working for either.

        "...Although personal attacks are unwarranted anyway. ..."

        Come again? I've seen nothing here that would qualify as a personal attack, unless you are referring to these comments by Carney:

        "...As I have said repeatedly to you (in one ear and out the other) ... You whine and whine and whine about ethanol subsidies ... you are in the pay of our enemies in the oil cartel..."

        You continue:

        "...The Pro-Ethanol lobby is minuscule compared to the Oil industry. And consider this as well, I've seen only one Pro-Ethanol group that could place a TV ad (and a low budget ad on Fox news no less) and I've seen TV ads from most of the largest Oil companies, with at least a dozen for BP and Shell alone, I'd say your fear is gravely misplaced. ..."

        Next time you see one of those ads by those oil companies note that they don't knock biofuels. In fact, most of those companies are some of the biggest biofuel producers on the planet. If biofuels ever become profitable, they will own all production of it.

        Maybe you missed the ethanol ad blitz:

        Corn Ethanol Propaganda Blitz Backfires: http://biodiversivist.blogspot.com/2010/04/corn-ethanol-propaganda-blitz-backfires.html

        "...Plus Carny is a big Alcohol supporter not a Corn Lobbyist. He wouldn't qualify as a propagandist anyway with his views. ..."

        Oh, I've been debating Carney for years. I'm well aware of his enthusiasm and it's obvious that he is not a corn lobbyist, never claimed he was. And I never said he was a propagandist. A propagandist creates new innovative ideas to fool people with. Carney is a propaganda victim, buying into everything pro-ethanol, and parroting what he has read over and over and over no matter how often it gets debunked (like the prohibition conspiracy). But that is what debate is about. Debate partners are not expected to cede. Debate is to inform an audience.

        "...Do you really trust Foreign Oil companies over Domestic companies like ADM, Poet, etc? ..."

        That's a strawman. I never said such a thing. Please, all companies are after profit, first and foremo
        • 1 Month Ago
        It's been lowering the price of Gasoline for several years know. The last report I saw was 10-20 cents less back when Gasoline was cheaper. The price of Corn has only benefited rural farm communities. While it does increase the price for feed, the effect of competition with Gasoline has a positive effect overall. And don't forget that the price of Oil is extremely high and Ethanol doesn't have any measurable effect, that I am aware of, on crude Oil prices especially with the blender's credit still intact.

        And Russ, reversing an argument is an ineffective method, you actually have to add something to make it anymore than parroting. Although personal attacks are unwarranted anyway. The Pro-Ethanol lobby is minuscule compared to the Oil industry. And consider this as well, I've seen only one Pro-Ethanol group that could place a TV ad (and a low budget ad on Fox news no less) and I've seen TV ads from most of the largest Oil companies, with at least a dozen for BP and Shell alone, I'd say your fear is gravely misplaced.

        Plus Carny is a big Alcohol supporter not a Corn Lobbyist. He wouldn't qualify as a propagandist anyway with his views.

        Do you really trust Foreign Oil companies over Domestic companies like ADM, Poet, etc? Over twice our Oil is Foreign based! That is criminal! That is Oil that could be used to industrialize other countries while we transition either to a super-efficient energy economy with more of our energy coming from renewable sources.

        Not going to sit here and dissolve all of your smoke screen comments Russ but OPEC does in fact control a large part of the Oil reserves and meets regularly to discuss Oil shipments/production limits. Non-OPEC countries sell Oil as fast as they can ship it whereas OPEC limits production to keep prices artificially high. When the price of Oil skyrocketed and demand started to drop, OPEC increased shipments of Oil to ease prices and keep Oil demand up. Very well known facts, you shouldn't be arguing otherwise.

        And sadly there is a need for more FFV fuel sippers. The most fuel efficient FlexFuel engine is GM's 2.4 liter Ecotec and given that it's the base engine in several midsize cars it's not very efficient. Although it's been said that Ethanol has a bigger positive effect in a guzzler than in a small, efficient car.

        Heck even the Prius would make a good Flexfuel car. The engine is high compression but detuned to be efficient on low grade gasoline. If it was tuned for E85 it would make more than enough power in the old 1.5 liter to negate the need to increase the engine size to the current 1.8 liters and if you only cared about saving money or the most MPG then regular Gasoline would still work as it already does. This is based on a study where they slowly increased the mixture of ethanol with gasoline until it was E85 and then measured the power which was significantly improved. It's well known in the hotrodding and the tuning community that E85 is comparable to C16 racing gasoline. The biggest lack is of E85 pumps and cars designed for it not just tolerant of ethanol. And to make matters worse FFVs are still model limited to certain engines. If our engines were FFVs from the factory at the very least we could get aftermarket tunes for E85 to improve the performance/economy.

        I think the big point that big autos miss is that people who support Ethanol aren't just the people with big trucks that like to guzzle gas but also those who would rather the fuel they did use be one of their choosing available in the car with the engine they want. I believe that Ethanol is better overall than Gasoline and to get the benefits of the second generation of Ethanol you need to support the inefficient first generation. Ethanol has been made almost entirely from grains for thousands of years. In a way, Ethanol is still in it's first generation as a modern fuel source. You have to support the first generation enough to reach the second generation and beyond.

        I say hooray for Ethanol! Almost to 10%! And before the 10th anniversary of the reintroduction of Ethanol to the market if I might add.
        • 1 Month Ago
        Russ Finley said, "Ethanol does not compete with gasoline. For that to happen you need a real market based on consumer demand."

        Why not open up that market? Let drivers choose ethanol or gasoline? Right now, unless they unwittingly buy one of the few FFVs on the market, they don't have that choice.

        "Correct. It has no impact on crude oil prices."

        Actually, the Wall Street Journal in 2008 published a Merril Lynch report showing that biofuel lowered crude prices by 15%.

        http://www1.eere.energy.gov/cleancities/toolbox/pdfs/biofuels_response.pdf

        No wonder Hugo Chavez rails against ethanol, calling it a "crime".

        " I've seen nothing here that would qualify as a personal attack, unless you are referring to these comments by Carney:"

        '...As I have said repeatedly to you (in one ear and out the other) ... You whine and whine and whine about ethanol subsidies ... you are in the pay of our enemies in the oil cartel...'

        The first is a perfectly legitimate pointing out that EVNerd constantly acts as if facts I posted directly to him do not were not posted and do not exist, and constantly repeats a given myth I refuted. If someone ignores facts, I'll call him on it.

        The second may be strong, but points to the bizarrely disproportionate level of attention paid to ethanol subsidies in comparison with the far greater price we must pay for oil as a result of foreign government intervention. Again, oil was $10 a barrel in 1999, $140 a barrel in 2008, meaning we paid hundreds of billions in extra costs for oil, compared to single digit billions for all pro-ethanol intervention.

        Third was taken out of context. I did not directly accuse anyone of being in the pay of the oil cartel. Instead, I made a rhetorical point that stubbornly refusing to accept the facts is evidence of intellectual dishonesty.

        "Next time you see one of those ads by those oil companies note that they don't knock biofuels. In fact, most of those companies are some of the biggest biofuel producers on the planet. If biofuels ever become profitable, they will own all production of it."

        Most of that is true; although I'd dispute the final clause. In any case, it's one reason why the oil companies are not the real problem, not the real enemy. OPEC is.

        "Carney is a propaganda victim, buying into everything pro-ethanol, and parroting what he has read over and over and over no matter how often it gets debunked (like the prohibition conspiracy)."

        I have seen no debunking of the idea that Rockefeller and Prohibition played a major role in gasoline's win oven ethanol. Care to offer one?

        In any case, I have merely offered this idea for consideration, not affirmed it.

        "It isn't that oil imports are good. It is that corn ethanol is worse."

        Worse than oil?

        Ethanol's only real, legitimate downsides are that it costs more than gasoline on a per-mile basis, and that it provides fewer miles per gallon. But in context, that's nothing.

        Corn ethanol doesn't foul the air of major cities like L.A. and Houston (and can't because ethanol burns without smoke). Doesn't contribute to acid rain. Can't cause lasting major spills like oil, because it dissolves away into the hydrosphere and is "edible" by naturally occurring bacteria.

        Ethanol hasn't played a major role in causing three economic crashes (1973, 1979, 2008). Doesn't prop up some of the world's worst governments. Doesn't spread violent extremism. Doesn't fund WMD programs in countries such as Iran and Libya. And doesn't fund terrorism.

        Claiming ethanol is worse than gasoline is just astonishingly, stubbornly blind to obvious realities.

        "We could simply use much less liquid fuel for transport."
        "I'm all for using less oil."

        Conservation and fuel economy are irrelevant.

        In the first place, increased fuel efficiency does not, on an overall and net basis, result in less fuel consumption, because of population growth, economic growth, and human nature (people drive more if they can). All your bragging about you being all special and different, and how you've cut back is irrelevant to that big picture reality.

        In the second place, even if somehow we reduced fuel consumption, OPEC could just neatly cut production to match, increasing the per-unit price of oil, and making just as much as before on reduced sales volume. More importantly from a micro perspective, the individual driver would also be spending just as much as before despite using less oil.

        Conservation and fuel economy are the Left's equiv
      • 4 Years Ago
      Carney obviously works for the ethanol lobby, or somehow makes $ from it.

      I'm for free choice.
      Have ethanol available at the pump like engine cleaner.
      Pay the full (un-subsidized) price. - -
      If you still want it (10%, 15%, or 85%). HAVE AT IT. You can have my allotment..

      The ethanol lobby and producers can then spend money on commercials convincing us how it is good for us, makes $$$ sense, etc.
      That's how a free-market, non-MORON mandated product is sold.
        • 1 Month Ago
        How do you propose to "make ethanol available at the pump"?

        Why would a gas station owner, with four pumps switch one to alcohol fuel?

        That's 25% of his gasoline sales gone, when far fewer than 25% of cars on the road are flex fueled.

        Thus, some incentive is needed, or you need to make sure that ALL CARS ARE FLEX FUELED. Easiest way to get the latter done is to mandate that all new cars from now on be flex fueled, and let the old gasoline-only cars get slowly become a thing of the past, or a handful of hobby/nostalgia machines, like leaded gasoline antiques today.

        You whine and whine and whine about ethanol subsidies, but are conspicuously silent about the FAR LARGER cost to you, me, and all taxpayers of securing oil supplies, or denying them to various extremist groups. And of the equivalent enormous cost of paying the GOVERNMENT MANIPULATED high cost of oil, high because foreign state-socialist tyrannies restrict production below market demand. There is no rational explanation for this disparity of concern on your part, other than:

        1) you are irrational and make your decisions based solely on prior bias, and dig yourself in deeper when confronted by overwhelming contrary evidence rather than suffer the momentary pang of admitting you have been proved wrong (look up "confirmation bias")

        2) you are in the pay of our enemies in the oil cartel.

        Which is it?
        • 1 Month Ago
        I DO NOT WORK FOR THE ETHANOL LOBBY.

        I am often highly crtical of the ethanol lobby for foolish tactics like pushing for E15 instead of a flex fuel mandate. I am also a supporter of methanol, and of imported sugarcane ethanol, both of which the ethanol lobby would like you to forget about.

        EVGene knows this, yet repeats his accusations. Showing his lack of good faith.

        I defend ethanol, including corn ethanol, from the bum rap it gets by Malthusians and those bamboozled by oil cartel propaganda, as I once was.

        What I am is a concerned citizen who did a dangerous thing. I read a book.

        Read "Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil" by rocket scientist and nuclear engineer Dr. Robert Zubrin.

        Or see his talk to Google at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLRuGUPkyh4

        Also worthwhile "Turning Oil Into Salt: Energy Independence Through Fuel Choice" by Gal Luft and Anne Korin. And "The Methanol Economy".
        • 1 Month Ago
        "Carney obviously works for the ethanol lobby, or somehow makes $ from it."

        Oh please. I could just as easily claim you work for the oil lobby. In fact, it boggles me that anti-oil environmentalists are the ones that are the most anti-ethanol. I recognize ethanol's faults, but the hatred for it is largely unfounded.

        Yea Carney may be overzealous, but no more than the anti-ethanol posters and he's better educated on the topic.
        • 1 Month Ago
        I said, '...Easiest way to get the latter done is to mandate that all new cars from now on be flex fueled...'

        Russ Finley responded, "Government command and control of the market is what brought the USSR down. I don't think we need to follow them there."

        OPEC has far more government command and control of our fuel market today than anything I'm advocating the US government having. Why not direct your ire thence?

        Accusing me of Communist sympathies for advocating a tiny regulation that costs the government nothing, costs automakers $130 per car, and costs the US less than we spent in 5 hours for foreign oil in 2008, is as ridiculous as the Left shrieking about Hitler in any discussion about tightening measures against illegal immigration or terrorist suspects. There's a lot of room within a basically free-market, politically free society before you remotely approach totalitarian tyranny. Let's talk about the actual policies we're discussing instead of irrelevant boogeymen.

        If you really want to be a zealot, we can strike some other regulation from the books, such as Liddy Dole's center-rear tail light, in exchange for the flex fuel mandate, to ensure no net growth of Big Government. But why quibble? By de-funding petro-tyrannies, we will be striking a big net blow for human liberty.

        "It's a well established and easily verifiable fact that corn ethanol can only meet a fraction of our gasoline use. We pay to have 300 million flex fuel gas hogs and only 15% of our fuel supply can be corn ethanol?"

        I've never claimed that corn ethanol can do the job alone, just that it can do a lot more than it is now, and that it gets a bum rap from an unholy left-right coalition of extreme greens and free-market zealots misled by corrupt oil-funded think tanks.

        Ethanol plus methanol made any number of ways, are the way to break the oil cartel monopoly.

        "And what if a biodiesel turns out to be the winner of the biofuel competition instead of ethanol?"

        I also support requiring that any petro-diesel vehicle be able to run on biodiesel, as provided for in the proposed Open Fuel Standards Act. The diesel fuel I personally favor more than biodiesel, however, is Di Methyl Ether (DME), which is made from methanol, which in turn has a far broader resource base than biodiesel.

        '...You whine and whine and whine about ethanol subsidies, but are conspicuously silent about the FAR LARGER cost to you, me, and all taxpayers of securing oil supplies, or denying them to various extremist groups. ...'

        "Corn ethanol will not stop the funding of extremist groups. Sure didn't stop the Oklahoma bomber."

        That's not an actual response to the point I made. Which is, again, that we spend far more on oil itself, and also on securing oil and denying it to open enemies, than we spend on subsidizing ethanol.

        Besides, you set an impossible bar of perfect success in all cases before you support any policy on anything? You know that's ridiculously unreasonable. The reasonable standard is, will it make a difference. And of course it will. With oil no longer having a monopoly, the cartel will no longer be able to charge monopoly prices and use the artificially high revenue to prop up extremist governments ad movements.

        According to a Merrill Lynch report published in the Wall Street Journal, biofuels, crippled in their effectiveness as they are by the fact that most cars cannot use them, helped blunt the brutal 2008 oil price spike, as bad as that was, by 15%, saving the US $90 billion and reducing OPEC revenues by $180 billion. Imagine what they can do we set them free by making sure cars can actually use them.

        '...And of the equivalent enormous cost of paying the GOVERNMENT MANIPULATED high cost of oil, high because foreign state-socialist tyrannies restrict production below market demand....'

        "Again, that's not true and if it were, corn ethanol obviously has had no impact."

        Yes it is. We spend hundreds of billions extra on oil than we would if there were a free market in it. Our total interventions on behalf of ethanol, including tax breaks, is well under $10 billion.

        Your outrage is thus obviously misplaced, but just as obviously this incongruity has never occurred to you. Try thinking for yourself. It's really OK.

        More broadly, divorce yourself from the notion that oil is somehow American or free market. It isn't. It's permanently dominated by hostile foreigners, and its market is permanently controlled by state-socialist government-sector entities.
        • 1 Month Ago
        "...Easiest way to get the latter done is to mandate that all new cars from now on be flex fueled..."

        Government command and control of the market is what brought the USSR down. I don't think we need to follow them there. It's a well established and easily verifiable fact that corn ethanol can only meet a fraction of our gasoline use. We pay to have 300 million flex fuel gas hogs and only 15% of our fuel supply can be corn ethanol? And what if a biodiesel turns out to be the winner of the biofuel competition instead of ethanol?

        "...You whine and whine and whine about ethanol subsidies, but are conspicuously silent about the FAR LARGER cost to you, me, and all taxpayers of securing oil supplies, or denying them to various extremist groups. ..."

        Corn ethanol will not stop the funding of extremist groups. Sure didn't stop the Oklahoma bomber.

        "...And of the equivalent enormous cost of paying the GOVERNMENT MANIPULATED high cost of oil, high because foreign state-socialist tyrannies restrict production below market demand...."

        Again, that's not true and if it were, corn ethanol obviously has had no impact.

        There is no rational explanation for this disparity of concern on your part, other than:

        1) you are irrational and make your decisions based solely on prior bias, and dig yourself in deeper when confronted by overwhelming contrary evidence rather than suffer the momentary pang of admitting you have been proved wrong (look up "confirmation bias")

        2) you are in the pay of our enemies in big biofuel.

        Which is it?
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Congressional Budget Office recently calculated that corn ethanol is costing consumers $1.78 per gallon on top of what they pay at the pump.

        • 4 Years Ago
        The price of oil is set by OPEC. There is no free market in oil, because the supply level is set by OPEC. OPEC looks at the demand, decides what it wants the price to be, then sets production levels accordingly.

        The increase in the price of oil from 1999 to 2008 was economically catastrophic for the whole world, including us.

        ---

        In 1999 we spent $80 billion on oil (foreign and domestic). In 2008 we spent around $1 trillion on oil (foreign and domestic combined). Divide a trillion by our 300 million population, you get $3,300 a person, man, woman and child, working or not. $13,000 for a family of four. The average family makes $45,000, $35K after taxes, so you're suddenly talking about a third of a family's disposable income going for oil, up from a mere 3% in 1999, and all of a sudden it's a mystery why people couldn't buy cars and houses any more?

        --

        In 1972, we spent $4 billion for oil imports alone, equal to about 4 1/2% of our defense budget for that year.

        In 1999 we spent $40 billion for oil imports, equal to 15% of our defense budget.

        In 2007 we spent $342 billion for oil imports, equal to almost 70% of our defense budget.

        In 2008, we spent $650 billion on oil imports, equal to 130% of our defense budget. Half of that went directly to the enemy, dwarfing what we were spending on Iraq and Afghanistan combined. We funded the enemy more than ourselves!

        ---

        Wake. UP!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Did it also estimate how much more customers are paying for oil than they would be if it were not for government intervention - by the foreign state-socialist petro-tyrannies of OPEC? Here's a hint: oil cost $10 a barrel in 1999, and $140 a barrel in 2008.

        Did it also estimate how much it costs us to fight oil-funded extremists?
        • 4 Years Ago
        "....The price of oil is set by OPEC. There is no free market in oil, because the supply level is set by OPEC. OPEC looks at the demand, decides what it wants the price to be, then sets production levels accordingly...."

        That's not true, and note that corn ethanol would not change anything if it were true.

        "....The increase in the price of oil from 1999 to 2008 was economically catastrophic for the whole world, including us...."

        Note that corn ethanol did not prevent this increase.

        "....In 1999 we spent $80 billion on oil (foreign and domestic). In 2008 we spent around $1 trillion on oil (foreign and domestic combined). Divide a trillion by our 300 million population, you get $3,300 a person, man, woman and child, working or not. $13,000 for a family of four. The average family makes $45,000, $35K after taxes, so you're suddenly talking about a third of a family's disposable income going for oil, up from a mere 3% in 1999, and all of a sudden it's a mystery why people couldn't buy cars and houses any more?..."

        Assuming anything you said is accurate, note that the existence of corn ethanol did not prevent it.

        "...In 1972, we spent $4 billion for oil imports alone, equal to about 4 1/2% of our defense budget for that year. ...In 1999 we spent $40 billion for oil imports, equal to 15% of our defense budget. ...In 2007 we spent $342 billion for oil imports, equal to almost 70% of our defense budget...."

        Assuming anything above is accurate, note that these increases correlated with an increase in corn ethanol production.

        "...In 2008, we spent $650 billion on oil imports, equal to 130% of our defense budget. ..."

        Note again that this increase in spending correlated with an increase in corn ethanol production. Does this mean that the more corn ethanol we produce the more we spend for oil?

        "...Half of that went directly to the enemy, dwarfing what we were spending on Iraq and Afghanistan combined. We funded the enemy more than ourselves!..."

        The enemy? Your xenophobia is flaring up again. Saudi Arabia is our military ally. They lease us land for military air bases. They paid for half of the first Gulf War. They are one of our biggest trading partners. The oil they have is oil American citizens apparently want.
        • 4 Years Ago
        '....The price of oil is set by OPEC. There is no free market in oil, because the supply level is set by OPEC. OPEC looks at the demand, decides what it wants the price to be, then sets production levels accordingly....'

        "That's not true."

        It's a basic fact of world geopolitics. Your posting three words on the Internet does not alter reality, which continues to exist in utter indifference to your preferences and opinions.

        '....The increase in the price of oil from 1999 to 2008 was economically catastrophic for the whole world, including us....'

        "Note that corn ethanol did not prevent this increase."

        How could it, when most cars can't use ethanol. You should therefore be the biggest advocate for a flex fuel mandate.

        However, ethanol helped mitigate the damage. As I have noted elsewhere, biofuels kept oil from rising even higher in 2008, by 15%, saving the US around $90 billion. An impressive achievement considering the extremely limited ethanol capability in our auto fleet.

        http://www1.eere.energy.gov/cleancities/toolbox/pdfs/biofuels_response.pdf

        '...Half of that went directly to the enemy, dwarfing what we were spending on Iraq and Afghanistan combined. We funded the enemy more than ourselves!...'

        "The enemy? Your xenophobia is flaring up again. Saudi Arabia is our military ally. They lease us land for military air bases. They paid for half of the first Gulf War. They are one of our biggest trading partners. The oil they have is oil American citizens apparently want."

        Your naïveté is flaring up again. The Saudis have played a double game for a long time. Yes they make nice in public and in meetings. Yes they enjoy our money, and sometimes pay us when we fight their local rivals.

        Do not let their current wealth and prominence blind you to their extremism. The Saudi government and al Qaeda disagree on little more than who exactly should be in charge. They believe and spread an ideology that posits that all those not in their sect deserve, not merely second-class citizenship status, but death.

        That's how Wahhabism differs from classical, orthodox Islam. The latter holds that monotheists, such as Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians, merit a certain tolerance as long as they pay a tax and accept some restrictions. But Wahhabism redefines all non-Muslims as "polytheists" - in fact it even does so to other Muslims such as Shi'ites and EVEN does so to non-Wahhabi Sunnis.

        That's why the Ottoman Sultan (and Caliph of Islam) declared Wahhabism heretical, and had the senior Wahhabi cleric and the Saudi monarch seized and beheaded, denied an Islamic burial, and ordered prayers of thanksgiving said throughout the Empire for the defeat of the "enemies of Islam." (The military campaign to accomplish that was launched from Ottoman Egypt on September 11, 1818.) The Saudis and their Wahhabi sect were a fringe, poor, desert phenomenon.

        The rough equivalent of the impact of oil in reversing this situation would be as if the neo-Nazi Christian Identity Movement had gotten the lion's share of the world's oil and eclipsed the Vatican in influence.

        It's common knowledge that Saudi-funded madrassas are what have driven Pakistan into extremism, that Saudi sources continue to be major funders al Qaeda and similar terrorist groups, etc. Did you really need Wikileaks to wake you up to that?
        • 4 Years Ago
        The answer to your question, Carney, is yes they did account for that. The price of oil is set by the global market, not by OPEC.

        And yes they also accounted for how much it costs us to fight oil-funded extremists, which is next to nothing. Our military presence in the Middle East is a necessary evil to stabilize the region. Corn ethanol has had no impact whatsoever on our military budget.
      • 4 Years Ago
      shouldn't there be a limit on these posts ?
      Keep it short and to the point fellas.

      ETHANOL SUCKS
      • 4 Years Ago
      Few people complain about the many OTHER non fuel products produced by edible biomass, such as cornstarch based foot powder, corn-based biodegradable plastics, or the many soy-based products. Interesting that only the oil cartel's well-funded PR campaign has managed to create so much FUD about a supposed conflict between food and fuel.

      Food vs. fuel is a myth, for many reasons, each of which alone suffices to disprove it. Combined, the various reasons make food vs. fuel one of the biggest, most obvious, and yet most destructive falsehoods around.

      1. Even while ethanol corn production has gone up several fold in the last decade, food corn production also went up 45%, as has production of other staple crops like soybeans.

      2. Even ethanol corn helps feed us; after the starch is removed to make fuel, the remainder, a high-protein byproduct called distillers' grain, is used as an animal feed for meat livestock; feed that would need to have been grown anyway.

      3. Only half our arable land is farmland, and less than half of that is cultivated. Thus, significant room for expansion of cropland for biofuel without affecting the food supply..

      4. Young adults are streaming out of rural areas in search of work. Each year there are fewer farmers, both absolutely and especially proportionately. Thus potential for big expansion of manpower for biofuel without affecting the food supply.

      5. Per acre crop yields rise relentlessly, up more than 17% since 2003 alone. Iowa now produces more corn than the entire 1940s USA.

      6. There is no national or world food shortage. In fact the US and EU produce such an overwhelming cornucopia our governments buy and warehouse food to prevent total price collapse that would bankrupt what few small / family farmers we have left. We even pay farmers not to farm. That stored up food then gets dumped on domestic and world food aid programs.

      7. Hunger is caused by factors that that keep the abundant food supply out, such as violent conflict, natural disasters, extreme repression, catastrophic economic mismanagement, or, on a micro, household level, domestic abuse or neglect. More food over-production will not solve those problems.

      8. In fact, ethanol and methanol can help solve hunger in two key ways:

      a) By breaking oil's monopoly power, monopoly prices on poor fishermen's fishing boat fuel, and on poor farmers' fertilizer, tractor fuel, and trucking-to-market fees are collapsed. This has been a big problem; Kenya has half again Saudi Arabia's population, but is forced to spend nearly all its hard currency on artificially inflated oil prices.

      b) By enabling poor farmers to grow ethanol and methanol crops, we give them a piece of the action once reserved to wealthy Mideastern extremists, give them access to hard currency and enable them to enter modernity and abandon subsistence.

      --

      Ignore the "food vs. fuel" nonsense. Forge ahead with maximum speed to kick down the destructive but fragile monopoly oil has on transportation fuel. Make full flex fuel capability a required standard feature on ALL new cars sold in America. Demand that YOUR Member of Congress support the Open Fuel Standards Act. Ethanol subsidies, CAFE breaks, research projects, etc etc are NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Demand to know where they stand on fuel choice, and if they don't support it, that they explain why they want to deny us fuel choice; why they want millions of cars to join the fleet year after year that are unnecessarily locked in to the one fuel, out of many possible fuels, that is controlled by our enemies that make war on us.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "...Few people complain about the many OTHER non fuel products produced by edible biomass, such as cornstarch based foot powder,

        Riiiight, like the demand for foot powder is keeping food prices high and expanding agriculture into carbon sinks.

        "...Food vs. fuel is a myth, for many reasons, each of which alone suffices to disprove it. Combined, the various reasons make food vs. fuel one of the biggest, most obvious, and yet most destructive falsehoods around.

        You are saying biofuels lower the price of food? I don't think so. When grain prices rise, as they have, farmers all over the world respond by trying to capitalize on the high price by planting more, which eventually lowers the price. The catch is that they had to use more land to plant more. Where does this new arable land typically come from? Expensive and difficult to profit from degraded land, or freshly cleared profitable productive ex-wildlife habitat?

        In 2009 the number of hungry souls passed a billion for the first time because food prices had gotten too high from a combination of speculation fueled by biofuel's consumption of grain reserves and government reaction to those prices by ending food exports to makes sure their own people could afford to eat.

        Thanks to a large global grain harvest in 2010 the number of people who can't afford to eat enough has dropped to about 950 million--about 3 times the population of the United States.

        From a Bloomberg article released today. The rise in global food prices for December was the highest on record for two decades:

        "... raising fears that supply disruptions this year could spark a repeat of 2008's food shortages and riots overseas.

        "Things could become explosive again in 2011, and that's what people are concerned about," said Daniel Gustafson, director of the Washington office of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

        The agency reported Wednesday that its Food Price Index reached 214.7 last month, a 4 percent increase from the previous month. It was the highest result on record and the sixth straight monthly rise.

        The index tracks a basket of commodities including meat, dairy, cereal grains, oils and sugar. The biggest increases for December were for oils, cereals and sugar...."

        "...1. Even while ethanol corn production has gone up several fold in the last decade, food corn production also went up 45%, as has production of other staple crops like soybeans.

        Ethanol production has increased 500 percent in just five years, compared to a 5 percent increase in yields over that same time period. The lion's share of increased corn production comes from planting more corn.

        "...2. Even ethanol corn helps feed us; after the starch is removed to make fuel, the remainder, a high-protein byproduct called distillers' grain, is used as an animal feed for meat livestock; feed that would need to have been grown anyway.

        56 pounds of corn kernels enter a refinery. Out of the refinery comes ethanol and 11.4 pounds of distiller's grain., 3 pounds of Glutan meal, and 1.6 pounds of corn oil. So, 56 - 11.4 -3 -1.6 = 40 pounds of corn "that got turned into ethanol" and was lost that cannot feed people (or the cows that people eat)

        You can't feed cows pure distillers grains and expect them to live. They can only be a part of their feed mix.

        "...3. Only half our arable land is farmland, and less than half of that is cultivated. Thus, significant room for expansion of cropland for biofuel without affecting the food supply..

        Simply not true.

        "...4. Young adults are streaming out of rural areas in search of work. Each year there are fewer farmers, both absolutely and especially proportionately. Thus potential for big expansion of manpower for biofuel without affecting the food supply.

        At the turn of the century 90 % of Americans were farmers. Now less that 2 % of them are. That streaming out of rural areas is not a new trend. Corn farming and ethanol refining are not labor intensive and employ relatively few people.

        "...5. Per acre crop yields rise relentlessly, up more than 17% since 2003 alone..

        According to the USDA corn crop yields increased only 8% in that time frame (ethanol increased over 500%).

        "...6. There is no national or world food shortage. In fact the US and EU produce such an overwhelming cornucopia our governments buy and warehouse food to prevent total price collapse that would bankrupt what few small / family farmers we have left. We even pay farmers not to farm. That stored up food then gets dumped on domestic and world food aid programs.

        It isn't a shortage of food, it is the affordability of food. Nothing else you said above is true.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Riiiight, like the demand for foot powder is keeping food prices high and expanding agriculture into carbon sinks."

        The food vs. fuel myth is every bit as absurd, and just as worthy of scornful dismissal.

        "When grain prices rise, as they have, farmers all over the world respond by trying to capitalize on the high price by planting more, which eventually lowers the price. The catch is that they had to use more land to plant more. Where does this new arable land typically come from? Expensive and difficult to profit from degraded land, or freshly cleared profitable productive ex-wildlife habitat?"

        You overlook two major factors.

        1. Unused farmland.

        2. Increases in efficiency. Much Third World agriculture is painfully inefficient, in large part because there is little incentive to produce more.

        There have been food price increases, but biofuels have not been the cause. Factors such as high petroleum prices, droughts, and more have been far more relevant.

        "Ethanol production has increased 500 percent in just five years, compared to a 5 percent increase in yields over that same time period. The lion's share of increased corn production comes from planting more corn."

        So what? The bottom line remains, ethanol corn production has not occurred at the expense of food corn production.

        '...3. Only half our arable land is farmland, and less than half of that is cultivated. Thus, significant room for expansion of cropland for biofuel without affecting the food supply..'

        "Simply not true."

        Yes it is.

        http://www.thenewatlantis.com/imgLib/20080520_DefenseofBiofuelsTableL.gif

        "At the turn of the century 90 % of Americans were farmers. Now less that 2 % of them are. That streaming out of rural areas is not a new trend. Corn farming and ethanol refining are not labor intensive and employ relatively few people."

        Thank you for agreeing with my point, that there is no manpower problem involved with ramping up biofuel production.

        '...6. There is no national or world food shortage. In fact the US and EU produce such an overwhelming cornucopia our governments buy and warehouse food to prevent total price collapse that would bankrupt what few small / family farmers we have left. We even pay farmers not to farm. That stored up food then gets dumped on domestic and world food aid programs.'

        "It isn't a shortage of food, it is the affordability of food. Nothing else you said above is true."

        EVERYTHING I said above is true. In fact government buyups of food, and payments to farmers not to farm, are realities to an extent that they are controversial among free-market advocates.

        "The vast majority of the almost one billion hungry in the world simply can't afford to eat properly. Corn ethanol is not helping that problem."

        There are people in desperate poverty, but no uptick or downtick in food prices will have a practical effect on someone earning $300 a year. There's no point in bankrupting efficient First World farmers, or disincentivizing Third World farmers from investing capital in efficiency improvements, in a futile effort to bring food prices down to affordable levels for slum ragpickers and dusty refugees. The real solution is in solving poverty, and breaking the oil cartel's brutally regressive world tax, and building up Third World agriculture and industry via alcohol fuel, is a major way to do that. Let's sell tractors to Africa.

        "Oil does not have a monopoly power. Coal and natural gas both defeated it in the market for power generation."

        Actually, the contrast between transportation and electricity generation is a perfect vindication of my argument.

        Oil DOES have monopoly power in transportation, because vehicles can't use anything else.

        By contrast, electrical devices don't care what kind of power plant generated the electrons coming from the plug in the wall. In effect, every electrical device is already "flex fuel".

        By making the transportation "flex fuel" as well, we break oil's monopoly power.

        "Biofuels made from food simply don't have the economics to be cheaper than oil in the market."

        "...b) By enabling poor farmers to grow ethanol and methanol crops, we give them a piece of the action once reserved to wealthy Mideastern extremists, give them access to hard currency and enable them to enter modernity and abandon subsistence.

        "They are free to grow it now. Without massive government money, it simply isn't profitable for them to make biofuels."

        What you
      • 4 Years Ago
      So roughly 9 gallons of gas are consumed for each single gallon of ethanol. That's not actually that bad, even though we've got a ways to go with reducing gasoline consumption etc etc etc.....

      If you had polled ABG readers how many gallons of gasoline are consumed for each gallon of ethanol consumed, most people, including myself, would probably guess around 25 or 50.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Al Gore recently admitted Ethanol is a waste, and he only pushed for Ethanol during his presidential big to gain the farmer votes.

      Take away the government welfare to support Ethanol, and watch the production drop to what?

      Is Ethanol viable without Government welfare?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Russ Finley sad, "It has nothing to do with Malthus."

        Actually, whether his name is known or not, his false notion of a zero-sum game, that if you have more of one thing, you must have less of something else, is deeply entrenched in many if not most elements of the environmental movement. What it ignores is that people are more than alimentary canals, eating and excreting. We have hands and brains; we think and work, adding value and usefulness. Oil itself was useless glop that interfered with drilling water wells, until human ingenuity gave it value. Per capita living standards have risen, not fallen, along with rising world population. Hunger is less prevalent than ever despite rising population.

        "Every study I've ever seen on the subject has shown that biofuels exacerbate food price increases."

        There's a lot more PR and meme-spreading in that vein than real science. But the facts are that even as ethanol corn production has risen several fold, food corn production has risen as well.

        "The idea that we can simply replace the fuel in the tanks of our " brawny fuel guzzlers." (that throw away 80% of the energy in every tank) with fuel made out of food is ridiculous. Although that is just what oil companies want to see because they will eventually own all biofuel production and would like us to keep those 20% efficient fuel guzzlers. The two biggest biofuel producers on the planet are oil companies."

        Oil companies are not the real problem, not the main enemy. Today they are mere middlemen, and thus have some confluence of interests. However, when the "Seven Sisters" controlled the oil market before the formation of OPEC in 1970, they provided cheap and plentiful oil, even as world population and economic activity rose rapidly. It is not a coincidence that world economic growth in the pre-OPEC era was far higher than in the post-OPEC era. Non-OPEC oil production has continued to keep pace with world population and economic growth; such production has doubled since the late 1970s, just as the population and economy have. But OPEC oil production is the SAME as it was in the late 1970s, despite OPEC having the cheapest, easiest-to-access, and most desirable oil. In the intervening years, OPEC oil production has veered wildly, plunging down to spike the price and back up to cash in, in accordance with the arbitrary dictates of the cartel's leadership. Again while non-OPEC production has risen steadily.

        If the oil companies want to convert themselves into biofuel companies, and liberate us from dependence on OPEC, great.

        " it's physically impossible to grow enough corn ethanol to replace more than a small fraction of our oil use."

        While we can drastically expand our production of corn ethanol, yes, that is true. That is not, however, a reason to oppose corn ethanol. It can and should play a role in liberating us from oil dependence. The fact that it cannot do so alone is a good thing. That means we can give our farmers all the business they can handle, with plenty of demand left over to let poor tropical farmers get a piece of the action heretofore hogged by Mideastern extremists.

        Sugarcane does indeed have a higher per-acre ethanol fuel yield than corn. However, corn also produces a worthwhile fuel yield, as do at least 15 other plants grown the world over.

        "So why not go the next step and force auto makers to make all cars flex fuel and force every gas station to have an ethanol pump. Welcome to the USSR comrades."

        Brazil "forced" every station to have an ethanol pump. It even did so at a time when flex fuel cars didn't exist, and thus very little market for ethanol existed. And what government did this? A Soviet-aligned one? No, by contrast, it was a right-wing authoritarian government that could not have been more anti-Communist, and in fact was harsh in cracking down on Communist and other left-wing movements. Regardless of how you feel about all that, it's clear that mandating ethanol is not necessarily socialist at all. Furthermore, given that Brazil is now energy secure, that mandate hasn't worked out too badly.

        In any event, I haven't advocated forcing anyone to sell ethanol, just requiring that cars be able to run on it.

        What you also ignore is that when a critical mass of cars out there can actually use alcohol fuel, it's unlikely any mandate will be necessary. Stations will have to race each other to offer it to avoid losing business to their neighbors.

        "This endless reference to enemies who wage war on us is disturbing. The ethanol lobbies know how effective it is to fan the flames of xenophobia to hawk their product, as did the German, Italian, and Japanese governments of the early 40's."

        Using words like "xenophobia
        • 4 Years Ago
        Al Gore has flip flopped on many issues, including hot button ones like abortion or liberating Iraq. The Left overall has turned on ethanol after having once supported it. I've run across the Malthusian "food vs. fuel" myth many times here, as well as a deep dislike of the idea of us still using big brawny fuel guzzlers that run on alcohol fuel instead of gasoline; goes against the new eco-Puritanism that supports austerity for its own sake.

        It could be argued that government intervention was what pushed gasoline ahead of ethanol in the first place. The two fuels were duking it out in the infancy of the automobile; the Model T could run on either. Rural people brewed their own ethanol to run their Model T's, confining gasoline sales to urban areas. Was it entirely a coincidence that oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller heavily bankrolled the Prohibition movement that eventually triumphed, sent federal agents on still-smashing rampages, and ensured gasoline's dominance?

        Yes, ethanol is a fraction of our fuel sales today; only a small fraction of cars can use it, or use more than a fraction of it as a minor ingredient in their gasoline. A given fuel can be great, but if cars can't use it, it won't sell, just like the greatest Android-only app in the world won't sell to iPhone users.

        In Brazil, all cars must be flex fuel, and ethanol is about half of all fuel sales there. Give drivers the choice of fuel, and they start making choices. Deny them the choice, lock them in to oil only, and it's unfair to say they freely rejected the alternative.

        Here it's a "you go first" stand-off. Automakers don't make alcohol compatible cars (other than some occasional CAFE dodging) because customers don't demand it. Customers don't demand it because they're unaware of the existence or benefits of alcohol fuel, or because there's no point since their local gas station doesn't sell it. Gas stations don't sell it because, using the most charitable explanation, only a small minority of cars can even use it, smaller than the percentage of sales represented by one of their pumps.

        These things sometimes work their way out in the marketplace. For example, cell phones not selling because there or no local cell towers to provide reception, no investors building cell towers because there are no cell phones in the area to provide revenue. That last one has taken 30 years to resolve, though, and it's still not done.

        We don't have 30 years to wait; every year we do nothing hundreds of billions extra flow to our enemies in OPEC to wage war on us.

        Considering all that, and the feeble ineffective incentives currently used, it's a miracle that we've gone from only 50 stations selling E85 in 2001 to more than 2,100 today. Make flex fuel a standard feature like seat belts, and there's no telling what would happen.

        Methanol in particular is very interesting; made from natural gas it's very cheap. In 2007-2008 when gasoline was selling for $4 a gallon, methanol was selling UNSUBSIDIZED for 80 cents. Since it has half the mileage, $1.60 for the same quantity needed to move you as far as $4 of gasoline. A lot of families would be thrilled to fill up once a week on methanol instead of every other week on gasoline if they could save more than half on their fuel bills each month. But they're locked out from being able to use methanol now.

        That lockout only benefits the oil cartel, OPEC, that has 78% of world oil reserves (while we have 3%). Stick it to the cartel, make flex fuel a standard feature!

        Even if you are right and alcohol fuel can't compete with gasoline in the free market, so what? We're at war and our enemies have the lion's share of the world's oil! Why NOT intervene for victory? In World War 2 would you have been carping about gasoline rationing and bans on pleasure driving, and about Ford being ordered to make only tanks and not passenger cars? Not that using high octane alcohol fuel is remotely comparable a "sacrifice" as what our parents and grandparents cheerfully went through. Are we such whiners, so short-sighted and selfish, as to be unwilling to do far far less to win the great struggle of OUR time?
        • 4 Years Ago
        "...I've run across the Malthusian "food vs. fuel" myth many times here, as well as a deep dislike of the idea of us still using big brawny fuel guzzlers that run on alcohol fuel instead of gasoline; goes against the new eco-Puritanism that supports austerity for its own sake. ..."

        It has nothing to do with Malthus. Every study I've ever seen on the subject has shown that biofuels exacerbate food price increases.

        The idea that we can simply replace the fuel in the tanks of our " brawny fuel guzzlers." (that throw away 80% of the energy in every tank) with fuel made out of food is ridiculous. Although that is just what oil companies want to see because they will eventually own all biofuel production and would like us to keep those 20% efficient fuel guzzlers. The two biggest biofuel producers on the planet are oil companies.

        "...It could be argued that government intervention was what pushed gasoline ahead of ethanol in the first place. ..."

        Oh God, not the conspiracy theory again.

        "...The two fuels were duking it out in the infancy of the automobile; the Model T could run on either. Rural people brewed their own ethanol to run their Model T's, confining gasoline sales to urban areas. Was it entirely a coincidence that oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller heavily bankrolled the Prohibition movement that eventually triumphed, sent federal agents on still-smashing rampages, and ensured gasoline's dominance? ..."

        Prohibition wasn't a trick to crush ethanol as a fuel. Here's a brief history of prohibition:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prohibition_in_the_United_States

        "...Yes, ethanol is a fraction of our fuel sales today; ..."

        And always will be because it's physically impossible to grow enough corn ethanol to replace more than a small fraction of our oil use.

        "...In Brazil, all cars must be flex fuel, and ethanol is about half of all fuel sales there. Give drivers the choice of fuel, and they start making choices. Deny them the choice, lock them in to oil only, and it's unfair to say they freely rejected the alternative. ..."

        What works in Brazil won't work here. In Brazil they make it from cane, which produces roughly 5 times more energy per acre than corn:

        http://home.comcast.net/~russ676/Graphics/img8.gif

        The average American uses over six times more oil than the average Brazilian. If we used the same amount of oil we would be net exporters of the stuff:

        http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/2006/06/01/lessons-from-brazil/

        "...Here it's a "you go first" stand-off.

        No, it's because there's very little consumer demand for it.

        "...Customers don't demand it because they're unaware of the existence or benefits of alcohol fuel..."

        No, it's because they are aware that it's even worse than gasoline in the aggregate.

        "...Gas stations don't sell it because, using the most charitable explanation, only a small minority of cars can even use it, smaller than the percentage of sales represented by one of their pumps. ..."

        Let's see if I have this right. The government already forces everyone to use it by mandating it be blended into our gas and by making us pay $1.78 (according to the CBO) extra for it on top of what it costs at the pump. So why not go the next step and force auto makers to make all cars flex fuel and force every gas station to have an ethanol pump. Welcome to the USSR comrades.

        "...These things sometimes work their way out in the marketplace. For example, cell phones not selling because there or no local cell towers to provide reception, no investors building cell towers because there are no cell phones in the area to provide revenue. That last one has taken 30 years to resolve, though, and it's still not done. ..."

        Bad example. Consumer demand created the cell phone networks of today, not government mandates. It would be a good example if consumers didn't want cell phones but the government forced them to use them and pay for them anyway.

        "...We don't have 30 years to wait; every year we do nothing hundreds of billions extra flow to our enemies in OPEC to wage war on us. ..."

        This endless reference to enemies who wage war on us is disturbing. The ethanol lobbies know how effective it is to fan the flames of xenophobia to hawk their product, as did the German, Italian, and Japanese governments of the early 40's. Like tho
        • 4 Years Ago
        sportsbike80, the only thing we know is that Al Gore is a liar that acts in his own best interest. The question is, was he lying then, lying now, or lying both times?

        Is this really the guy you want to use as a reference for an argument?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I prefer to eat my corn. Hopefully corn-ethanol dies soon.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ah, that makes no sense there, Willie. Look at the calculations again. There is no need to calculate pounds of alcohol.

        56 pounds of corn kernels enter a refinery. Out of the refinery comes ethanol and 11.4 pounds of distiller's grain., 3 pounds of Glutan meal, and 1.6 pounds of corn oil. So, 56 - 11.4 -3 -1.6 = 40 pounds of corn "that got turned into ethanol" and was lost that cannot feed people (or the cows that people eat)

        You can't feed cows pure distillers grains and expect them to live. They can only be a part of their feed mix.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Alright buckwheat, let's break this down in numbers that are actually true; 1 bushel of corn weighs 56 lbs, one gallon of ethanol weighs 6.58 lbs (2.8 * 6.58 = 18.43 lbs of ethanol per bushel of corn, the distillers "GRAIN" that you are refering to has corn oil and gluten with it and that also equals 18.5 lbs ber bushel of corn, CO2 production from the fermentation process (which is the conversion of starch/glucose to ethanol) equals 18.5 lbs as well.
        While it is true that 66% of the kernel of corn is converted to ethano/CO2, it is also true that corn is on average 60% starch. Corn starch is not readilly digested by livestock and is non-the-less wasted in the feeding/eating process. The "GRAIN" portion of dried distillers is animal feed in a concentrated, high quality package of 26% protein, 10% fat, along with other minerals. Converting starch to ethanol ultimately a win/win for everyone: Remove the indigestables and make fuel that allows us less dependance on FORGIEN OIL (not Homeland oil...FORGIEN OIL) unless of course you like paying the military to protect oil shipments from OPEC countries and are hooked on extremely healthy high fructose corn syrup.
        • 4 Years Ago
        How do you figure, Kleetus?

        It takes 56 pounds of corn kernels to produce 2.8 gallons of ethanol, 11.4 pounds of distiller's grain., 3 pounds of Glutan meal, and 1.6 pounds of corn oil. So, 56 - 11.4 -3 -1.6 = 40 pounds of corn lost that cannot feed people (or the cows that people eat). In other words, about 70 percent of a bushel of corn is lost to the food chain when you use it to make ethanol.

        The fact that it is yellow corn is irrelevant. People rarely eat unprocessed grains. They usually eat what the livestock that eats it produces: meat, eggs, dairy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You go right on ahead and eat all the #2 yellow corn you can handle there bubber. There comes a time where you folks start learning a bit more about what is used and where it goes. Ethanol plants make plenty of high quality livestock feed and sell it at a discount price in relation to corn. So you do in fact eat the animals that eat the corn that is used for ethanol production. You make it sound like this stuff goes into production and "POOF" it's gone as soon as some ethanol is made of it...Not true in the least.
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