Fear not, American ethanol advocates, the world biofuel community is taking a stand. The Renewable Fuels Association, the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance and the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association are among those crying foul about a recent United Nations report that looks at how biofuels (like corn-based ethanol) impact farming and are potentially a cause for food shortages, Ethanol Producer reports.

In fact, the ethanol folks are insisting that the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) on Food Security and Nutrition withdraw their Biofuels and Food Security report that was presented at the UN's annual Committee on World Food Security earlier this week. The advocates say that the study is inaccurate and excludes industry stakeholders. The renewable fuels groups are also accusing the report's writers of being less than transparent when it comes to disclosing how they're getting their research data.

Worldwide, ethanol opponents continue to argue that increased biofuels production is driving up global food prices. Meanwhile, US oil companies are challenging the EPA and its efforts to increase its annual renewable fuel mandate while arguing that a higher, 15-percent ethanol blend (i.e. E15) will cause widespread engine damage.


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  • 30 Comments
      Marco Polo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Regrettably, the US corn based Ethanol Industry is one of those failed government supported "noble experiments". The problem is that now this environmentally and economically disastrous industry has grown so large, that it's very difficult politically for the US government to do what's obvious, and end the mandate. End the mandate and the US corn based ethanol industry dies ! But, how to cope with the political flack from the Farm lobby and Big Ag ? Despite opposition from environmental groups, climate scientists, economists, hungry neighboring countries, the world community, (all those who once saw a benefit in ethanol production), those who care about consumer liberty, etc, the US government can't bring itself to starve this out-of-control greedy monster, it created. End the mandate !
      LA is Best
      • 1 Year Ago
      If ethanol was allowed to stand on its own, without taxpayer money, there would be more food and we would have more money!
        raktmn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @LA is Best
        What taxpayer money? The ethanol blender's tax credit ended Jan 1 2012. Gasoline however still has tons of special tax subsidies (I've posted long lists of them right here many times). When will gasoline be able to stand on its own without taxpayer money? All of you folks who called for both gas and ethanol tax credits to end certainly got really, really quiet now that the ethanol tax credit is gone. Where did everyone calling for both to be cut all go?
      frabittz
      • 1 Year Ago
      Anyone out there see the stupid ad with the ventriloquist and his dummy trying to tell you not to listen to the oil companys when it come to ethanol? What a bunch of BS!!!! In 1989 I bought a brandy new plain Jane Camaro with a 305 2bbl injection system.On a long trip it always averaged 29-31 mpg.Then they mandated the use of 5% ethanol and guess what ! My avg on a trip went down to 21-23 mpg.Then they mandated 10% ethanol and my mileage dropped to 17-19 mpg ! Dont believe what the ethanol pushing greenies are trying to brainwash you with as alchohol does not have the energy output of gas. Less available energy output = more fuel required .
        raktmn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @frabittz
        What is it with making up BS numbers that is all the sudden so popular? Those MPG drops just because of ethanol are literally scientifically impossible.
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @raktmn
          A 1982 Chrysler cordoba V8 carborated engine getting 36 MPG? Liar exposed.
          Dans AOL
          • 1 Year Ago
          @raktmn
          No it's not . Where I live I noticed when my 1982 Chrysler Cordoba with a 5.2 liter/ 318 CUI @bbl carborated engine a big diffrence in fuel economy around town it was only a mile to the gallon drop from 16-18 down to 15-17 mpg , but on a trip of 50 miles one way or more I noticed a huge difference . back in the 80's and early to mid 90's I would get on a highway trip 30-36 mpg at 60-70 mph. then till a few years ago when all you could get was ethanol blended gas my fuel mileage dropped down to around 24-26 mpg on the highway at 60-65 mph. I also rented a flex fuel car back about 2 years ago and did notice that the Ford I had got an average of 33 mpg on regular unleaded, but on E85 I only got 23 mpg on the same drive . So what that tells me raktmn is that Ethanol has less energy out put than prutrolium gas. Now on the other hand Bio diesel is a diffrent story, when I ran B5- B20 in the big trucks I would get much better fuel mileage than I did with Ultra Low Sulpher diesle . Instead of 7 mpg on ULSD I would get about 7.75 on B20 and 7.5 on B5 or B10. Yes the first 2 tanks of Bio diesle I had to change my fuel filters because that stuff cleaned all the crud that was at the bottom of my twin 120 gal. tanks but after that didn't have any problems and got better fuel economy running Bio diesel.
        doug
        • 1 Year Ago
        @frabittz
        I have been paying about .06 per gallon more for straight gasoline because I found that my car on ethanol would drop from 38 to 29 mpg. and for those pooh poohers--it if a fact!! it doesn't burn as well as gasoline or they would use straight ethanol in place of gas. older vehicles cannot use ethanol at all due to eating up the seals, causing excessive engine wear and a few other things that it does to engines due to being highly corrosive!! it is a known fact that you will automatically mpg depending on the percentage of ethanol. for every % of ethanol you will lose that much in mpg, so when they eventually get the E15 going you can look for your mileage to bottom out lower than what it does now. try this--fill up with ethanol gas and check your mileage at the end of the tank and then find some straight gasoline and check it once again and see if those figures jive with the garbage you have been told to swallow!!!
          omni007
          • 1 Year Ago
          @doug
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrM9NFHhl0Q This dude knows a thing or two about older cars and ethanol. He couldn't get enough horsepower out of straight gas, so he started using 85% ethanol and his HP jumped way up. Ethanol and methanol both burn *much* better than gasoline, and as a bonus, they burn cleaner and don't leave sludge or soot all over your intake, valves, pistons and exhaust. Shoot, if they didn't mix gasoline with ethanol at the stations, you could drink the stuff, because it's just moonshine. It's a well-known fact you can get more HP out of alcohols, which is why they're used in race cars. If it caused such terrible damage, it would be a poor fuel, because race car engines need to work perfectly all the time. Just because your car needs a tune-up doesn't mean alcohol is evil.
      albatroll
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ethanol not only drives up food costs and causes shortages, it takes government subsidies to make it competitive in the market. It uses fossil fuels to make a product that you get less energy out of than went into the production of it. End government subsidies and let ethanol compete and it will die in a year.
      Greg
      • 1 Year Ago
      Those crying foul are doing so mainly because it threatens their livelihood, not because of the merits of the case. The US system of producing ethanol from corn is just plain dumb. Ethanol production from superior sources (e.g., sugar cane, algae, waste products) is a far better option. The US system persists specifically (and perhaps only) because too many companies and communities (votes) want the govt to spend money on it and/or mandate it exist. It has nothing to do with science or even good business.
        EZEE
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Greg
        Greg - I don't own your vehicle, so I won't give an opinion on your situation (because that is the kind of guy I am), however, with my Beloved 2000 Ford Ranger, the mileage difference from gas to E85 was about a 30% drop (this is in line with EPA Estimates). With E10... I have not done the math, but your numbers would be a higher drop than what I would expect. Now, as a disclaimer, my Ford Ranger (extended cab, manual, red, with cassette deck and CD player combo) is an FFV vehicle, so on E85, the computer does make adjustments, but not, to my knowledge, on E10. Next time, before a trip, I will see if if an full up with non ethanol gas and check, but right now, your mileage numbers....maybe chevy's and Chryslers are more finicky.
          EZEE
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EZEE
          And I was supposed to be replying to frab's comment below....not Greg.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EZEE
          @ EZEE It's because your Ford Ranger is red, with cassette deck and CD player combo, that affecs your mileage. (especially, being red :) .
        raktmn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Greg
        Greg, that is exactly why the RFS laws in the US requires more and more 2nd generation biofuels like algae and cellulosic ethanol to be used each year. Corn ethanol is the bridge source of ethanol while we build out 2nd generation ethanol sources. Yes, it is slow, but so is the rollout of EV's. This is both good science and good business, because we needed to develop a market for ethanol long before we started making 2nd generation ethanol. Corn ethanol itself was a way to get rid of massive, huge surpluses of corn. We were literally overflowing all our corn silos, and dumping corn out in fields to rot. Not only was it a waste of grain, it was a waste of all the energy that went into creating those mountains of surplus corn. Corn ethanol took that surplus that was going to waste and turned it into fuel. That was a massive success. Going back to huge rotting surpluses of corn like we had before is not a very smart option. If the amount of corn ethanol vs. 2nd generation sources of ethanol needs to be adjusted in the future, we should do that and make the RFS legislation better.
          Marco Polo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @raktmn
          @ raktmn It's evident you've never lived on a farm. Farming crops always produces good seasons and poor seasons, that's the nature of agriculture ! If the crop I grow becomes too abundant, and prices deteriorate, beyond normal seasonal adjustments, then my farm becomes uncompetitive, and I either change to a more profitable crop, or sell to a more successful farmer. I certainly don't expect the government to subsidize my obsolescence with taxpayer's money, so I can continue to be uneconomic ! Nor do I want to grow a crop which is needlessly environmentally harmful, just because I can't adapt ! Farming is a business, just like any business (maybe more hard work) , Only the efficient and flexible should survive. The truth is that for the US there are no "environmentally friendly " ethanol crops capable of economic large scale production in the foreseeable future. Persisting with an environmentally and economically disastrous Ethanol industry, in the vague hope that things might get better in the one day, (but you can't say when), is just delaying the inevitable at the expense of the US motorist, taxpayer, and the environment. Just end the mandate, and let the US corn-based industry die naturally !
        Marco Polo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Greg
        @ Greg Well said !
      winc06
      • 1 Year Ago
      Finally, some sanity. The stupidity and greed of the biofuels industry is so obvious it is amazing that it takes a UN report to generate discussion the ecological disaster of using up soil and water to drive people around.
        omni007
        • 1 Year Ago
        @winc06
        That's awesome! Now, let's see the same report on the fossil fuels industry. It's no less stupid or greedy. Why, fossil fuel interests have been at the heart of 3 wars so far, with the threat of another looming. Anyone start wars over corn yet?
          Dans AOL
          • 1 Year Ago
          @omni007
          I couldn't reply to your previouse coment with the link, but also think about this , how many gallons of Methanol do they burn in a dragster or a funny car in a 1/4 mile? approx 5 gallons and they rebuild the motor between runs . But it's still a fact that a flex fuel vehecal will use less fuel on gasoline than on E85 , even the EPA says so. Now on the other hand what should be pushed is clean burning Bio Diesel , and do like in Europe where most of your automobiles are diesel powered start pushing diesel powered vehecals in the US. Heck my 02 Ram 2500 Cummins powered pickup with 4:10 rears gets around town 20.8 mpg and on the highway I average 27 mpg solo, towing depending on trailer type I get anywhere from 14 mpg to 19 mpg pulling a 2 axle U-Haul trailer loaded with 2,000 to 4,000 lbs worth of stuff. And was reading about the European Jeep Wrangler 4x4 with a little Fiat diesel engine that it gets 30 mpg in around town driving and 38 mpg on what the British call highway driving .
        omni007
        • 1 Year Ago
        @winc06
        Oh, forgot to ask...ecological disaster from corn ethanol is a legit concern, but that's not what Exxon Valdez or Deepwater Horizon spilled all over the ocean. I mean it's been 20 years and they still haven't cleaned up the oil from Exxon Valdez, and the area wildlife has still not recovered. If you believe in global warming, you know that the oil industry's CO2 emissions are far larger than those from the corn industry. Yes, agribusiness is greedy just like every other big business, but let's not pretend the oil business is any different. The only difference is what the two are selling.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @omni007
          @ omni007 No one disputes the ecological risks created by the use of fossil fuel. Nor doesn't anyone dispute that oil has better uses than being burnt as fuel. However, how does inventing another industry with equal, or even more, environmental harm, benefit the planet ? US corn-based ethanol not even more economical, or efficient than oil ! As far as global warming is concerned, US corn based ethanol creates more damage than the equivalent in gasoline ! Yes, it's true, spills created by the oil industry, (as well as natural oil spills) can take up to 30 years or longer before any real elimination of contamination can be assured. No one, not even the oil industry, thinks oil spills are good, or even acceptable. But you should learn about the even more destructive (and longer lasting) environmental devastation wrought by the US Ethanol industry. Yet, unlike oil, the Ethanol industry refuses to accept any responsibility, much less clean up the damage created.
          omni007
          • 1 Year Ago
          @omni007
          @Marco I'm not going to address any of your points. I do find it interesting, though, that you refer to the US ethanol industry as "destructive" and as causing "environmental devastation", but you refer to the far larger worldwide oil industry as merely having "ecological risks". Not saying you're completely wrong, but some might get the impression there's a bias there. Even I can see the greed on both sides. Let's not pretend one is any better than the other. On the other hand, in order not to be fake about it, let's not attack the chemical just because the producers are destructive, greedy losers. Fact: ethanol is non-toxic. Fact: crude oil, and the majority of chemicals made from it, are extremely toxic, and many are potent cancer-causing agents, and so are the burnt and partially burnt by-products of burning them as fuel. It's the whole system dude. It's not the chemical you should be blaming, but the system, and the people on both sides who are making our circumstances worse just for the sake of their own short-term financial benefit.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @omni007
          @ omni007 Here's the problem with your reasoning, the world can't just stop using cars, trucks, planes, ships etc. Whether you like it or not, there are over 3-4 billion fossil fuel engines out there that sustain human existence. In addition the oil industry provides more than 35,000 products, including medicines, plastics, ceramics, fertilizers, in fact it's essential to most of modern life. It's a huge part of the developed world's economy (28-35%), so it's not going away anytime soon. That's not bias,...just reality ! On the other hand, US ethanol, has none of these essential benefits, but creates even more and longer lasting damage, on a gallon for gallon basis. The production of ethanol has done more permanent environmental damage to the the Gulf than the deepwater horizon disaster, but with paying one cent in clean up. It's going to be along and difficult process replacing oil, but finding an even worse substitute, is not the answer. Us corn production, directly cause massive central American rain-forest depletion . (y'know, that's the stuff that helps with CO2 absorption ). Nor am I opposing the production of ethanol as such, just the US corn based industry. Here's a couple of links, that might interest you ; http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/01/how-us-eu-biofuel-policy-beggars-global-south ww.deseretnews.com/article/865570406/Are-biofuels-starving-the-worlds-poor.html http://www.wealthdaily.com/articles/children-of-the-corn/3992 http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-14/gulf-of-mexico-s-extinction-by-ethanol.html http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-08-19/opinions/41424109_1_renewable-fuel-standard-rfs-ethanol
      EVnerdGene
      • 1 Year Ago
      ABG should link this story to AutoBLOG to see what Americans really think of having 30+ years of government stupidity and cronyism stuffed in their tanks.
      rick_kop
      • 1 Year Ago
      Agreed. What took so long1
      SHIRLEY
      • 1 Year Ago
      Political Leadership Failure and Corrupt Politicians is the problem. This is not just in the United States. The World needs to proceed in every direction in the Energy Field. Having all your cookies in one bag causes problems. Every Country should be allowing all avenues of energy to grow. Not allow one Company to try to use Government Agencies to stop the growth of another type of Energy unless its not safe for humans. I am not talking the unsafe for your Company botton line either.
      antoniusaurelius
      • 1 Year Ago
      How can any person with the slightest amount of common sense refute the findings of the United Nations report on how ethanol is creating a food shortage or the price of food to sore? Only politicians and those with greed clouding their decision making processes will deny any connection between the two. I'll go one step further and state that Brazil is greatly contributing to the global warming of our planet and, possibly, the end of mankind because of ethanol. How, you say? All it takes is just a little common sense to figure out the answer. The problem is not knowing about what's happening in Brazil but what can we do to stop it.
        Greg
        • 1 Year Ago
        @antoniusaurelius
        People will disbelieve anything if it threatens their livelihood.
      Levine Levine
      • 1 Year Ago
      Food shortages are the product of political policy and corrupt politicians rather than because of any particular industry or technology, the ethanol industry included. Those with investment positions in Big Oil are opposed to alternative fuel, understandably. But notice that the critics of the government subsidized ethanol industry shy away from mentioning the subsidized dairy, wheat, two domestic brand auto companies, one large insurance corporation, several Too-big-to-fail Wall St banks, Fannie/Freddie/FHA insured mortgages, Federal deposit insurance, mortgage deduction, and the grand-daddy of them all, Federal insured Student Loans.
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