Friday, July 27, 2012

Gas tanks or stomachs?

I can think of few problems that illustrate what is wrong with America today more than that of ethanol. Bad for engines. Less mpg and horsepower than regular gas. Uses more energy to produce. Yet the political class in both parties intentionally ignore the problems caused by the ethanol mandate, as they are slaves to the ethanol lobby. Another damn good reason to bump the Iowa caucuses to later in the year. It doesn't matter what the American people think or what is actually good science. Nope, the Republicans carry their water in Congress while the environmentalist whackos over at EPA try to ram down our throats a new 15% mandate. Meanwhile corn prices skyrocket and food shortages develop. Investors Business Daily had something to say about the fact 40% of our corn production now goes into "gas tanks instead of stomachs":

As drought destroys the U.S. corn crop and drives prices skyward, the U.S. now buys corn from Brazil and faces the end of its prized role as the world's top food supplier. It's time to scrap the ethanol mandate.

There's a whiff of foreboding about an already-economically enfeebled U.S. now losing its crown as the nation whose corn harvest could feed the world.

The worst drought since 1956 has hit 88% of the U.S. corn crop and is driving corn prices sharply higher.

For the first time, U.S. agricultural companies are importing corn from Brazil — the equivalent of Saudi Arabia importing oil, as the Financial Times noted....

There's nothing wrong with importing from Brazil, but it's a strange dynamic, because our country is so big and has so much in reserve it shouldn't have to import.

The problem here is the man-made element exacerbating the U.S. drought. There should be plenty of corn from U.S. reserves after recent record harvests for exports — 61 million metric tons in 2008 — were it not for the 2007 law that forces U.S. corn producers to turn ever greater percentages of U.S. corn into ethanol.

"As biofuel production develops and expands, it will continue to put pressure on U.S. corn and other feed grain production, exports, livestock feeding, and other domestic uses," the Agriculture Department says.

Today, 40% of our corn is consumed by ethanol making — the filling of gas tanks instead of stomachs. And another 20% is being destroyed by drought this year. Article

Thank you Bush, Congress, and Obama. Here is what will happen. Food prices will continue to rise thanks to this insanity. Our best customers will go elsewhere to purchase corn. Then in a few years when prices fall because of increased competition from overseas, the same farmers who are sticking it to us because of their lobbying for the ethanol mandate will be back demanding some form of subsidy or price support.


Anonymous said...

Been running the non-ethanol for almost 2 years now in 2 vehicles. Have purchased only 12 gallons of 10% ethanol gas total during that time. Easily 10-15% improvement in MPG. You can find the pure gas all over the USofA.

Kingfish said...

Jackson Ice on Jefferson street has non ethanol in all three levels. So does Valerio on Lake Harbor and Old Canton Road. Macs gas has it but I think its only in the lowest octane level.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. I heard on the radio this week that refiners now depend on ethanol to get the octane level high enough. Without it the octane level would be so low that cars wouldn't run. They can't easily switch to using no ethanol. People could starve and we'd still have to use corn for ethanol.

Shadowfax said...

The ethanol doesn't really negatively affect your auto if you run a tank of gas in a week or so. It's leaving it in your small engines that destroys them and costs you a ton in the long run. Chain saws, lawn mowers, outboard engines, generators, weed eaters...all those things you might not regularly use. Unless you run that ethanol through an engine within 30 days it turns to crap and eats your parts. I'm no mechanic but after spending hundreds on my generator and three outboards in the last four years I learned my lesson and took the mechanics' advice. Non-ethanol gas is all over the metro including Deerfield,north of Madison and Tommy's Trading Post and the gas station on the Madison Co side of the rez on 43.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with you most of the time, but am in total accord with you here.

Burke said...

It's a litmus test. Will Congress kill this industry, which is so obviously misconceived and damaging? If not, then I "tremble for my country." We have government of the rich and the civil servants, as someone pointed out this week. Well, not quite yet, but we're well on the way. O tempora, O mores!

Kingfish said...

As I said Shadow, your car still runs at lower HP and mpg

Anonymous said...

It really doesn't matter that much on mileage and doesn't hurt a modern car at all, but if you have a car that is more than 10 years old, it will eat up the catalytic converters and damage the fuel system. If you have a boat, atv, or similar device that isn't used often, use pure gas. I had the aluminum tap to my fuel tank in my boat corrode from ethanol and it broke off in some strong surf, leaving me stranded in the gulf.

Anonymous said...

E10 averages between 7% and 20% reduction in fuel economy.

Ethanol produces about 75% of the energy gasoline produces.

Shadowfax said...

As I did NOT say, Kingfish, YOU have no clue about horsepower or miles per gallon. Who gives a rats ass about miles per gallon or how the engine runs if you have it in the shop all the damned time?

Anonymous said...

KF, have you asked Senators Cochran and Wicker about their position on these ethanol mandates - or, are they owned by the Lamptons/Ergon like Trent Lott was?

Mark Geoffriau said...

Kingfish is correct. Ethanol is higher octane but lower energy density. An engine could be tuned to produce as much power on ethanol as gasoline, or as much mileage on ethanol as gasoline, but not both. In one place or the other (and typically, both), you just aren't getting as much energy density as 100% gasoline.

On the other hand, people building high-performance forced-induction (turbocharged or supercharged) vehicles love ethanol (particular E85 when it can be found). The high octane rating of E85 means that you can turn the boost way up with a much lower risk of detonation -- big, safe power. And gas mileage isn't much of a concern to that crowd.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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