< HOME  Thursday, June 01, 2006

The TRUTH about Ethanol: good for drunks, not cars

Recently, a number of politicians have been extolling the virtues of ethanol as an alternative energy source. But, by now you might have realized that when politicians advocate a policy change, constituents should run for the hills.
[T]he average retail price of E-85 ethanol fuel has risen faster than gasoline over the past year, and now costs nearly as much with the subsidies included [51 cents on every gallon of ethanol pumped].

And since a gallon of ethanol has only about two-thirds the btu-equivalent energy of a gallon of gasoline, the effective price of ethanol, despite the subsidies, is really about $4/gallon.

The biggest beneficiary of the subsidies is Archer Daniels Midland, which makes almost 40% of all ethanol fuel used in the United States, and a big chunk of that used in Brazil as well.

The underlying reality is far worse than the price. No matter how subsidized, production of enough corn to reach the three CEOs' [Ford, GM, and Chrysler] theatrical goal of 25% of transportation fueled by ethanol, would require planting 12-13% of the land area of the United States in corn, 270 million acres or .45 million square miles of cornfields.

These sad facts are known . . .
  • corn ethanol, switchgrass ethanol, and wood ethanol consume 29%, 45%, and 57% respectively more btu's of fossil-fuel energy in their production, than they produce when they're burned as fuel [.]
And who's pushing this national conversion to Ethanol?
The organized groups outside government pushing hard for what Bill Ford senselessly called "the big-number game-changing ethanol play for this country," are a very strange new kind of "hybrid."

On one side are a pack of war-mongering neo-conservative in the Set America Free Coalition—Frank Gaffney, Daniel Pipes, James Woolsey, Meyrav Wurmser and others straight out of meetings planning regime change throughout the Mideast and Asia.

But these neo-cons' major go-ethanol manifesto is signed by a group called the Apollo Energy Alliance, consisting of friends of Al Gore and George Soros, and various "progressive Democrats" and unionists.

The common father of this strange alliance is the George Shultz who created the George W. Bush Administration; Shultz's Rocky Mountain Institute with Amory Lovins, like Shultz's Committee on the Present Danger, began promoting the ethanol fraud as a way to attack the nations of the Middle East.
Sounds just like the kind of people whose advice we shouldn't take - if we value our lives.
The ethanol part of the "flex-fuel" package is 100% fakery, along with related proposals to burn various products of "atholes."

By contrast, the hydrogen-fuel proposals, including some work by the major automakers, are potentially revolutionary for engine propulsion. But the best prospects for producing hydrogen efficiently involve, again, using the high heats from nuclear power plants to crack hydrogen out of ammonia or related stocks.

* * *

The third element of "flex-fuel," electric-diesel hybrid engines, while obviously not fakery, changes nothing in the collapse of the U.S. auto sector, but a few more miles per gallon in a somewhat more expensive car.

The fundamental problem is real wages and unemployment, as the House Democrats reminded Bill Ford.

Overall U.S. auto sales are falling, this year toward the 16-16.5 million units characteristic of almost a decade ago. The sales drop is concentrated in—the upper Midwest region, where U.S. autos and auto parts are made! Fewer cars and light trucks are being bought by those Americans most inclined by loyalty to buy U.S.-made vehicles.

Car sales are shifting toward corporate and rental fleets and toward the wealthy.
The three Cornball Brothers are kicking their own sales in the head by their layoffs and plant shutdowns and the shutdowns radiating from their effect.

Neither hybrids nor fuel mixes are going to revive sales in the teeth of continued globalization. The capacity is unutilized, by 50% or more. It is up to Congress to use it or lose it. American industry's most versatile remaining machine tool capabilities are fast disappearing now.
In short, the ethanol bandwagon is nothing but another corporate-sponsored neo-con scam that merely takes the nation down a different road to the same grisly economic demise.
As one United Auto Workers union leader in a southern state succinctly put it recently, "the only thing you can run on ethanol, is an old drunk."
Dubya might be interested, but to US ethanol is useless.


At Thursday, June 01, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...

Sugar ethanol, on the other hand, is quite efficient.

Just look at Brazil, which uses sugar ethanol and now is energy independent.

Hopefully, we can move past what the lobbyists want and adopt sugar ethanol.

At Thursday, June 01, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

According to this article, and a number of others at LaRouche's site, ethanol is useless, PERIOD and Brazil is currently moving away from it after spending years embracing it.

provide a link to your source.

At Thursday, June 01, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HOW will the ammonia be produced? it either comes from natural gas, from combining hydrogen and nitrogen or by bacterial means. Hydrogen is produced (mostly)using electricity, where does the electricity come from? LPG or CNG are possibilities with the current infrastructure, hydrogen is a massive change. What about questioning how we use cars?

At Thursday, June 01, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

anon, please elaborate.

What's LPG, CNG?

At Thursday, June 01, 2006, Blogger borkafatty said...

I think the anon ment LNG Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
Compressed natural gas (CNG)

Another reason why ethanol is useless is it can not be used in boat motors it will ruin the boats motor and cost you thousands in repair


At Thursday, June 01, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...

I researched this, but honestly, my head started to spin with all sorts of scientific facts thrown at me in the middle of studying for the bar.

The most boiled down article I found showed how sugar ethanol is more economical than regular gasoline.


In general, I have seen reports about this on Real Time With Bill Maher. I am under the impression also that only corn ethanol has been proven to be bad on boats - not the sugar ethanol.

At Friday, June 02, 2006, Anonymous romunov said...

Amount of fertilizers and pesticides used to produce quantities to satisfy hungry market will kill Earth in a short swoosh.

Russia is a good example of what high dose of nutrients can do to soil.

Ethanol is not the way to go.

At Sunday, June 04, 2006, Blogger Citisucks said...

Great article-very interesting.

Progressive Democrats-Now there is an oxymoron!

At Monday, June 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I here alot of opions but I don't see any real data or references here...

At Wednesday, July 12, 2006, Blogger Smart_AJ said...

Become less dependent on gasoline but not fully dependent on E85. ZAP www.zapworld.com ZP (NYSE). A California based company is planning on bringing a Brazilian made car to the US, the Obvio! 828, that is a hybrid that can run on ANY combination of ethanol and gas. That means it will run on E85, E100, solely gasoline, ANY combination of gasoline and ethanol. Zap is also the only car company who is selling a Chinese manufactured car in the US the 100% electric Xebra city car.

At Tuesday, July 29, 2008, Blogger greenguy said...

The cost of ethanol will be the Brazilian rainforest. That is a cost we cannot afford to pay. the government and the oil companies want you to believe that ethanol is the next thing because they will still make billions from it. There has to be a better alternative.


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