The Inconvient Truth About Ethanol

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What are the benefits from America selecting Ethanol as an alternative fuel?

I always wonder who will read this information about ethanol and what the real truth and issues about mass producing ethanol will cost the American taxpayer, both short and long term. The American public needs to wake up and realize the race to produce ethanol as an alternate fuel will not be the quick answer, short or long term, and reduce America”s immediate dependency on foreign oil.

Folks, we are getting the royal green shaft on a technology that will pollute more, cost more and will not even make a dent in becoming an alternative fuel to gasoline. Does ethanol really help? What will ethanol do to the cost of food? Will ethanol cause food shortages? What will happen to an automobile that burns ethanol or E85 and the car’s engine is not a flex fuel engine?

This information on ethanol has been around for a while but is the average American who needs to know the truth taking time to read this information and discover the inconvenient truth about ethanol.

Will ethanol make a good substitute for gasoline?

“But as a gasoline substitute, ethanol has big problems: Its energy density is one-third less than gasoline, which means you have to burn more of it to get the same amount of power. It also has a nasty tendency to absorb water, so it can’t be transported in existing pipelines and must be distributed by truck or rail, which is tremendously inefficient.”

“Ethanol production in the United States does not benefit the nation’s energy security, its agriculture, the economy, or the environment,” according to the study by Cornell’s David Pimentel and Berkeley’s Tad Patzek. They conclude the country would be better off investing in solar, wind and hydrogen energy.”

“The researchers included such factors as the energy used in producing the crop, costs that were not used in other studies that supported ethanol production, said Pimentel.

The study also omitted $3 billion in state and federal government subsidies that go toward ethanol production in the United States each year, payments that mask the true costs, Pimentel said.”

Without the government paying a substantial kickback ( our federal government calls this a subsidy) and (guess who is paying for the kickback?), ethanol would have low consideration as an alternative fuel for gasoline.

“Another misconception is that ethanol is green. In fact, corn production depends on huge amounts of fossil fuel — not just the diesel needed to plow fields and transport crops, but also the vast quantities of natural gas used to produce fertilizers. Runoff from industrial-scale cornfields also silts up the Mississippi River and creates a vast dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico every summer. What’s more, when corn ethanol is burned in vehicles, it is as dirty as conventional gasoline and does little to solve global warming: E85 reduces carbon dioxide emissions by a modest fifteen percent at best, while fueling the destruction of tropical forests.

Thanks in large part to the ethanol craze, the price of beef, poultry and pork in the United States rose more than three percent during the first five months of last year. In some parts of the country, hog farmers now find it cheaper to fatten their animals on trail mix, French fries and chocolate bars. And since America provides two-thirds of all global corn exports, the impact is being felt around the world. In Mexico, tortilla prices have jumped sixty percent, leading to food riots. In Europe, butter prices have spiked forty percent, and pork prices in China are up twenty percent. By 2025, according to Runge and Senauer, rising food prices caused by the demand for ethanol and other biofuels could cause as many as 600 million more people to go hungry worldwide. (These are figures from last year and the figures for increased food prices are going to be much higher in 2008).

In the end, the ethanol boom is another manifestation of America’s blind faith that technology will solve all our problems. Thirty years ago, nuclear power was the answer. Then it was hydrogen. Biofuels may work out better, especially if mandates are coupled with tough caps on greenhouse-gas emissions. Still, biofuels are, at best, a huge gamble. They may help cushion the fall when cheap oil vanishes, but if we rely on ethanol to save the day, we could soon find ourselves forced to make a choice between feeding our SUVs and feeding children in the Third World. And we all know how that decision will go.”

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15 Responses to The Inconvient Truth About Ethanol

  1. Uncle B April 15, 2008 at 2:25 pm #

    Ethanol will at the very least reduce the size of the fat American asses we see on the net! NB:These people have been poisoned by cheap corn sugar products! Using human food products to fuel autos smacks of mental illness, addition problems like moral lassitude, convenience and greed! Besides, Algae fed on sewage and compostibles from landfill feeds can, by absorbing solar energy, grow a good grade of bio-diesel, a solar fuel in a way! A much smarter way to the same end, and nobody goes hungry because people don’t eat Algae! Using deserts to make solar power then going plug in hybrid is also renewable – forever!

  2. Deaves April 16, 2008 at 12:05 pm #

    I think the benefits of corn ethanol outweigh their drawbacks. It is not intended to solve the worlds energy crisis, either right now, or any time in the future, it is simply designed to relieve the pressure on fossil fuel production and allow us time until we can develop other technologies that will solve our energy needs. Also corn ethanol research has led to cellulosic ethanol which uses the natural by products and organic wastes from corn production that would otherwise go to waste. These technologies are helping us and they are a step in the right direction, even if they don’t appear to be the be all and end all of energy sources.

  3. Geo April 16, 2008 at 3:15 pm #

    Ethanol is no cushion, it is a scapegoat, it is big business oil all over again. We don’t need New technology to solve the energy crisis, it is already here! We have solar panels that work At Night. We have bacterium that create hydrogen, natural gas, and water out of polluted water, carbon dioxide and sunlight. We have Plasma Converters that break solid matter down to it’s trace elements, creates burnable, clean gas called PCG, And is energy positive, using the breaking down of the molecular bonds to repower itself… The “technology of the future” is here, it just isn’t business smart.

  4. chemicallygreen.com April 17, 2008 at 12:11 pm #

    @UncleBen:thanks for your comment. There are other alternatives besides ethanol and they need to be developed as fast as possible.

  5. chemicallygreen.com April 17, 2008 at 12:17 pm #

    @Deaves: thank you for your comments. With oil prices hitting $115.00/barrel, ethanol prices will continue to rise. Ethanol will have problems being profitable. Let ethanol stand on its own merit as an alternative fuel without the taxpayper paying for the subsidity.

  6. chemicallygreen.com April 17, 2008 at 12:29 pm #

    @Geo: thanks for the comments. I agree with you, ethanol is not the answer.Let’s not spend billions of taxpayers dollars to support a program that will only continue to rise in costs and put our grain supplies in dire straits.

  7. Roy O. April 25, 2008 at 7:32 am #

    how many gallons of fossil fuel is required to produce one gallon of ethenol ?

  8. chemicallygreen.com April 25, 2008 at 10:56 am #

    @Roy O.
    @Roy O, the answer to your question.
    A gallon of corn ethanol costs $1.74 to produce while a gallon of gasoline costs $.98/gallon to produce. These figures are not base on current costs of crude oil and other factors. With todays current pricing a gallon of regular gas in our area is $3.51/gallon and the E85 ethanol/gas replacement is comparable at $4.00/gallon. The E85 cost is less at the pump, but when you factor in the 15-20% less fuel efficiency with ethanol, your cost will be approximately $4.00/gallon.
    Thanks for your question.
    Thanks for your visit

  9. chemicallygreen.com May 25, 2008 at 2:20 pm #

    @Roy O.: This should answer your question even more clearly.
    An acre of U.S. corn yields about 7,110 pounds of corn for processing into 328 gallons of ethanol. But planting, growing and harvesting that much corn requires about 140 gallons of fossil fuels and costs $347 per acre. Even before corn is converted to ethanol, the feedstock costs $1.05 per gallon of ethanol.

  10. Tom Simko February 9, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    I thought Ethanol was produced from non-edible corn crop ??? There are no wars from using corn. You can yiel much more ethanol from “sweet Sohrgum”, it is a grass that grows quickly, draught tolerable, and the by products may be used in construction and many other projects. If ethanol is not a good fuel, WHAT IS your alternative?

  11. Dee R. June 24, 2010 at 3:05 am #

    I find Ethanol highly inefficient. When using my van pulling a small 6X10 inclosed trailer, I get 11 to 12 mpg when using 100% gasoline. When using Gasohol E10, I get 9 to 10 mpg. That is 15 to 20% worse fuel economy which means I am buring 5-10% MORE fossil fuel than if I was running 100% gasoline. That is not taking in account how much extra fuel is burned in the production of Ethanol also. So by adding 10% ethanol to my gasoline, I end up burning more petroleum than if I was running 100% petroleum gas. I don’t see how Ethanol helps anyone except the farmer who is recieving Government subsidy money.

  12. Ishtarmuz dale west July 8, 2011 at 1:44 am #

    @ishtarmuz http://bit.ly/nQbfqo The Inconvient Truth About Ethanol.

  13. michael October 20, 2011 at 3:24 am #

    S is it true that ethanol has a pollutant factor…that as it enters our water sources that it is impossible to recapture as it invades the American landscape?

  14. John S April 29, 2012 at 7:05 am #

    Its very obvious Ethanol is not going to break us from our dependence on foreign oil. The Ag industry has been trying to sell America on ethanol for decades. Since the 70’s ethanol has been going through up and down phases of popularity. Here is the real problem with alternative energies. All of them are not equal or better then our current ones. Gasoline has more thermo energy then ethanol, diesel has better properties then soybean diesel. Its not that these are alternatives that don’t work. Its just they are not as good or better. Do most people want something that is worse then what they have been buying? No. I have a Flex Fuel vehicle a Ford Ranger. I do not see any problems with burning E85 except that it almost costs as much as regular gas and I get less gas milieage with E85. Their always seems to be a negative for every positive.

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