Tag Archives: ethanol

If MPGs Were Really the Reason, by Eric Peters

The auto fuel ethanol mandate is about rewarding crony agribusinesses, and actually reduces the miles per gallons about which everyone professes to worry. From Eric Peters and ericpetersautos.com:

Gas mileage has been a kind of fetish object for the government lo these past 40-something years. But is it really about gas mileage? Or is gas mileage just the excuse for something else – something even more sinister than a handful of people (this is what “the government” is) contravening what buyers want, as expressed by their willingness to buy?

Let’s consider a couple of things that could have easily and inexpensively increased fuel economy; or rather and perhaps better put, made it feasible to go much farther on a gallon of fuel without adding complexity and cost:

Gasoline, for instance.

Not ten percent gasoline  . . . and 10 percent ethanol. Which reduces miles-per-gallon because 90 percent gas and ten percent ethanol contains less energy per gallon. An easy way to increase gas mileage without changing anything about the car would be to put gas – not adulterated gas – in the tank. The increase would be on average about 2-3 MPG, which is a larger increase than is achieved by engineering artifices such as replacing relatively simple fuel delivery systems like port fuel injection with high-pressure direct injection, which also adds to the price of the car – negating the smaller mileage benefit achieved.

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Ethanol Boondoggle, by Bob Livingston

Boondoggle is too kind a word for this country’s ethanol “policy.” Swindle is more appropriate. From Bob Livingston at theburningplatform.com:

Like every master salesman, Donald Trump loves to tell his audience exactly what it wants to hear.

Last week, at a campaign rally in Iowa, Trump gave Iowa farmers just the political fodder they wanted. He even acknowledged that that was what he was doing when he made his statement. According to The Wall Street Journal:

“And my Administration is protecting ethanol, all right? That’s what you want to hear,” Mr. Trump said at a rally in Iowa on Tuesday, and give him points for political candor. Mr. Trump then announced that his Administration will now allow fuel with 15% ethanol to be sold all year long. The Clean Air Act sets standards for fuel volatility, and E15 hasn’t been allowed in the summer because it can cause smog. Most blends contain 10% of ethanol.

Ethanol fuel is a boondoggle that benefits Big Agra, corn farmers and refiners and no one else. From its creation in the 1970s stemming from the manufactured energy crisis, untold billions of dollars have been dumped into subsidizing the production of corn ethanol.

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Want to feed the world? Stop burning ethanol, by Steve Campbell

From Day One the ethanol mandate has been a scam. From Steve Campbell at americanthinker.com:

Mixing ethanol with gasoline is a bad idea – for many reasons.  But there is one reason in particular that should worry you.

A recent AT blog post by S. Fred Singer titled “Trump and the end of the ‘Oil Crisis’” reasoned that it might be time to remove the ethanol mandate:

My hope is that Congress, at some point, will remove the requirements for gasoline additives, especially for the corn-based bio-fuel ethanol.

This is long overdue, and Singer lists some good reasons to remove that mandatory blending.  In researching an article years ago, this reporter stumbled over a shattering revelation that makes the use of ethanol seem completely unacceptable.  The question was posed: “Just how much food value are we burning up for the sake of  this federally imposed silliness?”

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A Talent for Deception, by Eric Peters

The federal ethanol mandate is one of the larger government ripoffs imposed on Americans, courtesy of the corn lobby. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

When establishment Republicans like Jim Talent pat the president on the back, he might want to check for a knife.

Talent recently praised Trump for not ending or even dialing back the Renewable Fuels Standard – a federal mandate which force-feeds billions of gallons of ethanol and biodiesel to American drivers, like it or not. The fact that there is no natural market for ethanol – which may be “renewable” but isn’t energy efficient – doesn’t seem to bother Talent, who is an ex-senator from Missouri and lawyer/lobbyist/PR flack by trade.

This probably explains his lack of economic and engineering knowledge about ethanol.

It’s astonishing, first of all, that he could write that ethanol “saves consumers at the pump.” If that were so, “consumers” wouldn’t need to be force-fed ethanol. This much ought to be obvious – even to a lawyer/lobbyist.

But ethanol does have to be force-fed to Americans –  because it costs them money.

To begin with, it contains less energy per gallon than gasoline. It takes 1.5 gallons of ethanol to equal the energy contained in a gallon of gasoline. That means your car doesn’t travel as far on ethanol-adulterated fuel – and you need to fill up sooner.

Which costs you money.

Ethanol – which is corn alcohol – costs in other ways, too.

Car engines and fuel delivery systems have to be “hardened” to handle ethanol-adulterated fuel, because alcohol is both highly corrosive as well as water-attractive. It accelerates internal rusting of fuel tanks and lines and – in car and other engines not designed for it – accelerates the deterioration of rubber and plastic seals, too – leading to leaks and potentially fires.

To continue reading: A Talent for Deception

Pumping Us Up, by Eric Peters

Eric Peters examines the ethanol ripoff mandate. From Peters at theburningplatform.com:

Most people know they’re paying a lot of taxes every time they buy a gallon of gasoline.

Proportionately, few taxes are more regressive than motor fuels taxes – which currently amount to about 35 percent of the per gallon cost of gas (roughly, 50 cents in federal and state taxes on each gallon, which currently sells for a little over $2).

But there is a another tax on motor fuels which very few people even know exists that also dips deep into their pockets.

It is the federal mandate that each gallon of gas sold contain a certain percentage (currently, 10 percent) of so-called “renewable” fuels. This being chiefly ethanol alcohol, which is made of corn. About 40 percent of all the corn grown in the United States is not used to feed people or animals. It goes toward mandated-by-government ethanol production, which is then force-fed to American drivers every time they fill up.

This corn con is one of the greatest boondoggles in existence – hugely profitable to the companies which make this product no one really wants – but which they government requires them to buy.

 Ethanol is touted as “renewable,” which is true. It is also grossly inefficient. Ethanol contains less energy per gallon than gasoline, so your car’s engine has to burn more of it to go a given distance. It is one of the reasons why modern cars – notwithstanding all their technological advances – don’t get get particularly good gas mileage.

Back in the ’80s, many cars achieved 40-plus MPG on the highway – even though they didn’t have the advantages of modern engine technology. But they did have the advantage of 100 percent gas – not 10 percent ethanol-adulterated “gas.”

To continue reading: Pumping Us Up

The Renewable Fuels Con, by Eric Peters

Renewable fuel mandates are a racket. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

You can’t just sell gas anymore.

Most people don’t realize it, but what they’re pumping into their car’s tank isn’t actually gasoline, properly speaking. It’s gasoline mixed with ethanol alcohol – the ratio currently set at 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gas (E10).

“Diesel” often isn’t exactly diesel, either.   

The real stuff – the petroleum-based stuff – is mixed with bio-diesel, which is derived (like ethanol) from non-petroleum sources, usually vegetable matter.

The market isn’t demanding this – but the government is.

There is a law called the Renewable Fuel Standard. It  requires the “blending” of oceans of corn con ethanol and biodiesel boondoggle into the general fuel supply – ostensibly, to reduce America’s dependence on foreign (and non-renewable) oil.

Like so much that government does, it sounds good – but what it actually does isn’t so good.

The RFS has raised refining and distribution costs as well as the cost to motorists, who not only pay more for the Uncle-adulterated fuel but also for the fuel systems in their vehicles, which have had to be modified to be compatible with the not-quite-gas (and sort-of diesel) fuels the government is pushing.

These adulterated fuels are also – ironically – less efficient. A gallon of pure gas will take you farther than a gallon of 90 percent gas and 10 percent ethanol because the gallon of gas contains more energy than a gallon of E10.

As is almost reflexively true of everything the government mandates, we get less – and pay more for it.

But that doesn’t mean someone’s not making a buck – as is also usually true when government intervenes in the market.

In addition to the Usual Suspects – the ethanol lobby, for instance – there is a another group of crony capitalists making hay off the RFS mandate. These are the large refiners and chain gas stations, who can leverage – in the lingo of the federal bureaucracy – Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) credits to gain an unfair competitive advantage over smaller refiners and independent gas stations.

To continue reading: The Renewable Fuels Con

Is it a “Good Idea”? by Eric Peters

From Eric Peters, on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

The other day, I wrote about ethanol – the corn-sourced alcohol that’s used as a fuel additive in almost all the “gas” sold in the United States. Air quotes used because the “gas” is actually 10 percent ethanol.

Or, more.

I got replies – mostly favorable, a few not.

Some of the nots touted the virtues of ethanol – and I will freely admit there are some. As I hope the nots would acknowledge ethanol’s downsides.

It’s neither here nor there.

Let’s assume for the sake of discussion that ethanol is the ideal fuel. It’s still an irrelevance… morally speaking.

The issue – whether it’s ethanol or Obamacare or some other “program” – is whether the use of violence (threatened or actual) is morally justifiable. Debating the utilitarian merits (and deficits) of whatever it is we’re talking about sidesteps this fundamental point and by doing that, concedes the field. Or at the very least, keeps the matter open for discussion when it ought to be closed.

This – debating the utilitarian pros and cons – is key to the ongoing vitality (and viability) of the Red vs. Blue, Republican vs. Democrat, liberal vs. conservative puppet show.

There is no debate over the fundamental question. Just a discussion over how much violence will be visited on whom – and to what end. Who will benefit (and even profit)… and who will be compelled to provide those benefits (and profits).

This is why it doesn’t matter which candidate or party wins a given election. It’s the same as having an intermission at an auction – and announcing a new auctioneer for the second half of the auction. It’s why the debates are so tiresome – and why people (even though most probably don’t realize it) are so sick of it all. Everyone knows their lives and property are up on the block – that whether it’s Tweedledee or Tweedledum – they are going to be told what to do, how much they’ll pay and so on. It’s like being in a prison and always having to sleep with one eye open.

There is no “leave me be” option – and can’t be, so long as the question is even up for consideration. The very best one can hope for is a temporary respite or a slight decrease in the amount demanded or the control asserted. This is the sole and only difference between Team Red and Team Blue, between liberals and conservatives.

To continue reading: Is it a “Good Idea”?

Cruzing on Empty, by Eric Peters

Contemporary government and politics in a nutshell. From Eric Peters, on a guest post on theburningplatform.com:

Ethanol – corn alcohol – won’t take you as far as a gallon of gas.Cruz lead

But that doesn’t mean it is isn’t powerful stuff.

Politically powerful stuff.

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is feeling the heat right now as the ethanol lobby pressures him to openly commit to expanded support for federal ethanol mandates – a kowtow every recent presidential candidate from both parties has done up to now.

The ethanol lobby’s potency derives not only from the money it has and the campaign contributions it can make (or not) but also from the fact that – in a presidential election year – the Iowa Caucuses are critical.

And Iowa is a farm state.

Cruz has at least criticized the federal Renewable Fuels Standard – the law behind the force-feeding of ethanol alcohol down the gullets of Americans and their cars.

But The Lobby is very persuasive.

And we are not talking “family farms” here but rather, enormous agricultural combines that exploit the family farmer by applying artificial economic pressure (via government subsidies) to divert food crops to ethanol production. Corn that would otherwise be used to feed people – or animals that feed people – ends up being used to make ethanol, which is then mixed with gas in various concentrations.

Currently, 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop goes to ethanol production – up from just 10 percent as recently as 2005.
Most of the unleaded gas available in the United States is actually 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline. This fuel is labeled “E10″ gas.

Which would be ok … if that’s what the market wanted.

But it’s actually what the government (and corn lobby) want.

And now they want more.

Specifically, they want ethanol concentrations upped to 15 or even 25 percent (E15 and E25). And they want whomever is nominated and ultimately elected president to make it so.

Big money – and big pressure.

To continue reading: Cruzing on Empty