More from Sel on ethanol — Stuff to consider

So I am not finished with Sel Graham, my expert on ethanol and the awl (that’s oil for you yankees) industry.

It is mindboggling to consider that if Sel Graham was in charge of some things, we might be in better shape on oil policy.

Here we go, from the mouth of Sel, who is just a great guy from Austin,Texas and a great ally in the battle against stupid.

Sel says:

Someone needs to blow the whistle on the Congressman’s false claims.

I have offered a reward for years to anyone who brings proof that an oil producing company is given a federal subsidy. No takers so far.

Domestic oil is always cheaper than foreign oil. According to the DOE, the average price of domestic oil was $94.52 per barrel in 2012, while the average price of imported foreign oil was $101.00 per barrel. Since domestic oil was $6.48 per barrel cheaper than foreign oil, American consumers would have saved $20 billion if domestic oil had replaced foreign oil.

Refineries must pay for a Renewable Identification Number (RIN) for every gallon of ethanol which is not produced below the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The cost of these RIN waivers are passed on to consumers. The Wall Street Journal has called this a “Unicorn Tax,” a tax on something which does not exist. The 2013 RFS demands that 16.55 billion gallons of ethanol equals [42 gallons equals one barrel] 394 million barrels be blended with gasoline at the pump this year. Through August 2013, only 206 million barrels of ethanol had been produced, so only about 309 million barrels of ethanol are expected to be produced this year. Therefore, the projected shortfall in ethanol production is 85 million barrels (3.6 billion gallons). The Energy Information Administration reported that, as of October 30, the RIN price has averaged about 66 cents per gallon in 2013. Thus, ethanol has increased the price of gasoline at the pump about $2.4 billion.

Sel Graham

Well, imagine that I, a lowly emergency physician would suggest to the mighty members of Congress that they listen to Seldon Graham–I just know they would check their watches and calenders and decide it was time to move on, because they have no intention of fixing things–life in DC is about the status quo, the current stupidity, not fixing it.

If you think I am lucky to know people like Seldon Graham–you be right.

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12 responses to “More from Sel on ethanol — Stuff to consider

  1. Perhaps we need a “Seldon Crisis” to get off of ethanol.

  2. Didn’t a “Seldon Crisis” mean we would need to get off the planet? It has been a long time and the phrase barely rang a tiny chime, so I could well be very wrong.

    By the way, when I began to use 10% ethenol-spiked regular “unleaded” in my 4 cylinder compact car that I have been driving since 1993, my around-town fuel mileage declined by more than 10% per gallon of fuel. (Interstate mileage held up much better.) That indicates to me that for local driving, which is most of the miles that I drive, my car uses some part of the remaining 90% that is still gasoline just as a thermal booster to assist with the burning of the ethenol (that by law I must buy.) On a per mile basis, my car now burns more gasoline than before the ethenol was added plus the ethenol is now being burned. My car and I are doing our part to forestall the onset of any coming ice age, I guess. Maybe?

    • your in-town driving requires more power since you accellerate more often. Cruising on the highway really doesn’t need much horsepower, so the difference using corn isn’t as notable. My v6 camry (3.0L) saw the same ~10% drop.

  3. While traveling around the country this fall, I noticed that in some places (e.g., MO) you can buy gasoline without ethanol. It costs about the same as premium for regular, but I suspect the added gas mileage would be worth it. But really, non-ethanol gasoline should be cheaper to make, if the government wasn’t interfering. And why isn’t this type of fuel available everywhere?

    • federal mandates have targeted certain areas under the guise of reducing air pollution. Which of course, it really doesn’t.

  4. Soon after the use of ethanol started my daughter’s Cavalier started leaking gasoline from fuel injectors and other parts of the injector system. It cost me a couple hundred bucks to fix, but I heard some real horror stories from other makes/modesl of cars. The proposed increase to 15% will likely be quite expensive. Maybe the government can build a website so you can get subsidies for this mandate. Or maybe they can actually realize the economic and (government) revenue benefits from increased production from US resources.

  5. About 30 years ago in South Africa, I had a small Renault car (auto to you Yanks). Suddenly, my dual carburettors started acting up, and the garage mechanic told me there was some sort of corrosion build up, which was blocking the carb jets. It turned out that the Government-backed SASOL fuel producers has started adding (by regulation) some unknown proportion of alcohol to ALL petrol (gasoline) produced in SA. This caused the carbs of some makes of car to corrode.It took months (and probably a few ruined engines) before the ‘blend’ went back to normal.

  6. Not only is ethanol less efficient than gasoline 10-15% (look up the BTU of each), but it requires 1.3 gallons of fossil fuel equivalent to produce one gallon of ethanol. (Peter Jennings on ABC news as well as other sources.) There are recent stories of environmental damage from trying to increase ethanol production, (converting fragile rangeland into corn fields, pictures of erosion and even threatening to overrun a graveyard).

  7. Ethanol in gasoline has been very successful, winning the votes of midwesterners. All this pollution/efficiency talk is a non sequitur.

  8. Yeah. Politics trumps reality every time.

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