Maybe, just maybe, that whole ethanol/gasoline absurdity will fade away

The key reason ethanol is added to gasoline is very simple. Most of it is derived (in the US) from corn. Iowa, the first State in the Presidential election primary calendar grows lots of corn.
(To be sure, the so-called “oxygenation” additives to fuel have some, emphasize some, utility in reducing local air pollution in congested urban areas. But there are huge, make that HUGE, downsides to ethanol. Including massive increases in the price of food).

Now it’s starting to look like it’s losing some of its clout.

Per the Associated Press:
“That rule of politics collapsed resoundingly in the 2012 campaign when five of the six top Republican candidates said it was time for such intervention in the private market to end.

“Now, Iowa’s senior political leaders are pondering how to shore up political support for the corn-based fuel at a time when its economic and environmental benefits are under attack .”

6 responses to “Maybe, just maybe, that whole ethanol/gasoline absurdity will fade away

  1. Oxygenated fuels reduce carbon monoxides and VOC’s compared to the un-oxygenated fuel. Combustion of biodiesel significantly reduces CO and VOC’s compared to diesel combustion, but increases nitrogen oxides by 5-10%. The oxidative catalyst also removes CO and VOC in the exhaust and is primary means of removing those pollutants. Since catalysts work well with fuels without oxygen additives, we don’t need the additives to make the converter work. The converter won’t work for a short time after a cold start because it has to reach the catalyst “light-off” temperature of >350°F or so. Seems that all we are using the oxygenate is the short period after the vehicle is started and the catalyst is heated up. Are the supposed environmental benefits from reducing CO and VOC’s a few percent for a few minutes worth the cost of the ethanol? I doubt it.

  2. I spoke to a hog breeder in September. He said it cost $82 for corn to raise a hog for slaughter. It was $26 ten years ago – more than a 3X increase. Also 3x for beef. Corn is not a fuel.

    OBTW. ADM is the worst Federal subsidy whore and ethanol is their largest haul.

  3. I try to explain to people that, as the US is the world’s greatest exporter of corn, when corn prices go up (due to ethanol), food prices increase all over the world.
    It is impossible to measure how many people have suffered, starved and died in poor countries so that US enviros can brag about using ethanol in their cars.

    • My grand father used to tell us that for every dime the price of corn went up 1000 children died. I bet that number is even worse today.

  4. Don’t forget that the corn is converted to ethanol by yeast and yeasties break wind a lot while making alcohol.
    All that horrible CO2 is going into our atmosphere.

  5. Not to mention that more prairie is disappearing since it’s now very lucrative to plant corn on every square inch of available land. The wildlife is suffering along with us. It’s kind of like the enviros and their windmills which kill eagles by the thousands. Never mind, they don’t produce CO2 so they must be good. Idiots

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