Skip to comments.EPA is pressured to drop ethanol mandate while drought drives corn prices up
Posted on 08/17/2012 4:09:44 AM PDT by ShadowAce
With record drought destroying crops across the country, corn prices are skyrocketing, and that is causing a world-wide ripple effect, including on the cost of the corn-derived gasoline additive ethanol.
Corn prices are up 60 percent this summer, Christopher Hurt, a Purdue University economic professor, estimates. And now Democratic governors from Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina and Arkansas have joined ranchers, poultry farmers and the United Nations director-general for food and agriculture in asking the Environmental Protection Agency to waive the federal requirement that gasoline contain 10 percent ethanol.
"It's universally acknowledged that ethanol is raising the price of food," Kenneth Green of the American Enterprise Institute said. "It's not lowering the price of gas. In fact, it may be raising the price of gas, and it's having a devastating environmental effect in terms of coastal pollution."
Green says coastal "dead zones" may be increasing because of the run-off from fertilizer-intensive corn crops. But the human economic costs are potentially more severe.
The Department of Agriculture estimates that food inflation will hit 3 percent to 3.5 percent this year, then 3 percent to 4 percent next year. The U.S. is the world's largest food exporter. For the poorest countries dependent on U.S. exports of corn, the impact may cost lives.
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H.R.750 - Defending America’s Affordable Energy and Jobs Act
To preempt regulation of, action relating to, or consideration of greenhouse gases under Federal and common law on enactment of a Federal policy to mitigate climate change.
It effectively strips the EPA of regulatory power. Call your congressman today and encourage him to join the other 103 co sponsors.
The United States of America is importing corn.
How pathetic is that?
We have, after four years of Obama, become a Third World Hell-hole that can no longer feed our own people.
Not going to happen, typical enviros: Green on the outside Red in the middle. They know what is right and the rest of us are too stupid to understand, that they are saving mother earth.
Liberal logic - killing our young and burning our food for fuel makes us a better society.
Nonsense. The U.S. is and will remain the world’s leading corn exporter, although Brazil and Argentina are increasing production and gaining market share. But just because we’re a major exporter doesn’t mean that an occasional shipment won’t come in. It’s a global distribution network and buyers can source from anywhere. The U.S. has always had marginal corn imports because crafty traders played an angle that worked out. That may happen a bit more this year due to high prices and tight supplies because of the drought.
Ethanol is a total scam. It costs a lot to produce. It uses lots of water to produce. If leads to more farm subsidies. It increases the price of feed and food. It provides fewer miles-per-gallon. It is bad for small engines (lawn mowers, weed whips, etc.). Just get rid of it period.
Exactly. I remember reading a long time ago that, in terms of energy units, you get 1.1 units for every 1.0 units consumed in the ethanol production process. I can't remember the exact numbers, but if you use Switchgrass, which is essentially a weed, you get 1.8 units out for every 1.0 in. You don't suppose the corn lobby has anything to do with influencing the EPA, do you?
Watch out! There are many Freepers and a few trolls who will vilify you for any hint that ethanol is a scam. I happened to completely agree with you, but be prepared for a flaming.
I got slammed here in 2009 for posting the following - let's try again....
My Energy Manifesto:
* Cease all ethanol subsidies - and all energy subsidies for that matter. (If an entrepreneur want to go for it let ethanol be successful on its own merits with good ol American market forces.) Ethanol takes away from food production and the unintended consequence is higher food costs. As diesel prices go up, the cost of farming tips the balance of cost to make ethanol a bad idea. Just say "no" to ethanol! Even Jimmy Carter says that diverting farm production from food to fuel is dumb even HE gets it. This will create only ONE "blend" of gasoline and will cease regional "boutique" blends (gasohols) which are stupid, costly, and meaningless. Trucking custom blends around the country is wasteful. Ethanol blends may actually lead to fewer miles to the gallon, and adds to the cost of production and transportation. Newer cars do not need oxygenated fuels.
* Lift the restrictions in order to drill for oil in Alaska, Gulf of Mexico, and other sites in the CONUS as a matter of national security. The Crap-and-Charade bill does not address this at all.
* Encourage the petro industry to construct state-of-the-art refineries and/or retrofit current and dormant ones and crank up production for our newly-accessed oil in the CONUS. Use the "model" of the Joliet refinery, built in the late 1970's (it is still considered 'new' since few others have been built since). The Joliet refinery specializes in "sour-heavy" crude and ONLY cracks US-pumped oil. Screw the "light-sweet" from foreign countries who hate us. This is the ONLY way to attain independence from foreign oil. The Crap-and-Charade bill does not address this at all.
* Make all carbon credit scams unlawful, including "cap and trade" feel-good screwing of Americans. Discrediting Algore should have been a slam-dunk a long time ago. Stop electing Reps who buy into the Global Warming / Global Cooling / Climate Change Hoax. CO2 is not our enemy!
* Consider the construct SEVERAL, regional Pebble-Bed Modular Reactors (or other similar modern designs) that are rechargeable, and cleaner than any current nuclear generator design. If pebble-bed is not viable, build traditional ones. Refine spent nuke fuel for recycling. Re-open Yucca Mountain. DO SOMETHING NUCLEAR to resolve energy problems. The Crap-and-Charade bill does not address this at all.
* Use the residual heat from the reactors above to process motor fuel from coal and/or shale. Even though Clinton "stole" some of the best coal reserves, we still have a lot to use (much of it in Illinois which has high unemployment).
* Become independent enough to make the cartels (i.e. OPEC) inconsequential. The Crap-and-Charade bill does not address this at all.
* Lift or cap the tax on gasoline. When the tax is higher than the profit margin, the argument over what is obscene becomes moot. The Crap-and-Charade bill does not address this at all.
* List (chapter and verse) all the regulations and laws that need to be repealed in order to drill, and drill now. Use this list as the new "Contract With America for Energy Security". Have a mega-bill introduced that in one fell swoop removes the self-imposed energy embargo. California is dying from self-inflicted denial of oil.
If you squint real hard, and read between the lines, the manifesto will require fewer RINOs and LibDems and the election of some clear-minded conservatives to even consider the above.
I may be wrong about this, but I don’t think it would really matter in the short term if the EPA lifted the ethanol mandate. Refineries are already configured to produce gasoline based on the currently proscribed blend, and the entire industry has been set up to do this until the winter fuel grades are in place in early November.
Ethanol is killing our engines and killing our economy.
Get rid of it.
E-15 Ethanol Fuels are ready to ‘rock-n-roll’ (spit)
This should be fun to watch - I’d grab some popcorn but it’s getting too expensive to eat :)
Sounds like a very successful government program. Maybe we should triple its funding.
1. Aggressively build more wind turbines in the Upper Midwest, one of the best places in the world for wind power.
2. Aggressively build more solar farms in the US Southwest, one of the best places in the world for solar power.
3. Aggressively opening up more oilfields out in the continental shelves off the coast of the USA.
4. Aggressively develop the technology necessary to extract oil from shale rock in situ to open up around 1 trillion barrels of oil to the US market.
5. Aggressively develop the liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) nuclear reactor to take advantage of the huge amount of thorium-232 we have in reserve.
Do all these and we could cut oil imports to a tiny amount of what is done now.
The Democrat EPA of today wouldn’t dare give up the Ethanol regulations for fear it would be noticed there would be no change in atmospheric pollution, thus no reinstatement of the law upon arrival of better times, thus one less major contributing entity to the Democrat coffers.
Right on! I prefer to call them "Watermelons" although it is one of my favorite things to eat during the hot, summer months.
“Not going to happen, typical enviros: Green on the outside Red in the middle. They know what is right and the rest of us are too stupid to understand, that they are saving mother earth.”
And no one has the cajones to smack them on the nose with a newspaper and send them back under the porch, tail between their legs.
You need to add to your manifesto “Eliminate ethanol mandates” just doing away with the subsidy just moves the cost from one side to the other.
I would add something to all of this.
We have oil pipelines criss crossing the country. I would build secondary pipelines that would contain fresh water. On the coasts, build desalinization plants. In flood communities, build pumping stations.
We have enough water on this earth where any drout area would have desalized ocean water diverted to it. And in flood plains, we should have stations that would pump the water away from it.
Want a national infrastructure project that would open up new resources and working with private industry build new economies, this would be it.
If we discovered the ideal fuel today: cheap, non-polluting and plentiful, the Democrats would regulate and tax it out of existence. The EPA is not in business to save the environment, it is to make us slaves to the progressives.
Other than “cheap” the EPA has done just that with Nuclear.
The useless eaters at EPA will do nothing!
#1 because they don’t give a hoot about real world situations and problems
#2 because it is an election year and the effin Kenyan will not jeopardize any farm state votes
Romney gets in he should fire every last EPA tax sucking parasite, bulldoze their buildings and salt the soil. I can dream can’t I?
link for stations with real gas (no ethanol)
The real question is how do we get more stations to carry real gas? The closest one to me is about 2.5 hours away.
Is the corn variety grown to make ethanol the same as that used for any other use; animal feed, cornflakes, corn oil, and corn on the cob?
Fuel corn is the same as feed corn, I believe.
Burn the corn, you gotta feed the cows somehow. It's one of the reasons our grocery bills keep climbing.
About 99% of the corn grown in the U.S. is field corn. The other 1% is sweet corn used for corn on the cob and canned corn in the grocery stores. Corn flakes, corn meal and corn flour are, I believe, made mostly from field corn.
But most field corn is used as a livestock feed, so as the price of field corn goes up, the price of chickens, beef, and pork goes up. The one argument the ethanol people have is that after the ethanol is refined from the corn, the byproduct, called distiller’s grain, can be fed to animals as a food stock.
The dirty secret of ethanol is that it cuts mileage, so we’re getting little fuel value from it. If you use a gallon of pure gasoline and get 40 miles per gallon, and then use 90% of a gallon of pure gas and add 10% ethanol, and cut your mileage by 10% to 36 miles per gallon, you’d have gotten that same 36 mpg by just buying 9/10 of a gallon of gas and skipping the ethanol entirely.
The main justification for the ethanol mandate was to clean up emissions. MTBE was used before ethanol, but it was a severe pollutant of well water and isn’t used anymore. However, today’s engines have become so efficient that (I’ve read...not sure of this) that 95% of the emission-cleaning process is now being done by the engine itself, and that ethanol is only accomplishing 5% of what it did when the mandate was first imposed. (I’ve also heard that if you run a diesel truck with a modern engine through downtown Chicago, the air coming out of the exhaust pipe is cleaner than the air going into the engine intake. In other words, the truck could be cleaning the Chicago air. Don’t know if that’s true though.)
Note: Both of my assertions (mileage is cut so much that ethanol adds little value as a fuel, and engines are now much more efficient so ethanol adds little additional value for emission control) might be incorrect, so don’t treat them as factual. Both might be well be true, however.
If both are true, removal of the mandate would see ethanol production drop precipitously because car manufacturers would be producing cars that met emission standards using just regular gas, plus it would make no sense to add ethanol if it reduced the fuel value of the gasoline.
My Energy Manifesto:
If I may let me add; remove the import restrictions on diesel engines and the restrictions on building our own.
Reduce the tax on diesel fuel, diesel should not cost more than gas.
Wow! Martin O’Malley is actually making sense! Hell just froze over.
Maryland “Freak State” PING!
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