Thursday, June 11, 2009

The consumer deserves the whole truth on corn ethanol

Billy DeFrain’s outrageously inaccurate press release on behalf of the Nebraska Ethanol Board released June 10 is just another example of the corn-lobby-governmental disinformation campaign regarding the consumer costs of ethanol-diluted gasoline.

The corn ethanol advocates argue that the two most important points in favor of corn ethanol production are (1) energy independence and (2) fuel switching. Supply and demand microeconomics tell us that adding a new energy supply should reduce prices consumers pay at the pump. A look at the facts reveals something else.

First, it is imperative to understand that if we use corn to produce ethanol, less of it is available to feed the animals that we like to eat which increases pork, beef and chicken prices. Consumers do not win, farmers and ethanol producers do. While that may play in some parts of mid-America, it doesn’t reduce consumer cost, net. And net is what matters to those of us who buy food for our families and gasoline to get them.

Second, the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service periodical AG-687, hardly the bastion of “big oil”, states, “A gallon of ethanol does not contain as much energy as a gallon of gasoline.” This means that ethanol is not as energy productive as unleaded gasoline (76,000 BTUs per gallon versus 114,000 BTUs).

According to Mr.DeFrain, public information officer for the Nebraska Ethanol Board, in the aforementioned press release, June 10, “If all the fuel sold in Nebraska in the past five years was E-85, Nebraskans would have saved $2.6 billion.” This outrageous, fantasy proclamation, flies in the face of scientific fact: E-85 causes a noticeable drop in fuel economy, meaning that the consumer’s vehicles must use more of it to travel the same distance than when burning 100% unleaded gasoline. The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service estimates this drop to be in the 20-30% range, “depending upon the vehicle make and model.” Again, this is the result of the fact that E-85 contains 28% less energy than a gallon of regular gasoline.

A comparison of unleaded gasoline versus E-85 fuel economy values for all flex-fueled vehicles can be found at: Check my argument out for yourself. I suspect that you will find the data enlightening.

In conclusion, our economy is suffering because too many of us trusted what we were told about mortgages for our homes from the vested interests who financially benefited from the hype and the government officials, at all levels, touting “affordable housing for all.” Now, the Nebraska Corn Ethanol Board and others would have us believe that corn ethanol will provide affordable energy for all. I, for one, will not be fooled twice!!!

1 comment:

  1. Here Here, the truth is coming out on this scam. Ethonal's days are numbers if we can keep up the truth education campaign.

    So is global warming by the way.


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