Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ethanol: One Dang Poor Choice

I have known for a long time that much of the clamor for increased ethanol production is driven by those that exploit government subsidies for their personal financial gain. Ethanol has been proven to be one of the poorest choices for use as an alternative fuel yet the taxpayers continue to pony up billions of dollars each year to promote a failed science. Fuel efficiency drops and the price per gallon to the consumer rises. Why do we continue down this path when there are better alternatives? Our very own MSU-Northern has a wonderful program in place to develop bio-fuels which appear to be a cost effective alternative to our dependence on fossil fuels. Why aren’t we concentrating on bio-fuels?

News Radio 970 in Billings had this interesting tidbit posted on their website.
"Here is some food for thought: The amount of grain needed to fill the tank of an SUV with ethanol just once can feed one person for an entire year.

Another hard-hitting fact: The 107 million tons of grain that went to U.S. ethanol distilleries in 2009 was enough to feed 330 million people for one year at average world consumption levels, as stated in an article on Food Freedom’s website."
While I knew ethanol production raised corn prices it never occurred to me that the drive to mandate increased blends in our fuel actually could cause people to go hungry in third world countries. We need to end these tax wasting subsidies to ethanol producers.


  1. actually...
    since about '95...
    corn subsidy has amounted to over $73 bil.
    the bulk of the subsidy had nothing to do with fuel.
    who knows?
    so the question is...
    did the fuel ditty make for double subsidy?
    the biodiesel from the college is great fuel...runs about $8 per gal.
    probably could cut it in half with greater production.
    who cares about burning food...
    hell, america wastes 100 billion pounds each year.
    how many people could THAT feed.

  2. What's left of the corn after being fermented is used for livestock feed. So it does double duty.
    I am not sure ethanol from corn is the answer. Using corn as a fuel came out of the era of excess corn and wheat. I think maybe switching corn acres to potatoes or sugar beets for ethanol production would be more efficient.

  3. Ethanol is the only readily available alternative fuel source in America today. Our country has a serious addiction to foreign oil and in 2009, ethanol helped displace 364 million barrels of oil. Not only is ethanol reducing our countries dependence on foreign oil but it burns 52% cleaner than gasoline according to the EPA. Ethanol's by-product distiller grains will displace 1 billion bushels of corn fed to livestock in the United States alone. We need to get support ethanol as it will continue to create a marketplace for futuristic biofuel when they are commercially viable.

  4. krystil..

    good thoughts...
    corn is a commodity and prices can be all over the place. probably prices would rise with a large fuel change demand.
    currently bio is not marketable as an alternative because of price.
    also, got to think about how much fuel it takes to produce.
    old joke of more times you handle it the more money you make.

    i burned grain as an alternative to wood. didn't work well financially.