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The EPA claims that automakers are lying, and that E15 is perfectly safe for engines.  (Source: Hemmings Blog)

The EPA is trying to sneak E15 -- a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gas -- into the pump.  (Source: MPR News)

Corn ethanol gives worse gas mileage and, according to some studies, more air pollution than gasoline. It also raises food prices.  (Source: Dave Reede)
EPA: What could go wrong?

United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials, testifying to Congress on Wednesday implied that automakers like Ford Motor Company (F) and Toyota Motor Company (TYO:7203) were lying when they said higher ethanol blends could corrode seals, fuel lines, and engine components, voiding warranties.

I. EPA -- We Know Better About These Cars Than the People Who Built Them

The EPA is convinced that it knows about the risks better than the automakers who built and tested the cars.

At issue is the question of whether the EPA can authorize E15 fuel -- a 15 percent ethanol, 85 percent gasoline -- mix to be sold at pumps, with special stickers to warn customers.  E10 fuel, which contains a smaller 10 percent fraction of ethanol, is currently mandated by many states.  Approving E15 would clear the way for states to possibly mandate it as the exclusive fuel.

Margo Oge, director of the agency's Office of Transportation and Air Quality office, claims that her researchers conducted "extensive" tests using E15, which showed, "no unusual damage was found compared to control vehicles tested with normal gasoline."

Thus far General Motors Comp. (GM), who produces E85 (85 percent ethanol) capable FlexFuel vehicles, has been the only automaker to voice enthusiasm about the proposal.  The rest of the major U.S. and foreign automakers have complained that E15 could destroy engines in cars produced in 2001 or later.

Essentially, both sides are calling the others a liar in the dispute.

II. Ethanol Opposition is Solidifying

There are signs that opposition to the proposal is mounting in Congress.  Rep. Andy Harris (R-Maryland) blasted the measure, stating it wasn't a "science-based decision".

Overall, while green technologies like cellulosic ethanol seem promising, the case for the U.S.'s current ethanol supply -- corn ethanol -- isn't particularly compelling.  Corn ethanol has been shown to raise food prices and delivers worse gas mileage (ethanol exclusive engines can deliver better mileage, but mixed engines deliver worse performance when burning ethanol).  

Some studies have also shown that it produces more polluting gases, such as nitrogen and sulfur-containing compounds, than gasoline over its life cycle, thus deteriorating air quality.  Similarly, it produces more carbon emissions than gasoline.

Still, farming states have managed to push corn ethanol onto the nation.  The move paid off for a lucky few -- corn farmers grew wealthy the recipient of billions of dollars in subsidies and the politicians they donated to were reelected. 

However, the good times for corn ethanol proponents appear to be coming to an end in the U.S.  Just weeks ago the U.S. Congress repealed the $5.6B USD in incentives for corn ethanol.

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Here's the issue I see
By sprockkets on 7/8/2011 10:59:11 AM , Rating: 1
A local investigation by my local news found lots of gas stations putting in MORE than 10% ethanol as is, so if they allow 15%, you may end up actually getting 25%.

It's a bunch of crap as it is.

If the EPA want to shove more ethanol down our gas tanks, fine, IF and ONLY IF, they will promise to pay for the damage to our cars and our lawn equipment.

I doubt they would without a lawsuit.

RE: Here's the issue I see
By Motoman on 7/8/2011 11:04:02 AM , Rating: 1
...I was not under the impression that the ethanol was injected into the fuel at the gas station - it's brought to the gas station in it's for-sale form.


RE: Here's the issue I see
By tng on 7/8/2011 11:19:52 AM , Rating: 2
You are correct, blending happens before the fuel goes to the station.

I have seen similar TV reports from where I live that the "Up to 10%" ethanol is more like 12% in most cases. The problem that I had with the reports that I seen locally is that it seemed that there was barely any scientific method put into the testing.

RE: Here's the issue I see
By EJ257 on 7/8/2011 1:38:49 PM , Rating: 2
Is that because the ethanol settles out of the fuel so when new batch of fuel comes it's 10% ethanol but its mixing with fuel left over in the tank that is over 10% ethanol? Maybe someone could try to get a sample from the fuel truck.

RE: Here's the issue I see
By RU482 on 7/8/2011 1:34:33 PM , Rating: 2
I beleive there are two ways it can be done. The old way is to have it pre-blended at the distribution site. The newer way is to utilize a blend pump at the gas station. This way, the station only has to have two types of fuel delivered (87 and E85), but they can sell any mix of ethanol between 0 and 85%* (often, E85 is more like 70% ethanol, but that's a whole other issue)

There was a big to do not long ago about trying to allocate funds for grants so more fuel stations could install blend pumps.

RE: Here's the issue I see
By animekenji on 7/9/2011 7:54:16 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, but that is wrong. Gas stations currently get at least two grades of fuel delivered. (Sunoco may get 3 including the 94, but I'm not sure about that.) They get 87 and 93 and middle grades are blended from those. If the station runs out of either 87 or 93 then you cannot buy the middle grades, either.

RE: Here's the issue I see
By DerekZ06 on 7/10/2011 8:42:32 PM , Rating: 2
I worked in hyvee gas at one time. They had 4 separate tanks. Diesel, 87 unleaded gas, 89 10% ethanol blend super unleaded gas, and 93 Premium gas.

RE: Here's the issue I see
By RealTheXev on 7/11/2011 10:20:10 PM , Rating: 2
There are a (very) few stations left that get other gas delivered pre-blended to 89 as well (such as the one I work at, we're a weird freak location). The blending only pertains to octane rating, not Ethanol rating.

As for the fuel delivered to the station, we receive E10 according to the BOL's (Bill of Landing) we receive.

The common practice for C-store fueling stations is to have a tank (or a series of perhaps two tanks) with 87 blend, and another tank with 93, then to blend 88-92 octane gas from those (yes, some stations offer that many additional blends).

Some Sunoco stations sell 101 octane as well. I have seen 110 octane for sale at some high end drag race tracks.

Different stations/brads have different systems. If you want to see a great verity of different brands and systems, the greater Orlando area of FL is prob the #1 place I have been.

Also, feel free to ask the owner/operator questions about fuel. Some are very knowledgeable and will answer any questions you might have :)

RE: Here's the issue I see
RE: Here's the issue I see
By CZroe on 7/8/2011 11:25:35 AM , Rating: 2
I've encountered a bad blend before that stalled my new motorcycle a few years ago. If you allow 10%, there is an understanding that mistakes can happen and a bit more (15-20%) is likely to happen at some point and the engines need to tolerate it. Allowing 15% probably means we'll see 20-30% "mistakes" that will kill the cars.

The automakers have no reason to make this stuff up. What is their motive? This isn't the same as forcing higher fuel efficiency standards on them (CAFE) and discouraging sales with higher-priced vehicles. This is about all the vehicles that are already on the road. Also, to think that the EPA only cares about vehicles from the last 10 years is infuriating. Ever hear Toyota's estimate of the percentage of all non-crashed Toyota's ever made that are still on the road today? An awful lot of those are over 10 years old.

RE: Here's the issue I see
By Natch on 7/11/2011 11:27:25 AM , Rating: 2
Damage to the equipment, AND lower fuel mileage. Which is sort of ironic, since this administration is pushing so hard for auto makers to RAISE fuel mileage numbers on new vehicles!

Thus far General Motors Comp. (GM), who produces E85 (85 percent ethanol) capable FlexFuel vehicles, has been the only automaker to voice enthusiasm about the proposal.

Uh, yeah. Probably because they know that it won't hurt a flex fuel vehicle, that already has the seals and other components designed for 85% 15% probably won't hurt them much, will it?

One question I have, though. GM (as far as I know) doesn't charge extra for flex fuel engines in their vehicles. However, that's no guarantee that other car manufacturers will do the same. Does any think the current DC administration cares one bit about an added cost that could be passed on to the auto buying public? Is this really something they want to force on us, with the condition of the economy right now?

RE: Here's the issue I see
By Scabies on 7/12/2011 12:27:25 PM , Rating: 2
GM supporting due to FFV engine development, Obama supporting cornthanol (guess where they grow corn? and lots of it?).. does it surprise anyone that people are either making things up or ignoring facts in this situation?

The problem is easily distilled (pun). Ethanol combustion has water as a by-product. And guess what happens when water and metal are friends for a few years?

Better ways to do this.
By stimudent on 7/8/2011 10:51:22 AM , Rating: 5
We probably shouldn't be using any part of the food supply to fuel single occupant vehicles stuck in traffic jams. That would make our inefficient transportation system even worse in terms of waste.

RE: Better ways to do this.
By iowafarmer on 7/9/2011 10:47:46 AM , Rating: 2
DDG's, Dried distillers grains are a byproduct of ethanol production. DDG's are both exported and used as livestock, usually cattle (beef: steaks and hamburgers), feed. It's estimated that current DDG's would supply all the cattle feedlots feed needs in the United States.

"Ethanol Still Holds Promise":

RE: Better ways to do this.
By iowafarmer on 7/9/2011 11:05:44 AM , Rating: 2
Where is the edit button.

Should not have been "DDG's would supply all the cattle feedlot feed needs," but rather, "total cattle feedlot grain needs."

RE: Better ways to do this.
By PrinceGaz on 7/10/11, Rating: 0
RE: Better ways to do this.
By Arsynic on 7/11/2011 7:50:45 AM , Rating: 2
I hope this is a half-assed attempt at satire. For your sake.

By yottabit on 7/8/2011 3:35:37 PM , Rating: 4
"The rest of the major U.S. and foreign automakers have complained that E15 could destroy engines in cars produced in 2001 or later."

I think you meant to say "produced during or before 2001"

Also, you should really avoid saying things like "EPA CALLED AUTOMAKERS LIARS" when nothing like that happened. They came forward with a different study that showed no damage, I don't see any record of them trying to attack the automaker's credibility and that's a very important distinction.

RE: Revisions
By Targon on 7/9/2011 7:15:24 AM , Rating: 2
If you think about it, Ethanol reduces the overall fuel economy in vehicles. This means we spend more time filling our gas tanks, and that is time many of us could be working. So, is the government going to compensate me for that extra time it is FORCING me to spend?

Seriously, they want to regulate that new vehicles have to meet the CAFE standards of miles per gallon while forcing Ethanol on us that reduces our fuel economy. One or the other, but if new cars run cleaner, then it's not about the environment at all. The idiots in government have to make up their minds, increased MPG figures, or forcing garbage down our throats?

It's not about green
By DrApop on 7/8/2011 7:37:10 PM , Rating: 2
The concept of using ethanol was never about going green or increasing efficiency.

Use of ethanol (produced in america) was about lowering our dependence on foreign oil.

Not saying it's use is good or bad....just saying that many of you are jumping on an incorrect bandwagon.

And as far as "drill baby drill"....a large portion of the oil we drill (especially in Alaska) doesn't stay in the US. It goes overseas, never again seeing American shores.

RE: It's not about green
By animekenji on 7/9/2011 7:57:18 PM , Rating: 2
If they want to reduce dependence on foreign oil (another lie) they would be tapping every oil filled hole in America instead of wasting our farmland resources like this.

RE: It's not about green
By Chernobyl68 on 7/11/2011 12:47:12 PM , Rating: 2
those wells that aren't in operation in the US may still have some oil in them, but so much has been pumped out already that what is left is harder to get. It costs more to get it there than it does to buy from overseas. When crude prices increase, then they can be put back in operation.

Your point?...
By knutjb on 7/11/2011 1:24:53 AM , Rating: 2
Most of you have wandered off the point of the article. The EPA's bureaucrats said we don't care what Ford or Toyota say from their vast engineering knowledge. We, the EPA bureaucracy, will unilaterally do as we please and whose to stop us.

The arbitrary actions from "well intended" government bureaucrats without regard to the end user or the manufacturing community whose products, resultant reputation, and bottom line will be affected.

Government has a horrible record in picking favorites. $6B to corn farmers plus the cost of ethanol is quite the scam.

In the end its the consumer who is left footing the bill for a new vehicle because their aren't any good used ones available. Cash for clunkers ring a bell? Among those needing a new ride the poor take the greatest hit due to limited used car supplies and cash.

This is an ugly picture painted by the nameless, faceless bureaucracy. Why, well, you're too stupid to choose what's in your best interest. Thank you progressives...

RE: Your point?...
By tng on 7/11/2011 11:40:56 AM , Rating: 2
The arbitrary actions from "well intended" government bureaucrats without regard to the end user or the manufacturing community whose products, resultant reputation, and bottom line will be affected.
Seen this before, where people in large organizations let that organization become their life. They live, drink and breath the organization, and their personal lives are filled with other people who work where they do, they have 24 hour reinforcement that their life's work and opinions are the only ones that matter.

Therefore when outsiders such as Ford, Toyota, or even pesky voters disagree with them, they are secure in the knowledge that they know better. They have no concept of what goes on in someone else's life or business outside the wall of the bureaucracy they live in.

Largest scam out there
By overlandpark4me on 7/10/2011 12:23:19 AM , Rating: 3
You don't raid the food supply for fuel, period. ethanol is crap because it hurts your mileage and it is hard on your motor, period. Not to mention the fact that it isn't economical to make. Why do you think feed and dairy have skyrocketed like they have?

By DrSpaceman on 7/10/2011 12:40:46 AM , Rating: 3
More importantly, because of corn based ethanol, we may face a tequila shortage... Now that's bad news!

Seriously tho, the rising price of corn has convinced many Mexican agave farmers to switch over to corn which is now much more lucrative...

And you thought rising gas prices were bad?? Just wait a few years and see how bad tequila prices get!!

Oh, the humanity!!!

RE: Tequila
By Bad-Karma on 7/11/11, Rating: 0
Pendulum swing
By RU482 on 7/8/2011 12:18:28 PM , Rating: 2
The Ethanol Bboom is the opposite end of the pendulum swing from the Farm Aid, poor broke dying american farmer era.

blah blah blah about there being no small farms anymore. There's no small anything anymore, so why should farms be different.

dea EPA
By shin0bi272 on 7/8/2011 12:56:16 PM , Rating: 2
when you design, build, test, and market a car then you can open your mouth... till then. STFU you ecomentalist freaks!

EPA is full of ..... corn
By lesbaer45 on 7/8/2011 3:59:26 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah. Ethanol is perfectly safe. We tested it. Extensively.

Apparently Stihl is lying as well.

Specifically, the levels of ethanol , aromatics or other additives in some gasoline sold in the United States may distort parts of the fuel cap, which could make caps more difficult to install and/or remove. If a fuel cap is not properly installed and fuel spillage results, there is a risk of fire if an ignition source is present, which could result in a burn injury to the consumer.

Corn Stuff
By iowafarmer on 7/8/2011 8:14:36 PM , Rating: 2
I produce corn because there is infrastructure and a market for it. The acres I plant to cash crops go half to corn and half to soybeans. If I want to stay in business my best option as an iowa farmer is to produce corn and soybeans on my crop acres. I'd like to share a little chart on US corn production from the 60's to the present. It is interesting that dated 60's practices and production data are often used to show how inefficient it is to produce corn/ethanol.

year___|_Planted_|_Yield__|_ Production
1960__|__81M__|__55bu_|_03.9 B Bu
1970__|__66M__|__72bu_|_04.1 B Bu
1980__|__84M__|__91bu_|_06.6 B Bu
1990__|__74M__|_118bu_|_07.9 B Bu
2000__|__80M__|_137bu_|_09.4 B Bu
2010__|__88M__|_153bu_|_12.4 B Bu

My source is the USDA:

Brazil has been importing us ethanol. Source (Reuters)


and from south dakota

The USA is currently the least cost producer of ethanol. Source (RFA)

Brazil might cut mandated ethanol blend from 25% to 18%. Source (Platts)

We know how to produce ethanol from corn. Now lets move on to the next generations, from waste, cellulosic and others.

Ok then...
By Jeff7181 on 7/9/2011 6:30:37 PM , Rating: 2
Lets do a real world test, with the personal vehicles of EPA employees.

By ninainaidbuxing on 7/11/2011 7:20:09 AM , Rating: 2

I tide fashion Good-looking, not expensive Free transport

By tangtangtan on 7/11/2011 9:58:42 AM , Rating: 2

I tide fashion Good-looking, not expensive Free transport

By adiposity on 7/11/2011 12:49:56 PM , Rating: 2
Are any of these quotes accurate, or are they just sensationalist spin?

EPA Calls Automakers Liars, Says Cars Can Handle Higher Ethanol Blend

The EPA claims that automakers are lying, and that E15 is perfectly safe for engines.

EPA -- We Know Better About These Cars Than the People Who Built Them

The EPA is convinced that it knows about the risks better than the automakers who built and tested the cars.

E10? How about E0?
By RealTheXev on 7/11/2011 10:10:12 PM , Rating: 2
There is a nearby station that sells 100% Gasoline with no added ethanol. People are lining up to pay extra for it because some cars run like crap on E10 blends.

By Fenixgoon on 7/9/2011 12:31:10 AM , Rating: 1
2009 Yamaha FZ6R Motorcycle Owner's Manual:
There are two types of gasohol: gasohol that contains ethanol and that contains methanol. Gasohol containing ethanol can be used if the ethanol content does not exceed 10% (E10).

2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T Owner's Manual
Do not use gasohol containing more than 10% ethanol, and do not use gasoline or gasohol containing any methanol.

So yes, E15 would most certainly destroy tons and tons of vehicles on the road. Considering both of mine are relatively new, I can only shudder at what would happen to older vehicles.

By zxcvb20 on 7/10/2011 7:28:06 AM , Rating: 1

I tide fashion Good-looking, not expensive Free transport

By babanbang on 7/8/11, Rating: 0
By nvnvlai3535 on 7/9/11, Rating: 0
By juansm123 on 7/9/11, Rating: 0
die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By Pirks on 7/8/11, Rating: -1
RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By Blight AC on 7/8/11, Rating: 0
RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By Motoman on 7/8/2011 11:02:58 AM , Rating: 4
Fuel from dedicated crops will never be a good idea. Never.

Either work on processes that don't require dedicated processing ditchweed, poultry offal, or maybe algae...or GTFO.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By MonkeyPaw on 7/8/2011 11:38:52 AM , Rating: 2
Almost all the corn you see growing out there is not suitable for immediate consumption. Instead, its fed to likestock, whllich slowly kills them; its turned to food products that slowly kill you, or its turned into crappy polluting fuel. Sweet corn might be tastey, but high starch corn is useless without lots of irrigation, pesticides, processing, and corporate strong-arming. Its only used because there's already a system to grow and harvest it, and there's a government subsidy encouraging its planting. EPA + FDA = FAIL

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By Motoman on 7/8/2011 11:59:34 AM , Rating: 4
Doesn't matter if the crop is directly for human consumption or not.

The fact of the matter is that any arable land that is used for fuel is land that isn't used for food - whether that's to grow feed for cattle or for peas that humans eat directly is irrelevant.

There's a finite amount of arable soil. Use it for the food system, not the fuel system.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By Samus on 7/8/11, Rating: 0
By ebakke on 7/8/2011 1:33:24 PM , Rating: 2
If you have so much surplus corn that we are going to turn it into a crappy fuel substitute, its a no brainer that it is a crap crop.
We're not turning it into fuel because we have tons of it lying around that we don't know what to do with. We're turning it into fuel because there's money and power to be made in doing so.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By Reclaimer77 on 7/9/2011 12:54:59 AM , Rating: 1
We don't need the food. We have TOO MUCH farmland. We have so much farmland and farmers, we stupidly pay people to NOT grow food.

I hate to sound cruel, but times change. It's 2011, and there are lots of farmers who need to find some other way to use their land to make money besides trying to farm.

But hey, why do that when you can form a huge lobby, bribe politicians, and pretend you're still relevant.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By superstition on 7/9/2011 5:56:04 PM , Rating: 1
"We have TOO MUCH farmland."


Best joke I've heard in ages.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By Reclaimer77 on 7/9/2011 6:00:07 PM , Rating: 1
Oh let me guess, you're one of those people who assume because there are starving people, we don't have enough food production.

Again, we actually pay people to NOT farm because we have such high yearly surpluses of foodstuffs. We have too much farmland, simple logic.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By animekenji on 7/9/2011 8:02:58 PM , Rating: 2
Ummm isn't the cause of starvation a lack of food? Grow more food and you feed more people. Even a 5 year old gets that, why don't you?

By Reclaimer77 on 7/9/2011 9:51:18 PM , Rating: 2
No, that's retarded. If a kid is living on the street and starving, is there a lack of food? NO! He just doesn't have the means to GET the food.

Starvation does not mean there isn't an abundance of food. There's no food shortage in America and other industrialized nations. Starvation is a social and economic condition.

By MartyLK on 7/9/2011 8:05:33 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe, but consider all the other non-consumable crops being farmed. Cotton is a major non-consumable. I think they can, and actually already do, farm non-consumable crops alongside the the consumables without degrading the consumables.

By Bad-Karma on 7/8/2011 5:39:35 PM , Rating: 5
The corn your talking about is termed "Dent Corn", you can identify it by the dimple at the top of the kernel. And yes, if you eat it raw it will kill you though the 3 "D"s. Disentary, Diarea, Death.

However you happen to eat it all the time. Corn meals and most Mexican applications (think Masa which used in just about everything) process the ground corn using a lye soak to remove the toxins. After processing it is perfectly safe. You not going to die from binging on Doritoes.

Sweet corn is usually sold directly on the cob or canned. But is a very small percentage of the US corn harvest.

Secondly, it doesn't "slowly" kill cattle. Corn fed beef is fed straight unprocesed dent corn. Most cattle are harvested at 18-22 months of age. They die perfectly healthy, its the slaughter house that gets death going for the cow.

We've got 20 year old corn fed breeding bulls on my brothers farm in Colorado that are pefectly healthy.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By hanmen on 7/10/11, Rating: 0
RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By MrBungle123 on 7/8/2011 11:27:06 AM , Rating: 2
Given our current methods of producing ethanol no matter how good the ethanol cars become it will always be a bad idea. We just don't net enough energy from the ethanol to make up for what goes into making the stuff. Electrics could be a viable option but we need more power plants faster charging batteries.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By titanmiller on 7/8/2011 8:54:19 PM , Rating: 2
I hear this argument over and over again and I am not convinced that it is true at all. You can get about 2.77 gallons of ethanol per bushel of corn. If one acre produces 200 bushels then you can get up to 554 gallons of pure ethanol per acre of land. Are you trying to tell me that it takes 554 gallons of petroleum based fuel to grow, harvest, and transport the corn grown on one measly acre? Yes, I also realize that the ethanol production process uses energy, but there is no way that 500 gallons worth of energy is used.

The math just doesn't add up unless the utmost care is taken to use the very worst case scenario for every single variable (including producing new farm equipment every season and throwing away last year's model in the junk yard).

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By superstition on 7/8/2011 11:16:37 PM , Rating: 1
You need to take all the negative factors into account, including the very real and too often overlooked problem of water pollution. There is also soil degradation (Law of Conservation of Matter/Energy) due to use of fertilizers and so forth.

In any case, ethanol is not a good molecule for fuel because it's not only corrosive but attracts water. It's also not so efficient because of the -OH group.

It's better to produce biodiesel and blend it. USLD blended with about 1.5% biodiesel has better lubricity. In fact, it enables USLD to meet the standard of engine makers. Our fuel standard fails to meet the 460 wear scar spec.

By Alexstarfire on 7/8/2011 11:46:36 PM , Rating: 2
He also forgot that petrol and ethanol aren't equivalent. It'd take less petrol to equal the 554 or so gallons of ethanol that he's talking about. IDK if the numbers add up either but I've never tried to check the numbers. The idea wasn't all that bad to start with..... they just morphed it into something completely retarded when it was implemented.... like most things that come from DC.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By Zoomer on 7/9/2011 11:18:52 AM , Rating: 2
Fertilizers? Keep in mind these are usually made from petroleum/NG byproducts nowadays.

By iowafarmer on 7/9/2011 1:52:48 PM , Rating: 2
Correct most of the anhydrous nitrogen fertilizer applied is made from natural gas. In the neighborhood of 1 pound of nitrogen is used for 1 bushel of corn yield. I hope to produce over 200 bu of corn per acre this year. I use a corn soybean crop rotation. Soybeans fix about 1 pound of nitrogen per 1 bushel of yield. So I applied 120 pounds of Nitrogen using anhydrous ammonia, NH3, it's applied with an applicator as a gas. I figure better than 60 lbs of nitrogen was fixed by last years soybean crop and there is a 28 pound nitrogen component in the dry fertilizer, potassium and phosphorus, I apply; 28-60-100 units in pounds per acre. I also apply a half dozen pounds of micro nutrients, mainly zinc and sulfur. So this year I figure my corn has about 208 pounds of usable nitrogen per acre.

My soils are sampled for PH and minerals on a periodic basis because the balance of minerals and the PH of the soil are important to the health of the plants and affect yield. If the PH is out of balance I will apply limestone to bring the soil back into the optimum PH range.

I can not speak for other farmers but I will use 3-4 gal. of diesel per acre on my farm this year. Last year I used no LPG to dry my corn to a moisture suitable for long term storage. But on average 1 gal of LPG will dry 10-15 bushel of corn for long term storage.

BTW the minerals do not disappear, but I feed the crop the minerals that are removed from my farm with the grain. In theory if the grain was not removed from the farm I wouldn't need an outside source of P and K.

Corn breeders are said to be working on corn varieties that "fix" their own nitrogen.

By animekenji on 7/9/2011 8:04:59 PM , Rating: 2
Nope. Wrong again. They just did a study in England where they found out that the energy used and pollution caused in producing an all electric car is equal to the energy and pollution saved in 160,000km of driving said electric car, so even pure electrics are negative sum energy and pollution losers.

By WinstonSmith on 7/9/2011 10:45:18 AM , Rating: 1
"Because we really should pursue and push renewable energy resources instead of just going along with gasoline."

Depending upon what study you read, the production of ethanol from corn can actually consume more energy than it produces. It is also a FACT that it drives up food prices (the price of corn took a nose dive when the ethanol subsidies were repealed).

I can go with any _energy balance positive_ production of ethanol from anything other than human food products, such as production from cellulose, but using food, no way.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By 91TTZ on 7/11/2011 2:32:01 PM , Rating: 2
Electric Cars and Ethanol aren't currently perfect options, but if we at least work on it as hard as we've worked on Gasoline engines, then they could be better than gas.

Ethanol contains less energy per gallon than gasoline does. Therefore it's not possible to make an engine get better fuel economy on ethanol than gas all other things being equal. If you make a better engine design for ethanol that gets better fuel economy, those same tricks will get you even better fuel economy on gasoline.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By tng on 7/8/2011 11:00:49 AM , Rating: 2
Margo Oge, director of the agency's Office of Transportation and Air Quality office, claims that her researchers conducted "extensive" tests
It is doubtful that the tests that they conducted were "extensive" enough to rule out what Ford and Toyota claim. Government agencies with agendas always get their way. If Congress shoots them down they will just regulate it into existence and bypass the voters. After all we just don't know what is good for us....

By MrBungle123 on 7/8/2011 11:05:31 AM , Rating: 2
It is doubtful that the tests that they conducted were "extensive" enough to rule out what Ford and Toyota claim. Government agencies with agendas always get their way. If Congress shoots them down they will just regulate it into existence and bypass the voters.

They probably only tested Government Motors vehicles.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By Flunk on 7/8/2011 12:02:24 PM , Rating: 2
None of this changes the fact that E15 invalidates the warranties of most major brands. I personally would rather the option to buy real gasoline, rather than be forced to buy these mileage-robbing gasohol mixes. A 15% premium over this junk would definitely be worth preventing the engine damage that it might cause.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By inperfectdarkness on 7/8/11, Rating: 0
RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By HrilL on 7/8/2011 2:59:02 PM , Rating: 1
I think you miss the fact that we do import ethanol from countries in South America (Brazil mainly) and Sell our subsidized ethanol to Europe. The American Tax payer has been paying for Europeans to have cheaper ethanol.

As for cars running E15 fine or not. I could careless. They'll be robbed mileage out of every gallon. Who wants to spend money on replacing all those things when its completely not needed.

The EPA is a government body that is there to screw people. When we removed lead from gas that also caused more damage to engines. If they're supposed to be protecting the environment then why are they trying to force ethanol on us when it is clearly worse for the environment over all. What a sham the EPA is.

By Bad-Karma on 7/8/2011 5:19:17 PM , Rating: 1
I think your getting your alcohols type mixed up . Methanol is commonly used in high performance and racing engines. Ethanol doesn't have anywhere near as much punch.

Ethanol and methanol are different beast all together.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By protosv on 7/8/2011 3:00:58 PM , Rating: 2
Ethanol may be a superior racing fuel, but it is only superior for use with engines designed for racing. Our vehicles are largely designed to achieve the highest power and fuel economy from gasoline, not ethanol.

Also, we're not impeding your choice to purchase and use ethanol. In fact, more correctly, it is YOU (well, at least this government policy, which I'm assuming you support) who is impeding US from choosing to use pure gasoline in our motor vehicles. By mandating that 10% ethanol be mixed with gasoline, the government effectively forces this on all of us. And now the EPA wishes to further encroach upon the auto industry (which we already were forced to bail out) by proposing a 15% fuel-ethanol blend.

At the same time, they're removing ethanol subsidies, which drive up the price of ethanol. So, we are forced to use more of a less efficient fuel, which will cost us more to purchase per unit, effectively driving up gasoline prices. The subsidy to corn farmers for ethanol hasn't actually disappeared, we're just going to be paying for it directly at the pump now instead of with our taxes (which won't decrease in proportion I'm sure). It won't ever go away until we get rid of this silly ethanol mandate until such a time that biofuel manufacturing technology has advanced to the point where we can yield a net energy GAIN on the fuel produced (algae-based biodiesel is on it's way, IMO). Personally, I don't think ethanol will ever make to that point as a fuel.

I'm not saying we shouldn't be pushing the auto industry towards higher fuel economy, but we can't simultaneously demand higher MPG while mandating use of less efficient fuel. Instead, just mandate a higher fuel economy and emission standards by a certain point in the future, and let the auto industry figure out how to meet that goal, using whatever means they deem most efficient. The free market isn't the answer to everything, but in this case, there's enough government regulation already to push innovation and progress. You gotta give the free market at least a little room to operate here.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By inperfectdarkness on 7/8/2011 4:32:01 PM , Rating: 1
you're touching on the crux of the problem; namely that e85 hasn't seen widespread adoption, due to lack of availability at gas stations--as well as a lack of vehicles that can utilize it (other than GM's offerings).

why e15 makes sense is that making it a unilateral change for all pumps means that all manufacturers have to climb on-board in supporting it as a fuel source. this means that there manufacture of cars incompatible with ethanol-blend fuels will eventually cease.

better still, this means that octane ratings will begin to creep upward. and, since e15 is the new minimum, eventually manufacturers can begin to capitalize on this newer, higher-octane fuel by making cars tailored to using it.

i'm not a fan of "across the board" mpg ratings. i'd much rather our MPG be tied to power-output. a vehicle rated for 400hp should be held to different MPG standards than one making 200hp. and why not? a higher hp vehicle will naturally consume more fuel. it's not fair to expect a c6 corvette to get 50mpg.

a 1.5L I-4 running on e85 at a 15:1 compression ratio makes roughly equivalent power to a 2.0L I-4 (same engine design) on 9:1 compression. MPG ratings between the two would be virtually identical. this is not a "race-car only" fuel. e85 can easily be adopted to all consumer cars, if it becomes an adopted standard octane. similarly, if 93 octane was never made a standard, most high-performance cars would never have been able to utilize it to achieve their impressive performance numbers. this goes double for turbocharged cars.

what the DT pundits often seem to forget is that increased compression = better burn characteristics, yielding more power. yes, on paper, a gallon of pure 93 octane gasoline has more BTU's than a gallon of e85. the reality though, is that e85 has a significantly higher octane rating; so its combustion yields a higher net energy than 93 octane in an internal combustion engine.

no one wanted unleaded gas either; but it wasn't that hard to adapt to. i know. i remember the switch over. until and unless we have the capacity to put e85 in every pump across the country, we should stick to gradually upping the ethanol percentages every 5-10 years. this will ensure that all ethanol we do produce is utilized; that we don't create excessive demand on the market (or drive up the cost of foods), and that manufacturers can begin to produce engines that capitalize on the inherent combustion benefits of ethanol.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By Alexvrb on 7/9/2011 12:09:12 AM , Rating: 2
You assume that Octane ratings will go up, because ethanol has a higher octane rating. But you're making a bad assumption. Octane ratings between regular gasoline and E10 didn't change. 87 is still 87, 93 is still 93, etc. Do you know WHY? Because when they blend the fuel, they take the ethanol content into account! So if they change to E15, they'll just use even lower octane gasoline, blended with more ethanol to bring the octane rating back to where it is today. In other words, no positive change for E15 over E10, and lots of drawbacks.

As far as E85 and higher compression ratios, that's all well and good. Except that if you FULLY optimize an engine for E85, you lose the capability to run E10/E15 of any octane. Even then, you STILL don't get as much energy out of a gallon of E85, especially in your comparison to 93 octane. Not unless you continue to use poor compression ratios (9:1? Really? An old cast iron pushrod motor could do that easily, let alone a modern engine) when comparing 93 octane to E85.

By inperfectdarkness on 7/9/2011 8:23:40 AM , Rating: 2
and if ethanol ratings don't go up with e15, then gas prices should plummet even further; because now they can include even crummier octane into the mix--and crummy octane (or rather heptane) is cheaper than good octane.

and let's be honest, 9:1 isn't 93-only. it's generally used for 87 octane cars. i just picked 9:1 as an example, because the vast majority of (naturally aspirated) gasoline engines currently in use are 9:1 compression.

By FITCamaro on 7/9/2011 11:54:33 AM , Rating: 1
The only cars that use 9:1 compression ratios these days are those that are supercharged or turbocharged. Any other engine these days is at least 10:1 if not higher. Engines like the LS7 are 12:1. My LS2 is 10.9:1. Even smaller 4 cylinder engines are around that compression.

Cars haven't been at 9:1 compression ratios since the 80s and early 90s.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By TimboG on 7/10/2011 11:48:42 AM , Rating: 2
So far all you guys that love ethanol keep saying are positive or equivalent numbers in horsepower in your comparisons.
The real problem with ethanol is in its inability to produce equivalent torque.

It takes BTU to produce torque which ethanol severely lacks.
If you have a problem understanding this then tell me ONE example of a vehicle that gets 40 MPG while running in the rpm range of its horsepower output.

The truth is that in order to raise MPG the engine has to operate at the lowest possible RPM at all given MPH. This requires producing enough torque to propel the vehicle at highway speeds all while running at the lowest possible RPM.

Yep, I’ll agree with the “racing fuel” comparison. Let’s see, a racing engine uses 8 times the normal fuel consumption and is ALWAYS running at an RPM that is within that engines horsepower range.
See any racing engines running 1800 RPM while going down the back straight?

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By cmdrdredd on 7/8/11, Rating: 0
RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By inperfectdarkness on 7/8/2011 4:37:19 PM , Rating: 1
i can spend ~$100 and have my car's fuel system e85 compatible in less than 1 hour. (fuel pump $75, filter $15, o-rings ~$10).

i repeat, it is NOT a big deal. i know because i've done it to several cars, and helped a few others do it as well. your comment might as well be "she's a witch, burn her!" for all the lack of intelligence it demonstrates.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By QuimaxW on 7/8/2011 5:42:46 PM , Rating: 4
This is a big deal in my car.

Fuel pump = $80 (that's the cheap one, others go up to $150+)
Fuel filter = $10
O-Rings = $5
Ok...less than $100 in parts, if I buy them myself. This is easily $200 if my mechanic orders them.

Now to the labor:
Fuel pump install...4 hours. IF everything actually comes off and nothing is rusted on, ect. The entire fuel tank needs to be dropped to do this.
Fuel filter...1 hour, it's buried somewhere deep in the engine bay. Still assuming everything actually comes apart as it should.
O-Rings...yea, that's another 3-4 hours, they are under the intake manifold. Oh yea, the injectors often break when they are pulled and need to be cut out the hard way.

Totals @ $85/hour my mechanic charges:
Parts: $100 (we'll assume I bought my own)
Labor: $680 (we'll assume it only took 8 hours)
Total: $780 + tax and shop charges, ect.

That's about 80% of my car's resale value, IF everything goes properly. Oh yea, the car works FINE right now and you're telling me it's not a big deal to spend nearly $1000 dollars on it?

By inperfectdarkness on 7/9/2011 8:18:57 AM , Rating: 1
if that's how much your car is worth now, you won't be driving it in 5 years anyways.

By animekenji on 7/9/2011 7:50:44 PM , Rating: 2
You also have to reprogram the computer because a computer programmed to burn pure gasoline will not automatically adjust to E85, so you're the one who looks like an idiot now. Oh, and in case you were wondering, I work in Ford parts and the part numbers of the computers for Flex fuel vehicles is not the same as for ordinary gasoline powered vehicles and the two are not interchangeable.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By chick0n on 7/10/2011 7:48:48 AM , Rating: 2
I guess you miss the point.

Why would I want to use something that's known to be garbage, produce less energy, higher emission and most important is, it cost more ?

Fuel Pump/Filter/Gasket is not the only issue, you forgot the fuel delivery pipe, Fuel injectors, Rack, and most important, the engine itself. Look at Brazil, their cars are "designed for Ethanol" right? but their cars breaks every 3 years. what problem huh ?

Renewable Energy is good but obvious Ethanol is not the answer. The only reason it's still here because the Corn lobby is bribing people left and right, but now the government is really out of money Let's just hope this Garbage crap die ASAP.

EPA can go suck it, keep taking money from lobby. Oh yeah.

By iowafarmer on 7/10/2011 9:01:08 PM , Rating: 2
There is a corn checkoff promoted and mandated by the government.

They collect $.0075 per bushel sold. So lets just say on the 2010 12.5 B Bu crop there was less than $120 million collected. It's suggested that most of the money is spent on administration, research, promoting exports and education. Their operations are a matter of public record. I'd really like someone to point out to me why they are unable to at least educate the public about their food supply and the current state of ethanol produced with corn.

lately it has been reported that some ethanol plants are salvaging wheat damaged by unfavorable weather conditions for current production.

Currently all farm ag subsidies are decoupled from production. Subsidies paid to farmers provide no incentive to raise one crop over another. Most farmers I know would rather the public relations subsidy nightmare for farmers would just go away. The subsides are just large enough that it pays a farmer to go to the local FSA office to report his business secrets. The government also supports federal crop insurance to protect insured farmers from crop failures and losses. The USDA reports are public record as is the farm census if you are interested in looking into the information farmers and agribusiness are reporting to the government.

You would thing the farm lobby wouldn't make it so hard for the public to gather current, accurate, information about issues important to farmers and agriculture. How wired seems to have come as close to publishing close to accurate information about the current state of US ethanol production is remarkable:

By animekenji on 7/9/2011 7:46:21 PM , Rating: 2
What you're also not being told is that ethanol scrubs the thin layer of oil from the cylinder walls inside your engine and causes friction and heat. Without that thin layer of oil, your engine will seize up. This is the reason why carmakers will void your warranty if E15 is used. With the cost of replacing an engine these days, the last thing we want is the government forcing a fuel on us that causes engine damage.

RE: die corn ethanol diiieeee!!!!!!
By 91TTZ on 7/11/2011 2:34:52 PM , Rating: 2
only on DT does ethanol seem to get such a bad rap. every single performance automotive forum has a HIGHLY APPROVING view of ethanol, given that it's essentially race gas at 1/3 the price.

Yeah, but those people care more about power than fuel economy. Ethanol enables you to run a higher compression ratio and/or more boost from a turbo/supercharger. The EPA isn't a performance group, they care about fuel economy and emissions.

By RandomDude2 on 7/8/2011 4:56:25 PM , Rating: 2
Just switch over to the real cash crop....Yes we Cannabis!

They're both Wrong
By shabodah on 7/8/11, Rating: -1
RE: They're both Wrong
By RU482 on 7/8/2011 12:21:44 PM , Rating: 2
amen on the food/fuel garbage

Also, living in Iowa, I'd love to buy an E-85 only car

RE: They're both Wrong
By NovoRei on 7/8/2011 12:44:52 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly. Couldn't be more precise.

In Brazil this was done with the program called "pro-alcool" or pro-ethanol if you prefer. But it was E100 fuel. E85 has the advantage of cold-start, whereas E100 needs a separate gasoline-tank(~2liters) to be mixed with ethanol on cold temperatures(~15C). Theres research to heat the engine/fuel and substitute this start-tank.

Today, and for a decade perhaps, we run on E25 gasoline. National and imported vehicles. I will not say that E25 does not damage the engine, but as you pointed, it would happen after 100k miles, way after.

RE: They're both Wrong
By Dr of crap on 7/8/2011 12:51:45 PM , Rating: 5
Sorry, but do you get a new car every 5 years??
Because I take ALL my cars over 100,000 miles with no problems. I have even gone to 200,000 with two of them.
Right now I have these mileage cars -
ALL run like new and use no oil.

The govt agencies and the govt might want to get older cars off the road, but this will not do it. There still has to be pumps for E10 for the older cars to use!

The problem with the cars not lasting is BAD maintanance, not E10 gas mix.

RE: They're both Wrong
By fic2 on 7/8/2011 12:53:14 PM , Rating: 2
That's part of why they have pushed the oil change interval as far as possible, which is causing many vehicles to loose compression right around 100k miles.

I am not sure what you are talking about here. Every place I have gone to get my oil changed puts a 3,000 mile oil change sticker on my windshield. Even the dealership does this. According to friends they even do this with synthetic oil.

Oh, and my car is a '99 with 147k miles so it is not just for new cars.

RE: They're both Wrong
By shabodah on 7/8/2011 2:07:26 PM , Rating: 2
I do the same for my cars. But, according to the EPA and many manufactuerers, you don't need to change your oil until the "oil change" light comes on, and that can take as long as 15k miles to happen on standard oil. Personally, being a Service Manager at a dealership, I've seen many engines with no compression because of this at 100k miles. So, it seems the EPA forgets about how much polution it makes to build the car in the first place.

As far as E85 is concerned, I've seen engines that were not made as flex-fuel use it extensively, and, still running fine, get torn down well over 100k miles, and show less were and far less varnish buildup than engines run on gasonline.

So, it seems to me, that an engine designed to run on alcohol fuels, and getting proper maintenance should be better for the envirnment than the other alternatives. Especially when you take into the account the fact that the only reason there are studies out there showing issues with ethanol and emissions polution, is because the flex-fuel design is compromised to run on gasoline in the first place.

RE: They're both Wrong
By rudolphna on 7/10/2011 4:44:04 PM , Rating: 2
This explains a great deal. You obviously don't understand how oil works. As a general rule, most Conventional oil can be safely run 5-7k miles before its TBN (Total Base Number, the total amount of additives that counteract acidic combustion byproducts) is depleted. Synthetic oils, this varies greatly but usually runs anywhere from 7-15k, depending on the oil. For example, Pennzoil Platinum is well known to do easy 10k runs, Mobil 1 EP is easy for 15 to even 20k in some circumstances.

Obviously there are other components besides TBN, such as Flashpoint, viscosity, but generally TBN depletion is what the oil's "condition" is based on.

Most people should run their jiffy lube-changed cars at about6-7k miles. IF they get synthetic, they can safely extend that to ~8k miles.

And yes, this is the "Not true" synthetic oils. This is "Group III" oils which are heavily processed mineral oils, to the point where they are basically "synthetic". Not group IV (PAO) or Group V (Ester). PAO sucks at just about everything, and is worse than Group III. Group V is great at cleaning, but it's lubricity is a bit lower.

Group III is cheaper, and better overall than the "True" Synthetics.

Also, using E85 vs gasoline isn't going to affect "Varnish" and "wear". It's going to be a driveability concern, as the computer will not be programmed to run the mixture, and timing advance correctly.

Also, many cars still don't come with an oil change light. Honda does, and GM has the excellent OLM, which they spent a great deal of time and money programming to know when the oil actually needs changed, depending on how you drive, idling, temperature, and all that. It's rather impressive really. Ford does, but it's a generic (xxxx number of miles) timer basically.

RE: They're both Wrong
By SPOOFE on 7/8/2011 2:04:03 PM , Rating: 2
You guys upset about the food thing need to chill out.

Why? It was a lie. It was sold as eco-friendly, when it's actually worse for the environment than not doing it at all.

[quote]While Corn ethanol is horrible idea, Hunger is in no way tied to ethanol production.[/quote]
It's perceived to be, and that's enough to kick off revolutions. If nothing else, the biggest country in the world bragging about wasting food on an even more wasteful fuel would piss off anybody that goes to bed with a grumbling stomach.

RE: They're both Wrong
By Targon on 7/8/2011 3:50:11 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see how it is the responsibility of ANY nation to feed the people of another nation. If a country can't satisfy the needs of its own people, then it deserves to fail. The biggest problem is that the US Government is BROKE, and is running at a deficit, with a large debt, so why should the government be spending ANY money on things that don't have a long-term benefit to the people of this country?

This means, if another country has a natural disaster, aid should come from individuals, not the government. If another country needs our help with a war, that country SHOULD pay us for expenses in some way, shape, or form, including paying us in oil and other natural resources. This attitude of "save the world" is why there is so much starvation in the first place, because starving people have a declining population, not an increasing population. Smaller populations take less resources to feed.

Now, those who are wealthy and want to help, then fine, they can help, but expecting the government to go even further into debt to save other countries without asking for payment is idiotic.

RE: They're both Wrong
By shabodah on 7/8/2011 4:22:18 PM , Rating: 2
It has been proven that corn ethanol is not environmentally friendly. However, that only makes logical sense, as growing corn itself, it not environmentally friendly. It is one of the worst crops a farmer could grow.

It really seems to me that someone in the government and oil industry wanted to prove ethanol as a failure, so everyone would stick with oil. There is NO BETTER example of how NOT TO DO ethanol than with CORN.

RE: They're both Wrong
By Bad-Karma on 7/8/2011 6:42:08 PM , Rating: 1
I wish the EPA would keep their hand out of my fuel tank. A couple of years back they demanded that all diesel be switched over to a low sulfur blend.

It's great that it removes a bit of Sulfur Dioxide from the exhaust but it slowly reeks havoc in a diesel engine. The Sulfur helps lubricate the rings and other internals exposed to the fuel cycle.

Now I have to not only pay more for the higher refined fuel but also have to put in an additive to add back the sulfur.

Newer diesel engines are Ok with the blend but anything older is being slowly junked. I have an uncle who runs a regional freight line in the North East, the extra additives eat into his profits, which of course then have to passed to his customers.

I think your right on the EPA wanting older cars off the road.

RE: They're both Wrong
By Targon on 7/9/2011 7:24:43 AM , Rating: 3
It's more than just a bit of sulfur dioxide that gets removed from the exhaust, but if you think about it, what's worse when it comes to pollution, sulfur dioxide, or carbon dioxide? All these people worried about CO2, but at least it isn't nearly as toxic to humans.

Lead was removed from gas back in the 1970s, because lead causes all sorts of problems for people as well. I do agree that the government needs to be a bit more consistent when it comes to the goals, either go all about fuel economy and get ethanol out of the picture, or if they insist on pushing ethanol(which gets worse fuel economy), then drop this CAFE crap.

RE: They're both Wrong
By animekenji on 7/9/2011 8:01:24 PM , Rating: 3
And look what they replaced the lead with. MTBE that has since been shown to contaminate groundwater and only a few drops of it can contaminate hundreds of gallons of water. Why should we trust the government now when they have failed so miserably in the past?

RE: They're both Wrong
By animekenji on 7/9/2011 7:59:40 PM , Rating: 1
Every acre of farmland used for ethanol production is an acre that is not being used for food production not to mention all the water that could be being used to irrigate food producing farms. Bio-fuels certainly do influence food prices whether you want to admit it or not.

Ethanol is our best choice
By Shinobisan on 7/8/11, Rating: -1
RE: Ethanol is our best choice
By FishTankX on 7/8/2011 8:00:38 PM , Rating: 2
I think a big part of the carbon argument about corn ethanol increasing CO2 is multipart,and i'll repeat what i've heard.

First, growing corn requires petroleum derived fertilizers in alot of cases. Probably not a huge contribution, but measurable.

Second, there is petroleum required to run the tractors, which is also a measurable contribution.

Third, and probably the most important, the fermentation and distillation process to produce ethanol from corn requires heat. This heat is usually derrived from coal or natural gas. Deriving it from natural gas makes no sense because natural gas, instead of being used to produce ethanol, could go directly into a CNG car (and the amount of energy needed to produce a gallon of ethanol is significant). From this article (I realise it's a biased source, take with a grain of salt) 1 BTU of coal creates 1.1-1.3BTUs of ethanol. Thus the coal burned in corn ethanol's production (steam,and drying the ethanol) is very close to the energy content of the ethanol produced.

Thusly, far from ethanol being carbon neutral, if produced under the current coal/natural gas regime,it's very close to being equal in CO2 production to gasoline, maybe even more!

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