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Piles of corn rest on a farm in North Dakota, ready to be shipped to a nearby ethanol refinery, for a hefty profit.  (Source: Michael Williamson - The Washington Post)
Ethanol is accounting for 25 percent of corn consumption, driving up food prices sharply

With gas at unprecedented highs in the U.S. of $4 a gallon or more, and with many vehicles equipped with ethanol ready engines, the demand for the biofuel is soaring.  A U.N. expert warned that switching to an ethanol infrastructure, in its current form, would be disastrous for the world food market, yielding famine.  Here in the U.S. the cost is not being felt in hunger as much as it is being felt in the check book.

The news is good news for some -- corn farmers.  The farmers, long propped up by government subsidies and constantly on the verge of collapse, are in the unfamiliar territory of making record profits.  While oil has long been labeled black gold, farmers are discovering that corn is the new gold -- yellow gold. 

Erwin Johnson, an Iowa farmer for 35 years following in the tradition of his father and grandfather, comments on the strange times.  Only a year ago he had to send his corn to a barge company to ship down the Mississippi River to be exported.  Now a monolithic new ethanol refinery has been constructed just miles from his farm and is paying him a bounty of $5.50 or more a bushel, more than twice is previous price.

"This is a fantastic time to be farming," Johnson enthuses, "I'm 65, but I can't quit now."

A fantastic time indeed, for the corn farmer, but the outlook is not so positive for the average American consumer.  Corn, traditionally used largely for feedstock and in products such as corn starch and corn syrup this year will see over 25 percent of its production siphoned into making ethanol.  With a constant influx of refineries, and with some customers brewing their own ethanol, this should only increase.

Oil's rising prices are having a harsh double effect, costing the consumer at the pump, while simultaneously raising food prices through a rise in corn costs.  Lester Brown, president of Earth Policy Institute, a Washington research group, states, "The price of grain is now directly tied to the price of oil.  We used to have a grain economy and a fuel economy. But now they're beginning to fuse."

While corn farmers are doing great, other farmers are on the verge of going out of business due to rising costs.  Farmers of cattle, hogs and chickens, who use corn for feed are feeling the pinch.  Tyson Foods, typically a strong earner, posted its first loss in six quarters.  And it expects the trend to continue.  It expects its cost for corn and soybeans to rise $600 million this year alone. 

Some producers in turn pass the cost to the consumer.  The egg market has managed to do this, and stave of financial ruin, but has in turn passed its burden on to the buyer.  The Agriculture Department noted that the cost of eggs raised 40 percent in the first quarter of the year over first quarter prices of last year.  And other food producers are following the trend.  Cereal to sodas to salad dressing are just some of the foods that use corn that have slowly risen in price.

The nation's leadership is at a loss about what to do about the crisis.  In 2005 a bipartisan effort by the then Republican-controlled Congress, passed into law a energy bill, the Energy Policy Act of 2005, mandating that corn-based ethanol to account for 15 billion gallons, about 10 percent of motor fuel, by 2015.  Another more recent bill, calls for 36 billion gallons a year by 2022, over 25 percent of motor fuel.  The bills were seen as pro-farmer and pro-environment.  It offered subsidies to fuel blenders using ethanol, which has driven production growth, which this year is expected to reach 8 billion gallons, over halfway to the target.

Now some politicians are going as far as asking the EPA to overturn part of the bill's provisions.  Texas's new Republican governor, Rick Perry is leading the effort, after his constituents, many of them beef farmers, complained of financial hardship.  The bill is costing his state's cattle industry $6M USD a year, he says.

The argument for ethanol being green is falling apart as well.  DailyTech previously reported that members of the academic community had noted that the total carbon cost from ethanol production was really no less or even greater than that of oil.  These findings were corroborated by an analysis in the Feb. 29th edition of Science magazine, which concluded that ethanol's total carbon costs "exceed or match those from fossil fuels and therefore produce no greenhouse benefits".  Further it said the clearing of land for ethanol fuel crops could make net emissions even worse, and that fertilizer runoff threatens the oceans.

World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick is among the critics of ethanol.  He states, "While many are worrying about filling their gas tanks, many others around the world are struggling to fill their stomachs, and it is getting more and more difficult every day."

However the market shows little signs of slowing.  In Iowa, 28 plants have been built, and more than 12 are on their way.  A $3 billion ethanol pipeline is being planned by two major oil pipeline producers, which will funnel 3.65 billion gallons a year to the East and Midwest and will increase the fuel industry's vested interest in ethanol. 

Bruce Babcock, professor of economics and the director of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa University, sees no end in sight for the problems while ethanol lasts.  He states, "As long as you keep that ethanol industry running, grain prices will be high.  If you didn't have this large growth in ethanol corn, prices would be nowhere near where they are today.

Some are defensive about increases.  Says Johnson, the corn farmer, food prices indexed by household income have been in decline for 50 years.  They point out that consumers today pay half the income percentage they used to for food in the 1950s.  Further, they state that the biggest cause for the food price increases is not from corn demand, but from increased cost from transportation and packaging, both affected by the rising oil rates. 

Some also point out that yields are increasing; Don Endres, chief executive of the country's largest ethanol producer, VeraSun says that in the days of these farmers’ grandfathers, the yields were around 40 bushels per acre.  Today his brothers get 160 bushels per acre, and soon they will be getting 300 bushels per acre, he believes.

In the end the ethanol crisis may now be unstoppable, much like a runaway train.  With oil prices rising, ethanol should become more and more competitive in price as the years pass.  As long as this is the case, consumers will likely choose the cheaper fuel, despite the economic cost that it entails.  The only real long-term competitor is the fledgling hydrogen market, which despite advances remains years away from production on the scale of ethanol.



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By noone55555 on 5/2/2008 12:19:54 PM , Rating: 3
Most criticism equating Ethanol use to increased food prices seems to completely ignore the contribution of aspects like shipping cost to increased food prices. I.e., if it costs more to truck a good across the country due to higher fuel prices, it's going to cost more on the shelf. Certainly, cost of the raw product material matters as well, but I'd like to see someone break it down a bit more before claiming that the raw material's cost is completely to blame when it comes to food price increases in the current economy.

Put another way - if your $3 box of corn flakes uses 3 cents worth of corn, doesn't it seem a bit extreme to blame corn price increases for any large % change in the final price on the shelf?




By BikeDude on 5/2/2008 12:51:01 PM , Rating: 2
I agree.

In addition, the price of grain was record low recently. There is a small rise in the price of grain now, but the price is nowhere as expensive as it was in the mid-70s.

AFAIK, Russia, EU and USA paid farmers to stop growing grain in order to keep the surplus of grain to a manageable level. A lot of farmable land is currently not used...

In short, when the oil prices soar, how can we afford to ship cheap food to poor countries?


By geddarkstorm on 5/2/2008 1:03:41 PM , Rating: 2
But! Saying that prices are only fluctuating around all time lows is not nearly as dramatic and hair raising as saying prices are suddenly soaring since yesterday and we're going to start seeing starving children on the street corners by next week.


By masher2 (blog) on 5/2/2008 3:12:02 PM , Rating: 3
> "Put another way - if your $3 box of corn flakes uses 3 cents worth of corn..."

We're not talking about corn flakes; the issue is the raw foodstocks eaten directly by people and food animals, the prices of which have skyrocketed. Rice prices, for instance, have tripled this year...and over two billion people in the world use rice directly as a major part of their diet.

Shipping isn't a huge cost percentage of most bulk foods.


By noone55555 on 5/2/2008 4:49:50 PM , Rating: 3
I've heard that rice has become expensive, but am ignorant on the details behind it. How exactly does that relate or correlate to Ethanol use and/or corn's influence on high food prices? It seems a bit of a red herring in your argumentation to me at this point...

And don't get me wrong, I understand that people suffer when staple foods become more expensive, particularly the poor. I'm just leery of completely labeling US Ethanol production as a villainous contributor to starvation in the world at this point. Also, I think Ethanol use presents economic and political advantages at this point in time.

Truth be told, from an environmental point of view, I don't buy into *any* combustion-oriented solution to energy for the long term. The sun is the closest thing out there to an unlimited clean energy resource, at least on Earth, so I think the various forms of solar energy will prove the eventual winner(s). Lots of technical hurdles, but progress is being made... :)


By Ringold on 5/2/2008 5:07:46 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
I've heard that rice has become expensive, but am ignorant on the details behind it. How exactly does that relate or correlate to Ethanol use and/or corn's influence on high food prices?


Some times I wonder if people even try to think or understand something opposed to their world view. I'll break it down in Econ 101 terms.

There are two large drivers to food demand in the world at present.

1) Growing capitalist middle class in China and India. They are tired of eating small amounts of rice. Now that they've got some money, they want large amounts of rice, or even better, a wider variety of food -- including meat, which requires large amounts of other feedstocks to produce.

2) Ethanol, the drivers of which were detailed in DT's article. Globally, structural trade problems compound the problem; for example, US equilibrium prices are being propped up by a 33 cent per gallon import tariff, and farmers don't face hardly any risk due to various subsidy programs.

So, in ethanol, farmers have huge incentive to plant corn, and to squeeze as much corn out of a given field as possible. What happens then?

1) Other fields, growing many of our other staple crops, get converted to corn production, thus lowering the quantity supplied of other foods at the same time demand is rising; thats where you get part of the price increase in crops other than corn.

2) Farms don't just put water on the ground. They use a variety of fertilizers, and they can use custom-made seeds. In their attempt to squeeze yields as high as possible, they consume vast quantities more than they would in the past. Look at the chart of the stock ticker POT, MOS, MON, AGU -- you can deny this if you want, but you'd look rather foolish. The prices of these inputs have thus been sent in to the stratosphere, and expected to possibly go even higher.

There you go, the perfect storm for higher prices. Reduced capital (land) in service for non-corn crops, vastly higher input costs, and higher demand due to the growing capitalist middle class in more developed 'transitional economies'.

Further, these countries that are having rice shortages are not disconnected from global commodity markets, so they can't live in their own little fantasy price land.

So there, it's not a red herring, it's just you having fallen asleep in Principles of Macroeconomics in college. :P


By Ringold on 5/2/2008 8:00:19 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Actually, I got A grades in all my college econ classes.


Your professors failed you.

quote:
Is the US the primary supplier of rice to these countries? I'd think not, though I admit not having data.


Does the US get almost any oil from the Middle East? No. Are we connected by global markets? Yes. Therefore, do supply and demand fluctuations across the globe impact the benchmark oil market in the US, West Texas Intermediate Crude futures contracts? Yes.

The above is sufficient to answer your point about US and foreign prices being connected (they always are unless barriers exist), but 12% of the global rice exports come from America, with California being the largest producer in the country. If there were any difference in prices across nations, then someone would buy high, sell low, and capture the difference.

quote:
Ok, so land diverted from rice production in these countries is going to feedstocks - is that what you're implying? Either way, what cause/effect here implies that US shifts in corn and Ethanol supply/demand is increasing the price of rice?


That's not what I imply, thats what data shows. Again, as production moves away from other less profitable crops, such as rice, their prices go up. You said you got an A in college econ classes, so draw a supply/demand chart. Shift the supply curve to the left. Note the new equilibrium. It's higher.

quote:
From what I see locally, it's those fields that are now going into production to meet Ethanol-driven demand.


From what national data indicates, a lot of previous land under cultivation has as well, though land previously held in reserve has come on line to feed the craze, yes.

quote:
All farmers try to maximize yields if their reason for growing a crop has anything to do with profit or survival.


If fertilizing a field cost $1, and boosts yield by an amount worth $.50, then it doesn't get done -- and yield isn't maximized in an absolute sense. But if the crop value goes through the roof, then suddenly it makes sense to buy the most expensive genetically modified seed and dump all the fertilizer products you can on it. Demand for fertilizer has sky rocketed, supply has not -- higher prices. Therefore, other crops that also use fertilizer still have to pay the inflated price -- or not use as much, or none, and thus lower their yield further in order to make money. Same as above, shift the supply curve for non-corn crops further to the left.

quote:
Hmm, wouldn't it be interesting to know how much of a US farmer's corn profit is offset by increased upfront costs to produce the crop this year...


Not much; I recall reading their take-home pay/profit is expected to be vastly higher than in recent history. The guy in the article isn't saying he doesn't want to retire for no reason at all -- he's making more money than he probably has in his life!

quote:
I'd venture a guess that rice increases have more to do with *localized* impact of the your "transitional economics" in regions where rice is a staple versus US corn supply and demand.


There is some of that, sure. But markets are global. Little has changed in Mexico in recent years, for example, and yet they've felt the impact pretty hard. Considering that raw ore is mined, transported to one place, refined, transported to China, assembled, and then transported to America for sale at amazingly low prices, I would say that Mexico's proximity isn't at fault, either. And its 'transitional econom ies '; I'm trying to use the politically correct term instead of "third world", heh. Not sure why I bother. :P

I hope you didn't take those econ classes at Pheonix University. :D


By andrinoaa on 5/5/2008 4:41:02 AM , Rating: 1
markets are global and Australia, having hugh water problems , has effectively stopped growing rice. Supply and demand at work in global markets has seen a big jump in price, sadly we are in no position to meet the demand! If as reported, the US has shifted 25% of corn to ethanol production, I predict a global famine due to other crops also going into bio deisel. We are witnessing a fundamental realignment of "food" crop use. Which wars will be bigger, iraq oil war or Hunger wars?


By iowafarmer on 5/3/2008 1:43:44 AM , Rating: 2
I think the import tariff on ethanol is $.51 not $.33. The blenders tax credit is $.51 a gallon, blended ethanol whether imported or domestically produced receives the credit. The credit is designed to help build infrastructure in the USA not in brazil or another foreign country. I would look for the import tariff and the blenders tax credit to disappear at the same rate. I also look for blenders to look like they are investing the $.51 credit. I've noticed a pipeline proposal or 2.

Elwyn Taylor, ISU climatologist, recently claimed that up until the 50's up to 2/3 of all ag land in the US was used in the production of "fuel." I think he meant 1/3 and I have a 35hp M farmall bought by granddad in the 50's, thats still a pretty good farm tractor, so I'd guess it was a bit earlier than the 50's when farmers where phasing out the horse, but who am I to argue with Elwyn. What do you think farmers did before tractors? How did they heat their houses and feed their horses?

I pity the farmer that raised corn in his rice paddy. He sure screwed up a large investment in preparing his ground to raise rice.

I guess you like wading through reports like this:

http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/CropP...

You might note where rice and corn are raised.

You will find farmers raised about 1/3 more acres of corn in 07 and also more acres of wheat. Fewer acres of beans 07 in response to low prices and a large caryover for soybeans. Do you know how the farm subsides work? Do you know what CRP stands for?

You are really going to like the results of this "economic" study, hot off the press:

http://www.card.iastate.edu/publications/synopsis....

"This analysis suggests that the growth in ethanol production has caused retail gasoline prices to be $0.29 to $0.40 per gallon lower than would otherwise have been the case."

Farmers are reinvesting those huge profits in infrastructure. New paint everywhere you look in the midwest. Give a farmer a dollar and he'll keep it circulating.


By masher2 (blog) on 5/3/2008 2:34:08 AM , Rating: 3
> "I pity the farmer that raised corn in his rice paddy. He sure screwed up a large investment in preparing his ground to raise rice."

I recognize your sarcasm, but the truth is a large amount of rice in the US is grown in areas like California...on land which used to be desert. "Rice paddies" are artificially created through irrigation, on ground that, if one only cut back the water a bit, would be suitable for wheat, corn, or other crops.

However, there is a kernel (ahem) of truth in your statement. Little rice farmland is being lost in the US. However, in places like Indonesia, the story is radically different, where over 12 million acres have been converted for burgeoning biofuel crops like palm oil.

Furthermore, rice isn't grown in a vacuum. It requires fertilizer, farm machinery, shipping, and many other commodities and services. Just this year has seem price rises and shortages of fertilizer...courtesy of the global biofuels boom. All this competition among crops raises prices for all of them.

Even still, blaming a tripling of rice in one year on biofuels isn't correct. At least half of that increase is due to a poor harvest in Australia, and burgeoning demand from China and India.

The fact remains that *all* food prices have risen. And this most definitely is in large part to the biofuels boom. There really isn't any serious debate on the issue...its one of the few things that GW proponents and skeptics both agree upon.


By iowafarmer on 5/3/2008 9:26:34 AM , Rating: 2
I've never seen a rice field in IA and do not have a good handle on yields. Corn at the farm gate is currently worth a little less than $.10 a pound. I've recently seen rice quoted as worth $1200 a ton or $.60 a pound. To level and irrigate land to grow rice is not cheap. On a pound for pound basis rice would seem to be the more valuable crop. Pardon me while I look up rice yields in the US. I'm going to use 3 ton of rice an acre, but maybe I should be using 4 ton. $3600 gross an acre for rice vs a record $800 gross an acre for corn. I should think rice would be the more profitable crop. I do have to wonder if it' a good use of water in california to raise rice in the desert.

I also do not have a good handle on using palm oil as a biofuel. I do know the demand for soyoil and palm oil has ballooned in china and india. I guess I was under the impression it was used as a cooking oil.

I do understand farmers responding to market forces. If raising palm oil is more profitable than raising rice do you blame the farmer for converting land to palm oil production?

quote:
The fact remains that *all* food prices have risen. And this most definitely is in large part to the biofuels boom. There really isn't any serious debate on the issue...its one of the few things that GW proponents and skeptics both agree upon.


Increasing oil price and the falling dollar has raised the price of all commodities. To declare the debate over is to miss the forest for a tree.


By Ringold on 5/3/2008 4:20:58 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Increasing oil price and the falling dollar has raised the price of all commodities. To declare the debate over is to miss the forest for a tree.


While you raised many good points, you'll find you're out voted on the above by a huge margin. Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, liberal think-tanks, conservative think-tanks, the UN, the World Bank, charitable groups and economists of all political stripes the world over are in general agreement that food price inelasticity is such that the increase in demand from biofuels production is largely to blame. Even climate scientists aren't as united behind man-made global warming as economists are behind the idea biofuels are driving prices up.

The World Bank has a good summary here:
http://siteresources.worldbank.org/NEWS/Resources/...

Tyson's CEO was also on CNBC last week; he was partly defending his bad quarter, but also dumping on ethanol as being the only factor he could see driving these wild changes.

Your study showing ethanol has pushed down gas prices slightly is interesting, as you admit it was a highly subsidized push down, but part of the outrage is the morality of the issue. America and Europe can pay a little more for 89 octane with roughly zero impact on our daily lives -- look at the resilience of our economy as of late. It's absorbed massive energy and food inflation, and still has been growing at a 2.4% annualized rate this year, despite small blue-collar job losses. When people in a city like Nairobi dedicate a huge portion of their income already on food, and then the price of food doubles, that's a whole other level of pain.

Something similar, by the way, happened in Bengal. They were not exactly short on rice, the price of rice simply skyrocketed such that the poor could no longer afford it, while those with money hoarded as much as they could. Up to 3 million died. Food prices then went up 61%. Food prices now have gone up 83%.

Nice to see you farmers are just like the rest of us when it comes to money; absolutely heartless so long as the mighty dollar flows in to your coffers. Fear not, the World Bank sees no end to the suffering in the near future for the world, nor an end to your pay day.


By iowafarmer on 5/3/2008 10:55:30 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the world bank link.

It's interesting that there are think tanks quoting think thinks with their evidence. Ethanol never would have gained traction if the price of corn had reflected it's true market value. Even now the average farmer is embarrassed by the fact he's selling his corn at a profit. I guess everyone is happier when farmers are producing crops at below cost of production and collecting subsidies.

Now for the world bank report. I don't see that it's much support for your premise that the debate is over or that food prices would be much lower without biofuels.

Lets just take a look at some of the footnotes:

quote:

2 From 2004 to 2007, global maize production increased 51 million tons, biofuel use in the U.S. increased 50 million tons and global consumption for all other uses increased 33 million tons, which caused global stocks to decline by 30 million tons (Mitchell 2008).


US production of maize 05-07 is included in the annual US crop production link in my previous post. In response to market prices farmers increased corn production over 63 million tons from 06 to 07. So I'll see mitchels 50 million tons for biofuel production and raise you an extra 13 million tons for export above and beyond what US farmers exported in 06. So obviously it's biofuels fault the dollar is weak and there were production problems in other parts of the world.

more from the world bank:

quote:
Furthermore, world markets could be relied on to provide a steady supply of
relatively cheap grain imports when needed. More recently, however, the stock-holding policies of several large producers—such as the U.S., E.U. and China—have changed, contributing to the present situation of very low global grain stocks and increased global price volatility. As a consequence, a number of developing countries, such as Indonesia, are considering reverting to this form of price management, particularly after experiencing the impact of export bans in key export countries.


As a producer and consumer it does concern me there is no crop reserve. Carryovers that can be measured in days at the start of the harvest season is troublesome. Any burp in production and there is a bidding war for product, like the world is experiencing now. I find it a stretch to blame current high food prices, at least in the US, on biofuels.

quote:
For many low-income countries, transport and logistics costs are a key component of food prices and are generally far higher than OECD benchmarks of around 9 percent. While countries can do little to reduce ocean shipping costs (which for high volume, relatively low value goods such as grains and edible oils represent a significant part of the final price), they can act to lower the overall cost of domestic distribution.


Interesting point.

quote:
Making agriculture a priority. In 1980, 30 percent of annual World Bank lending went to agricultural projects, but this declined to 12 percent in 2007. The overall proportion of all Official Development Assistance going to agriculture is currently only 4 percent. Falling and stable world real cereal prices in the 1980s and 1990s contributed to a sense of complacency with respect to agricultural issues in developing countries from the late 1970s until recently.


So lack of support for agricultural projects can be blamed on biofuels? US farmers were the least cost producer. Ag in 3rd world countries couldn't compete couldn't gain traction. It seems obvious to me that local food, fuel production is in the national interest of any country.

Here is a link for you:
"Is Ethanol Getting a Bum Rap?"
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_19...


By masher2 (blog) on 5/4/2008 12:02:22 AM , Rating: 3
> "Here is a link for you: "Is Ethanol Getting a Bum Rap?"..."

From your own link:

quote:
""Everyone agrees corn is not the right crop [for producing biofuels]..."
> "It seems obvious to me that local food, fuel production is in the national interest of any country."

To me also. But corn-grown ethanol hurts out food independence, and it will *never* grant us even a portion of energy independence.


By iowafarmer on 5/4/2008 2:03:18 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry if you thought I was trying to suggest that ethanol from corn was "the" solution to energy independence in the USA. I find it rather curious that fuel is more valuable than food. The distilleries used in ethanol production are not that expensive per unit capacity. Corn was so cheap when the early plants were built, distilleries were being paid for in a matter of months. It really is not the farmers fault that the infrastructure to produce corn was in place, the process to make moonshine fleshed out, that ethanol turned out to be the only oxygenate left standing.

The mandate for ethanol was as an oxygenate. IMO corn ethanol could possibly, possibly, maybe, fill that mandate. Ethanol to me has value as an octane booster and oxygenate.

Oh I've seen the CO2 research. You do realize that there are millions of acres of notill corn and soybeans raised in the USA. Production per acre is less, but there are reasons farmers choose notill, much of the CO2 research does not apply to notill. I'd like to be paid the carbon credits for my notill acres. Did you look up CRP?

When the price of energy goes down enough or the price of corn goes up enough that there is no longer a profit in turning corn into ethanol and distillers grain (distillers grain, the high protein feed left over after the distillation process), I expect you will either see the distilleries close or a cheaper feedstock used to replace corn in the distillation process.

For now, unless you have another oxygenate up your sleeve, ethanol is mandated as part of the clean air act.

quote:
But corn-grown ethanol hurts out food independence, and it will *never* grant us even a portion of energy independence.


I hope you understand that I do not agree with your statement. However I have faith better, cheaper, cleaner sources of energy will be developed.


By KamiXkaze on 5/3/2008 12:37:54 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed that is why farmers are hurting in those industries.

KxK


By andrinoaa on 5/5/2008 4:32:03 AM , Rating: 2
now your talking sense , and I AGREE!!!


Good
By headbox on 5/2/2008 11:56:00 AM , Rating: 5
In the USA, 75% of corn goes to feed cattle. The equivalent of 6,000 calories of cattle are slaughtered per day per citizen. I like a good steak, but that's just too much. The remaining 25% of corn is most often an additive to food that doesn't even need corn, but it *was* cheap to add as an ingredient to boost volume.

There is immense waste in our food industry, and hopefully rising prices and competition will change that.




RE: Good
By walk2k on 5/2/2008 1:49:02 PM , Rating: 3
Bingo! The same grains used to produce 1 lb of beef can produce 12 lbs of bread. I know man cannot live on bread alone but ffs how about stop eating 67 lbs of beef per person per year FATTIES!

http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/LDP/Oct05/LDP...

Corn is also used to create HFcorn syrup, a sugar substitute used in soft drinks (and damn near everything else).


RE: Good
By jtemplin on 5/2/2008 1:58:09 PM , Rating: 2
Walk see my above post, I addressed this very issue.


RE: Good
By SiliconAddict on 5/3/2008 2:17:37 AM , Rating: 2
eating beef does NOT automatically make you a fatty. There are far, far, far worse things in America's diet then beef. Or at least the beef you get from the store.....I still question what the hell is in a Big Mac....Pigeon?....Rat?.....Lamma?


RE: Good
By Zoomer on 5/3/2008 10:19:13 AM , Rating: 2
The bad cuts, loose bits, stuff that fell on the floor, etc, that you don't get in the grocery store. ;)


RE: Good
By KamiXkaze on 5/3/2008 3:23:20 PM , Rating: 2
I could have sworn bologna and franks are the ones that get all the crap meat.

KxK


RE: Good
By Ringold on 5/2/2008 5:15:28 PM , Rating: 2
The data doesn't add up.

75% corn goes to cattle
25% to additives
25% (from article) to ethanol
---
125%

And not a single % so far for actual corn consumption.

Someone has to be wrong here. :)


RE: Good
By Ringold on 5/2/2008 5:15:30 PM , Rating: 2
The data doesn't add up.

75% corn goes to cattle
25% to additives
25% (from article) to ethanol
---
125%

And not a single % so far for actual corn consumption.

Someone has to be wrong here. :)


RE: Good
By BruceLeet on 5/3/2008 12:54:55 AM , Rating: 2
Steak, onions/mushrooms potatoes stroganoff and cream corn is yumyums.

Your post got me thinking about food, I haven't had a REAL meal in about a month. Have to think about my gas tank, the circle of life.


RE: Good
By BruceLeet on 5/3/2008 12:57:55 AM , Rating: 3
Circle of North American life I should say. Reminds me of a joke.

Have you ever had Ethiopian food? ...neither have they.


Renewable
By RonLugge on 5/2/2008 12:15:12 PM , Rating: 2
To me, the big push for ethanol isn't its "green" nature (though that was nice until it turned out to be false) but rather its renewable nature. Oil is a limited supply, whereas we can grow more corn / sugar cane / other greenery to produce ethanol with.




RE: Renewable
By BiffRapper on 5/2/2008 12:19:21 PM , Rating: 3
I don't see how producing a resource that requires more energy to produce than it creates is green. It is counterproductive and wasteful actually in its current state.


RE: Renewable
By jtemplin on 5/2/2008 1:56:39 PM , Rating: 2
He just said he doesn't think "green-ness" matters (as much at least). He is speaking of renewability. Considering that we are running the entire world on a dwindling resource, we need to diversify our fuel sources.

Worldwide experiments in new technologies don't necessarily help the environment. However, I think everyone can agree that despite the effect of blackening the skies of Britain and New England the Industrial Revolution was a necessary step forward and an obvious precursor to our current lifestyle.

I happen to like electricity, computing, local thermal control, and personal transportation to name a few things. If it takes some trial and error to continue our rate of growth through and beyond the era of petroleum, thats fine with me.


RE: Renewable
By JustTom on 5/3/2008 2:21:30 PM , Rating: 2
You missed his point; he wanted to know if it takes more energy to grow the food than can be extracted from that food what is the point?


RE: Renewable
By Penti on 5/6/2008 7:01:28 PM , Rating: 2
It's not really renewable, here in Sweden we only produce ethanol from wheat and import allot from Brazil, if we were to replace the gasoline with ethanol we would require 15% more then the total farmland (or 10 times the wheat hectare) we have today if we could have a yield of 6 ton wheat per hectare on all the farmland we have that said. And then we are excluding the diesel from being "replaced".

Right now it is mainly about mixing 5% ethanol in our 95 octane gas. And we really couldn't count on producing much more then those 5% domestically. Right now we only produce like 1% tough. It really isn't anything that they have proposed to replace fossil car fuels with, it's just mixing and a few cars running on E85. It's about the idea that we can produce the fuel ourself, but it really isn't about anything more then 10% of the fuel being replace with biofuels by 2020. Thats the EU goal. So it's not really a goal to replace anything. 90% would still be oil.


Corn price was artificial to begin with
By PandaBear on 5/2/2008 12:33:03 PM , Rating: 2
It was because the government subsidize that the corn and its related products are so cheap. So now corn farmers are back in black and the food price reflect how much it really cost to produce, and we complain. Compare to the rest of the 3rd world (not yet, we are almost there, seriously), our food cost per income is very low.

I feel bad for the starving people all over the world, but I don't think we can subsidize their way out of poverty. The rice crop failure in Australia and Thailand doesn't help either, and the fuel cost, and the rising demand of people who are now living better off in India and China, all of those are part of the reason of higher food price.

Still, corn based ethanol is not a solution. You still need to burn Middle East oil to make ethanol, and you are burning more. I understand its use as an oxygenate, but not as a main fuel.

If we start replacing coal fire power plants with newer/better nuclear, and add spent fuel reprocessing, then it would help.




RE: Corn price was artificial to begin with
By sprtfan on 5/2/2008 12:37:03 PM , Rating: 2
ethanol production only uses the starch portion of the kernal. All of the protein, fat, fiber, and minerals are left and used to make DDGS that is then used to make feed for livestock. I'm sure a little is lost in the process but with the increase in corn production, there should be plenty of feed for livestock. The increasing cost of transportation is a larger factor for increased food costs.


By masher2 (blog) on 5/4/2008 12:11:14 AM , Rating: 4
> "ethanol production only uses the starch portion of the kernal. All of the protein, fat, fiber, and minerals are left and used to make DDGS that is then used to make feed for livestock..."

The carbohydrate portion of corn is 75% of the caloric content, however. The production of DDGS slightly reduces the impact of ethanol on animal feedstock prices...but the impact is still most certainly there. As the price of corn doubles, so does the price of corn-based feedstock.


By JustTom on 5/3/2008 2:26:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Compare to the rest of the 3rd world (not yet, we are almost there, seriously),


Go spend a week in Ethiopa and see if you still feel this way.


population size
By BikeDude on 5/2/2008 12:56:43 PM , Rating: 2
Bottom line: What size population can this planet substain?

Given more streamlined production of food... Can we support twice the population?

Eventually we're going to run out of food, and instead of sacrificing 1 billion humans, we might have to see 10 billion go...

So... Who to kill? I suggest we whipe out anyone weighing more than 100kg. That will be popular with most poor people and will positively discourage overconsumption. (I am sort of kidding, but I do not find it unlikely that the human race eventually will have to consider such issues)




RE: population size
By masher2 (blog) on 5/2/2008 3:31:35 PM , Rating: 2
> "Given more streamlined production of food... Can we support twice the population?"

Most of the world is growing food with 19th century agricultural methods. A 1990 report of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that by employing what were then the most up-to-date technologies, the earth could yield enough to feed 30 to 35 billion people. That's over 5 times the current population.


RE: population size
By Ringold on 5/2/2008 5:22:46 PM , Rating: 2
Further, I personally doubt we'll get anywhere near that level.

There seems to be a relationship between wealth and birth rate. Europe would be shrinking already if not for immigration. Much of the world is already realizing the problems inherent with slowing population growth. People aren't going to get poorer in the long run, so the global birth rate should stabilize. No idea where, but presumably much lower than 30-35 billion people.

Besides, this Malthusian world view people have is pretty long in the tooth. It hasn't made sense since the Industrial Revolution, except for in places that happen to still live as if its 1400.


RE: population size
By nah on 5/4/2008 1:17:43 PM , Rating: 2
yes, but at what cost ? increasing yields come at a high cost--higher yielding rice, to give one example, need higher use of fertilizer and pesticides--this run-off is damaging to the land--ultimately the land loses it ability to produce more--leading to soil erosion--little wonder that some 3rd world farmers call fertilizer devils salt


RE: population size
By phusg on 5/8/2008 12:18:53 PM , Rating: 2
Sure that may be possible given a limitless supply of oil. Don't forget that agriculture has become so intensive/efficient only on the back of cheap oil, either pouring it into the ground as fertilizer or fueling all the machinery needed in the process.

As oil prices rise and it eventually runs out and we will be forced to farm more and more organically, which whilst sustainable is not nearly as intensive/efficient in producing food.

I don't have a reference but from what I've gathered we could sustain the current population of 6 billion solely with organic farming, as long as we reduce our consumption of meat which is a very efficient way of turning a lot of food into less food.


Hardly "new"
By VoodooChicken on 5/2/2008 1:16:01 PM , Rating: 2
Perry's been governor of Texas since Bush left for the White House. Neither one of them will just go away.




RE: Hardly "new"
By soydeedo on 5/2/2008 2:50:34 PM , Rating: 2
I was wondering about that. I thought there was someone in between for some reason, but I knew he had definitely been around a few years. Didn't realize it was 8!


RE: Hardly "new"
By Ringold on 5/2/2008 5:31:17 PM , Rating: 2
Do people want Perry to go away? Has the fantastic growth a lot of Texas has seen not been enough for Texas Democrats? Do they admire, instead, Michigans economic performance?


It's all quite silly...
By joemoedee on 5/2/2008 1:26:53 PM , Rating: 2
Ethanol is a lousy source for automobile fuel. Period.

It takes more Crude Oil to product Ethanol, than if we just used the Crude Oil to produce gasoline/diesel/etc. Thusly, the increased demand placed upon Ethanol is only further increasing the demand on Crude Oil. The more we try to go away from Crude, the more we're using. Brilliant!

On top of that, Ethanol is much less efficient than Gasoline. Even the Ethanol blended gasoline shows a marked decrease in fuel economy. Thus, we use more. See cycle above.

Instead of the "evil" oil companies getting money, now we have the "evil" oil companies and farmers cashing in, all with money out of our pockets.

Add to that the ever decreasing value of the dollar, due to the ever-present slashing of important federal interest rates... and everyone feels the impact in their wallet. Be it at the pump, at the grocery store, etc.

We need a balanced approach to our energy needs. We have many untapped resources to provide Crude Oil for years to come. As we explore and implement other "alternative" fuel sources, ie: Nuclear, Geothermal, Solar, Clean Coal, Wind, etc. we'll extend the supply of crude oil for a very, very long time. Also by doing so, we won't run into placing such a huge demand on one single source of energy.




RE: It's all quite silly...
By masher2 (blog) on 5/2/2008 3:33:40 PM , Rating: 2
> "It takes more Crude Oil to product Ethanol, than if we just used the Crude Oil to produce gasoline/diesel/etc."

It's not quite that bad, but yes, production of ethanol does involve quite of demand for oil and other hydrocarbons as well.


RE: It's all quite silly...
By KamiXkaze on 5/3/2008 3:48:17 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed the whole idea is utter nonsense.

KxK


idiots!
By johnsonx on 5/2/2008 1:32:35 PM , Rating: 2
Corn is Food, not Fuel!




RE: idiots!
By jtemplin on 5/2/2008 2:01:20 PM , Rating: 2
(johnsonx your) Mind is Opened, not Closed!

I don't know about you, but I fuel my body with food. Maybe you just eat for flavor?

I eat to survive, grow and thrive.


RE: idiots!
By johnsonx on 5/4/2008 2:36:32 AM , Rating: 2
ok, yes, fine, food is indeed fuel for one's body. My point is that food is fuel for people. Going through alot of trouble to turn it into fuel for machines, when there wasn't enough for people in the first place, is idiotic.


It all goes back to fossil fuels...
By falacy on 5/2/2008 2:36:01 PM , Rating: 2
There are so many aspects of North America that rely on fossil fuels, when one follows the chain of enery backward toward the begining, it's frightening.

Many fertilizers come directly from fossil fuels, while others like MAP, Kmeg, and Potash are mined using heavy equipment powered by fossile fuels.

Transportation of goods, even by diels-electric train and the pipeline, requires massive amounts of fossil fuels.

Sadly, a large portion of electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels.

Nuclear power cannot be generated without fossil fuels, as the unearthing and processesing of uranium is heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Nuclear cannot save us, though if the US dismantled all of their weapons and downgraded the plutonium there would be enough nuclear fuel for all of North America for quite some time (at less of a net enegry cost than obtaining and refining more ore).

I find it hilarious that many people are finally catching on to what I saw when I was twelve years old: The Earth is on giant intertwined system of energy and it is not fooled by our ignorance of how it operates, it just keeps on going...




By hubajube on 5/2/2008 4:26:08 PM , Rating: 2
There are great many things period that rely on oil. Ever heard of plastic? Also, the US isn't the only country in the world to use oil and oil byproducts. The information is around you. Look for it.


By JustTom on 5/3/2008 2:30:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I find it hilarious that many people are finally catching on to what I saw when I was twelve years old: The Earth is on giant intertwined system of energy and it is not fooled by our ignorance of how it operates, it just keeps on going...


Right, cause no one at all thought of that before your brilliant 12 year old insight.


Stop subsidizing the damn farmers
By Baked on 5/2/2008 12:30:42 PM , Rating: 5
How about we stop subsidizing these multi-million dollar farmers who burn their corn fields?




Hydrogen and Nuclear
By Tsunami982 on 5/2/2008 1:11:28 PM , Rating: 2
Nuclear for general energy production including for hydrogen fuel cells. It's an ambitious plan to develop and roll out such a drastic change... but then again getting to the moon and back in under a decade was pretty ambitious too. Nuclear isn't perfect (ie. waste/safety) but neither burning millions of tons of coal, having a constant flow of coal mining accidents, and being dependent on foreign (and sometimes unstable) sources of oil.




RE: Hydrogen and Nuclear
By andrinoaa on 5/5/2008 4:50:34 AM , Rating: 2
stop the war fisrt, its going to cost YOU and your fellow citizens 3trillion dollars, and it may not end there. Imagine what it could have done in helping to solve the big issues! lol


So are the corn farmers...
By eickst on 5/2/2008 1:13:23 PM , Rating: 4
So are the corn farmers, with all of these record profits, going to pay back the years and years of government subsidies that my tax dollars paid for?

Or is this country still in the habit of being capitalists when there are profits, and socialists when there are losses?




Don't see the problem here
By hubajube on 5/2/2008 1:37:55 PM , Rating: 2
Sacrifices MUST be made in order to remove ourselves from foreign oil dependency. So what, you'll just have to pay a bit more for food. You'll just have to put off buying those 22" rims. As far as the people outside this country are concerned, you guys aren't exempt from saving the environment either and you need to make sacrifices too. There's too many people on this planet anyways and a famine or two will be good for the planet.




RE: Don't see the problem here
By Ytsejamer1 on 5/2/2008 1:58:10 PM , Rating: 2
I agree...thin the herd people, thin the herd... (sarcasm...sort of)


plenty of corn
By mjcutri on 5/2/2008 12:16:47 PM , Rating: 2
A good source of info on corn:
http://www.iowacorn.org/ethanol/ethanol_1.html

Especially check out the "Food and fuel" section at the bottom.

"Finally, proof that there is enough corn to go around is evident in the fact that, every year, there is a surplus. Surplus
corn for the 2007 season – the amount above and beyond demand – is projected at 1.9 billion bushels, a 45 percent
increase over 2006. This surplus is well above the 20-year average and is the fifth-highest level in the last two
decades."




By wordsworm on 5/2/2008 1:18:50 PM , Rating: 2
I work in Korea... and because of this whole oil crisis, I've seen the value of the Canadian dollar rise, not just in the face of a weakened American dollar, but it rises in the face of rising fuel costs.

One good way to resolve the oil crisis is to implement modern energy supplements. Hopefully in the not to distant future we'll see solar go cheap enough that it'll become as common as rooftops. I just recently watched a Discovery episode about alternative sources of energy. They covered how a single building installed a relatively immense solar array which produces enough electricity for the whole building. This is in Sweden, as they pointed out, which is far from the ideal location for a solar array. There was also an interesting blurb about a new kind of wind turbine which is able to effectively produce electricity in a city like Chicago without all the issues caused by traditional models.

As far as the food vs fuel crisis is concerned, this itself would be easily fixed with simple legislation: make food grade corn illegal to be used as a fuel source. Reverse Bush's legislation and go back to the Kyoto agreement, which would add further incentive to industry and government to come up with better solutions to the current energy crisis.

All you folks who laud the use of nuclear energy seem to forget that there is highly toxic waste that's produced by these plants. How long can tight regulations over the disposal of this waste be effective should nuclear power become the major supplier of energy throughout the world?

I see solar, should it reach reasonable prices as is estimated by many, as being one of the greatest boons to the energy crisis. Cover every building and car with that stuff and the world would see one of the greatest reductions in fossil fuel consumption ever. Also there was another interesting story about how cars can be designed to make better use of their energy. One thing that seemed pretty obvious but somehow has eluded the auto industry was the concept of insulating cars so that they require far less energy for air conditioning units.

The answers are out there. Sacrificing poor nations, not to mention poor local families, is not a satisfactory answer.




By dragonbif on 5/2/2008 1:23:27 PM , Rating: 2
There is a bill out right now that mandates all cars have to be 43mpg (Not large trucks) or better by 2022. This should be change to 2015 and we should have more nuclear power plants put in. They have a new method of safely storing nuclear waste that does not affect the environment at all until its half life is over. You could even stand next to it and not be affected. However there are not many facilities that put the waste into a state that is safe yet and it takes as long as 20 years to build such a facility.




By BitByRabidAlgae on 5/2/2008 6:24:49 PM , Rating: 2
In the long run, ethanol simply isn't a viable replacement for gasoline. You can only make ethanol from one thing: sugar. Where that sugar comes from is irrelevant. The reason corn is the ethanol base of choice in the US is because it's relatively easy to extract the sugar from it. Sugar cane would be even easier, but we just don't grow as much of it.

Can general plant matter be used to make ethanol? Yes, but not as easily or cheaply. Most plant material is in the form of cellulose. While it is possible to extract sugars from cellulose, it requires additional processing. The favorite method for doing this at the moment, is using enzymes to break down the cellulose and free the sugars. But, enzymes aren't cheap. There is a lot of research going on now to find cheaper, more efficient ways to get sugar from cellulose. Once they figure that one out, maybe they won't need to use edible stock for ethanol production. But who knows how long that will take.

Even if they crack that nut, how viable will ethanol be? There is very little waste in modern agriculture with regards to plant material. Most of this waste is sold for use in other industries, used for animal feed, or plowed back into the field for fertilizer. Yard waste? Ok, but how will it be collected, and how stable is the supply? While some people do bag their leaves/lawn clippings/etc. and set it at the curb, most do not. They either leave it, compost it, or use mulching mowers to get rid of it. These people would need to be provided with some incentive to go to the trouble of gathering this stuff up. Also, there tends to be a sharp drop in yard waste around winter.

My rant seems to going well so far, so I'll just keep going.

What are our other options? Engines have been adapted to burn just about any suitable liquid or gas. But there isn't much of a distribution network in place for most of them (natural gas being a notable exception).

The real problem is that many efforts are geared toward keeping the current paradigm (combustion engines) going. The internal combustion engine is an antique. While improvements have been made over the years, it is still horribly inefficient, regardless of the fuel. The electric motor is the obvious solution. Far more efficient, silent, and pollution free. The problem comes with powering them. There are two primary camps here, hydrogen fuel cells and batteries. Both will find their segment (fuel cells for those who want to refuel in minutes, as opposed to recharge in hours). The hydrogen for the fuel cell, and charge for the battery have to come from somewhere though.

The safest way to store hydrogen is water. But, then you need to separate it. Also, if everyone used water for fuel, the strain on municipal water supplies would probably be critical (especially in drought conditions). Though some type of condenser unit to reclaim the water vapor exhaust would help alleviate this. DT has covered some unique ways of getting hydrogen out of water at the vehicle itself. But, even with those, in the end it comes down to needing electric power to produce the catalyst for at-the-vehicle production, or elctrolysis for industrial production. Of course, batteries would need to get their juice from the grid. Ultimately, the cost of vehicle fuel will be tied to the cost of electricity production.

The predominant form of power generation today is burning fossil fuel (usually coal). But, we run into the same roadblock as gasoline. There may be plenty of it right now, but it won't last forever and it's not exactly clean. Alternatives?

Let's look at nuclear. If you switched the entire planet over to nuclear (the reactors being equivalent to what is running now), the current known fuel supply would only last about 30 years. Now, great strides have been made in safety, efficiency, fuel reprocessing, and waste reduction. So, one could argue that with discovery of a few new fuel sources, and use of the most modern reactor designs, the fuel supply could be good for 100-200 years. But, again, the fuel supply is ultimately limited. The only real, long term, clean solution for our energy needs is nuclear fusion. While I'm not up to date on the latest fusion research, I believe it's safe to say that it is getting far less funding than ethanol, biodiesel, etc.




By teckytech9 on 5/3/2008 12:50:41 PM , Rating: 2
Most commodities are pegged to the dollar. Food being a commodity is appreciating on the world markets. The increase in prices and shortages cannot be blamed solely on the production of ethanol, but many other factors. Maybe now is a good time to stock up on canned foods.




Better Numbers
By bldckstark on 5/2/08, Rating: -1
RE: Better Numbers
By therealnickdanger on 5/2/2008 12:06:09 PM , Rating: 2
You mean, like people that slip on oily surfaces?


RE: Better Numbers
By JasonMick (blog) on 5/2/2008 12:10:49 PM , Rating: 3
Most Americans are opposed to the Iraq war. And most are not happy with the oil industry. But your assertion is flawed.

Rising food costs also cost human life both through famine and war.

http://www.america.gov/st/peacesec-english/2008/Ap...

"Diouf, speaking at the Global Agro-Industries Forum in New Delhi April 9, said that world food prices have risen 45 percent in the last nine months and that there are severe shortages of rice, wheat and maize (corn). The FAO also has reported incidents of civil unrest in Indonesia, Côte d'Ivoire, Mauritania, Mozambique, Bolivia, Senegal and Uzbekistan over food prices."

By all indications, you're looking at a situation in which you have currently a choice between two options, both with significant negative societal rammifications.

The answer is not to pick or defend a bad choice, its to develop better choices.


RE: Better Numbers
By Screwballl on 5/2/2008 1:30:41 PM , Rating: 2
Please remove your ideas of "most" from the "most" of reality. "MOST" people are not opposed to the war, we have freed an entire society from under the rule of a ruthless and murderous dictator. We have made amazing gains in helping them fix their country as they want. The war itself has been done and over with for several years now. Right now it is the rebuilding phase. In a few more years we can step down the troops we have stationed there and let them start their own self protection and production.

I agree that a large number of people are not happy with the oil industry. The cost of oil per barrel has gone up 75% in the past 10 years yet the cost of gas at the pump has gone up 200%, meanwhile these oil companies are making record profits that are 200% of what they were just a decade ago. Rising food costs is due to 2 primary things: increase in gas prices and increased usage of corn for fuel.

we are at the end of a short stick here and no matter which way it is turned, we are getting jabbed.


RE: Better Numbers
By JasonMick (blog) on 5/2/2008 2:17:16 PM , Rating: 1
Umm??

http://www.pollingreport.com/iraq.htm
CNN.com opinion poll
"Do you favor or oppose the U.S. war in Iraq?"
(4/28/2008)
Oppose -> 68 percent
Favor -> 30 percent
Unsure -> 3 percent (total adds to 101 due to rounding)

Margin of error is 3 percent.

Last I checked most means the majority. You are obviously entitled to your opinion, but MOST people don't share your rose colored view of how things are going on over there.


RE: Better Numbers
By masher2 (blog) on 5/3/2008 2:37:48 AM , Rating: 5
> ""Do you favor or oppose the U.S. war in Iraq?"

I'm rather neutral on this particular subject, but surely you see what a biased survey question that is. If the same people were instead asked, "Do you think US troops should immediately leave Iraq, regardless of the effect on stability", you'd almost certainly get results the exact opposite.


RE: Better Numbers
By napalmjack on 5/2/2008 2:42:21 PM , Rating: 2
Let's see. In 1998, the price per barrel of oil was about $20. Now, it's roughly $115. I got 575%. Did you check your work?

quote:
we are getting jabbed.


Indeed we are.


RE: Better Numbers
By MrBungle123 on 5/2/2008 2:47:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The cost of oil per barrel has gone up 75% in the past 10 years yet the cost of gas at the pump has gone up 200%, meanwhile these oil companies are making record profits that are 200% of what they were just a decade ago. Rising food costs is due to 2 primary things: increase in gas prices and increased usage of corn for fuel.


The record profits are due to the increased cost of raw materials. Businesses set prices based on a margin. if you are selling a product at a 10% markup and raw materials cost you $100 then you will charge $110... now say that raw materials go up significantly to $200, now your price goes up to $220 (still 10% markup) but now you are making *gasp* record profits! the same is true with the oil industry. The record profits are due to an increase in the per barrel cost of oil due to demand out stripping supply.

people need to realize that the problem is with supply, we need to allow more drilling inside our own borders to increase supply and lower the cost. People like the governor of Wyoming endorsing Barak Obama under the condition that no drilling for oil inside Wyoming while he is president are the problem. This "energy crysis" is entirely artificial, there are massive oil reserves in North Dakota, off the coast of California, in ANWR, and in the Gulf of Mexico that are inside US territory and are completely untouchable because of political pandering to special interests and demonizing of large corporations.

Large portions of the public that are out there clapping and cheering everytime some liberal democrat starts rambling on about how they are going to "stick it to the oil companies" own those companies and don't even realize it. They own them through 401K's and mutual funds and are too stupid to realize that they are shooting themselves in the foot by endorsing such policies.


RE: Better Numbers
By BiffRapper on 5/2/2008 12:21:11 PM , Rating: 4
Why don't you contrast that with how many people died in World War II or Vietnam before you start raising a state of chaos over all of this.

Or, you can go make friends with your closest middle-eastern friend and tout your Christian beliefs and refuse to convert. See how far that gets you.


RE: Better Numbers
By JasonMick (blog) on 5/2/08, Rating: -1
RE: Better Numbers
By BiffRapper on 5/2/2008 12:49:59 PM , Rating: 5
I'd love to make the world a better place, but apparently there a bunch of maniacs and crazy people that want everyone to submit to their frame of thinking and their will or be destroyed.

Yes, that is a dumb question as they are all equally evil. The problem occurs when you have a small subset of population bent on destruction of everyone else whom are getting reparations, special rights and treatment, and manipulating foreign governments due to them (the governments) fearing violent repercussions.

This is happening every day in Europe and it is quite sad.

Oh, and I know plenty of Persians (yes, they refuse to recognize themselves as Iranian), good friends of mine actually, whom have both renounced Islam and refuse to associate themselves with the rest of Middle-eastern culture. They proudly call themselves Americans.

If the Middle East was full of so many friendly people, why are they here and why do they look down upon their heritage?


RE: Better Numbers
By JasonMick (blog) on 5/2/08, Rating: -1
RE: Better Numbers
By BiffRapper on 5/2/2008 2:02:16 PM , Rating: 5
I think you misunderstood me. No, you shouldn't renounce your religion to be an American, but these Persians have for particular reasons. They wanted to completely dissassociate with that middle-easter society.

The beauty of America is we have freedom of religion, which in turn basically says: "Be tolerant of all religion in our Nation." The problem is there are a few Muslims with quite a bit of power (just look at Saudi Arabia for a gem of insanity) in powerful places, or in positions of mass-communication whom are ruining the whole lot - and are in-tolerant of ANYTHING but their own religion.

I don't care if you're a Jew, Christian, Buddhist or anything else - that's great! More power to everyone. It only is an issue when someone says - you submit to my religion or you are destroyed.

Yes, it is in fact their medieval mindset which is keeping the place messed up. They refuse to accept the modern world. It, as you point out, is very similar to medieval Europe, where the Catholic (and Anglican within great Britain for instance) ruled the land. Quite a number of bad things occured in this period due to direct church-influence of government and society (Church and State should always remain separate but much of the world fails to realize this). I could write a book on how intolerant the Catholic and Anglican church were towards people.

You could also look at early protestant churches within the United States in the 1600's - take Salem and the witch trials for instance. Quite an eye-opener as to the danger of Church having far too much influence over the community and government. They were quite the intolerant group back then.

I could go on and on as Religion has played a key facet in much of our history (which is why it should be taught in school - just not in one form such as Christianity or Judaism, but rather an overview of all the worlds religions and their historical impact).

I'm not intolerant at all - except of those which are intolerant of everyone else. How can you tolerate those who want you destroyed? Do you just sit idly and wait for them to come to you with a gun in their hand?


RE: Better Numbers
By Ringold on 5/2/2008 5:29:29 PM , Rating: 4
Another quote for ya, Jason.

"There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities." - Teddy Roosevelt

Muslim-American = Bad
Arab-American = Bad
Persian-American = Bad
Irish-American = Bad
American = Good.


RE: Better Numbers
By soydeedo on 5/2/2008 2:47:40 PM , Rating: 2
I just wanted to note that I'm Persian/Iranian, and if I call myself Persian some idiot always says it's because I don't want to be labeled Iranian because of how things are going over there. If I say I'm Iranian that same idiot says it's because I don't want to be labeled Persian because of 300. From now on I'm Peranian.

In reality I usually call myself Persian, but I think that's just because it flows off the tongue easier honestly. I certainly don't refuse to call myself Iranian. I wasn't brought up in a Muslim family and don't associate myself with any religion, but I still respect them as much as I respect Christians. There are probably radical Christians that would do similar acts of violence if they had the support radical Muslims have in the middle east. Thank goodness we don't have a [fully] theocratic government.


RE: Better Numbers
By masher2 (blog) on 5/4/2008 12:04:09 AM , Rating: 2
> " If I say I'm Iranian that same idiot says it's because I don't want to be labeled Persian because of 300"

Lol, really?


RE: Better Numbers
By soydeedo on 5/5/2008 2:46:34 PM , Rating: 2
No joke. It doesn't really happen a whole lot these days, but pretty much all of last year was a true test of my patience. =P


RE: Better Numbers
By geddarkstorm on 5/2/2008 12:56:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
People need to stop judging other people and start trying to make the world a better place.


If only...

But, some people thrive in drama. It's not like "high school" ends at graduation anyways.


RE: Better Numbers
By zombiexl on 5/2/2008 1:33:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And who's been worse over the course of history, Christian fundamentalists or Muslim fundamentalists? Its an inherently dumb question, like asking who was worse, Timothy McVeigh or Osama Bin Laden?


If you actually look at history muslims have committed far more crimes against humanity than christians. I'm sure in your liberal mind thats not true, but it is a fact.


RE: Better Numbers
By JasonMick (blog) on 5/2/08, Rating: -1
RE: Better Numbers
By Reclaimer77 on 5/2/2008 2:21:51 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Buddy, I could be a liberal or a conservative, I know people on both ends who believe equally in freedom of religion and oppose fundamentalism.


Liberals certainly do not believe in freedom's of any kind. Except, of course, the ones they decide is acceptable for the rest of us while enjoying a complete different set of freedoms for themselves. And the entire Liberalist movement is based on flawed fundamentals.

Don't confuse Liberals with Democrats. There are still some sane well minded Democrats out there. But once someone declares themselves as " Liberal " just steer clear.


RE: Better Numbers
By MrBungle123 on 5/2/2008 2:53:19 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Don't confuse Liberals with Democrats. There are still some sane well minded Democrats out there. But once someone declares themselves as " Liberal " just steer clear.


For not being liberals they sure did a good job of picking two left-wing liberal socialists to run for office this year.


RE: Better Numbers
By Reclaimer77 on 5/2/2008 3:16:33 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
For not being liberals they sure did a good job of picking two left-wing liberal socialists to run for office this year.


Ugh sadly yes. And the other guy isn't much better of a choice either.


RE: Better Numbers
By MrBungle123 on 5/2/2008 4:22:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Ugh sadly yes. And the other guy isn't much better of a choice either.


You got that right.


RE: Better Numbers
By masher2 (blog) on 5/2/2008 3:13:07 PM , Rating: 1
> "What's worse-- the murder of two million people, or the death of 2.2 million people?? "

I vote for 2.2.


RE: Better Numbers
By BiffRapper on 5/2/2008 3:22:25 PM , Rating: 2
Statistically speaking, masher is correct.

Well, at least you could argue that 50% of the time 90% of his statement could be construed as accurate.


RE: Better Numbers
By Farfignewton on 5/3/2008 3:12:39 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I vote for 2.2.


I respectfully disagree, provided the 2.2 million were not also murdered. Death is inevitable, but murder is not. It is a premature and wholly unnecessary death, and in my opinion, that makes it more devastating than dieing of old age, accident, or disease for the family of the deceased.


RE: Better Numbers
By zombiexl on 5/2/2008 10:51:44 PM , Rating: 2
Dude, I read most of your "articles" and blogs. I dont think anyone can save you from your liberal delusions.

Back to the issue at hand. How about we look at the last 100 years to make it easy. How many wars have been started in the name of god (or jesus) and how many in the name of mohamad or allah?

How many wars going on around the world involve muslims? Hint: Its a pretty damn high percentage.

I think you labeling as radical vs non-radical is a very strange thing to do. Have you read the koran? Have you read the Bible (we'll use King James version for this)?
The koran is clearly more radical in its assertion that anyone who does not follow it should be wiped out.

Are their extremeist christians.. Hell yeah.. Those nuts who blow up abortion clinics, etc.

As an American, I believe it is much more likely that a muslim will kill me than a christian. Although truthfully it will most likely be fast food.


RE: Better Numbers
By Screwballl on 5/2/2008 12:45:48 PM , Rating: 2
Every soldier that has served or died for this country has served or died for ethanol and every other freedom we enjoy.

Cut the crap.


RE: Better Numbers
By masher2 (blog) on 5/2/2008 1:16:58 PM , Rating: 3
> "How many soldiers have died bringing ethanol fuel to market? "

How many soldiers have died bringing the oil to market needed to grow the corn for that ethanol? No matter how much ethanol we use as fuel, we'll still need vast amounts of petroleum for the fertilizer to grow it.

In any case, historically food riots have killed far more people than any other form of social disturbance. Interestingly enough, in the past 9 months alone, 30 different nations have had such riots.


RE: Better Numbers
By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 5/2/08, Rating: 0
RE: Better Numbers
By masher2 (blog) on 5/2/2008 3:14:04 PM , Rating: 3
> "The USA produces a majority of the oil it consumes"

Not any more. 66% of US consumption is now imported.


I found the problem
By Bioniccrackmonk on 5/2/08, Rating: -1
RE: I found the problem
By Reclaimer77 on 5/2/2008 2:32:09 PM , Rating: 5
Twice Bush has proposed an Energy Plan that would increase refinery manufacturing and DRILL FOR MORE OIL IN OUR OWN BORDERS, and twice it was voted down by Liberal democrats. The same ones who now blame him for the " oil crisis " and everything else under the sun that goes wrong.

F'ing moron ? I think I would put you in that category. Bush isn't the best public speaker, okay we get it, big deal. Hes totally 100% correct and dead on about this. Theres no magic solution thats going to make everyone happy. This is a supply and demand problem ! How do you fix it ? Increase the supply. Its just that simple ! This is basic economics.

If you think this great nation has been, or could be, run into the ground by any president in 8 years your being a fool. If we could survive the Clinton administration we can survive anything.


RE: I found the problem
By dragonbif on 5/2/2008 2:43:02 PM , Rating: 2
LOL I forgot about those bills, thanks for the reminder. Like I say, they are going to shoot down anything Bush puts out because he is a republican and it was not one of their own ideas. (See post below)


RE: I found the problem
By Reclaimer77 on 5/2/2008 3:09:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
LOL I forgot about those bills, thanks for the reminder. Like I say, they are going to shoot down anything Bush puts out because he is a republican and it was not one of their own ideas. (See post below)


You know, I understand what is is about Bush that puts them off. But senators and congressmen have a larger responsibility than their own feelings and biase's. Its honestly upsetting how over the past 8 years Democratic partisanship has blocked every opportunity to make our way of life better. Its almost like they don't even care WHAT the issue is, they see Bush or another Republican so it automatically gets voted down or argued about on that basis alone. Compounding this is that it seems like everyone is so stupid they go along with these people when Bush is blamed for the very problems their extreme partisanship has created!

These are grown, hopefully mature, men and women. And at every opportunity display a completely irrational personal dislike for the man, and that effects every single decision they make. I'm sorry but their constituents deserve, and should demand, more than that. I think the country is more important then that.


RE: I found the problem
By 777 on 5/3/2008 12:58:47 AM , Rating: 2
You are absolutely correct in your analysis, I have said this for 8yrs now we should be drilling up in ANWR, there is enough oil up there for 60yrs of gasoline for 60 million cars. Who has stopped this, first the Clinton administration and after that it's been the dumocrats who are always chastising big oil. And who pays more at the pump when they tax big oil, you and I do, prices don't go down they go up.

When the Pelosi dumocrats took over gas was $2.33 a gallon, now here in L.A. thanks to the Pelosi dumocrats comprehensive plan we're paying almost $4.00 a gallon. We have got to get off foreign oil.


RE: I found the problem
By dragonbif on 5/2/2008 2:35:14 PM , Rating: 2
Na, it’s been going down for allot longer then that. I don’t see much change coming; none of the candidates for president have a nose for economics. The big problem here is the green people pushing for this stuff such as Al Gore and other global worming people who are looking for a fix now and not thinking about the cause and effect part of it.

It is nice to be able to point fingers at are current president when really there is no easy solution to the problem. We can fix are own country somewhat but what do we do about others? As they get more cars and have more power needs, they use more so the demand goes up. Then we just do not have the facilities to cope with the demand and it can take years to build more oil processing plants.

To say that this is all are presidents fault is just wrong (not that I like him much). He is the president of the US not the king. We have congress and the senate approving these and the democrats are the majority. This also causes a problem because republicans and democrats don’t get along so they shoot down a bill of the other party even if it is a good idea.

Like I say, we need a president who has a “nose” for economics but I feel it is too late with the candidates we have right now. They all have the free women, be nice to the Middle East goals. None of which has anything to do with are country.


RE: I found the problem
By Ringold on 5/2/2008 4:50:31 PM , Rating: 2
McCain's economic advisor is competent, but he ends up spending a good deal of time defending some of McCains more populist economic positions. I just wish the guy would shave.

Obama's economic advisor (Austen Goolsbee) is good, a practical free market capitalist hiding in the Keynsian or socialist camp -- but ever since he got caught trying to tell the Canadian's not to worry about Obama's anti-NAFTA rhetoric since Obama was just pandering to the ignorant masses (that is how it translates anyway), I haven't seen him anywhere since late Feb or early March. It's almost as if Obama threw him in a cage and hasn't let him out. Maybe he's even been fired. Ever since then, Obama's rhetoric has become more socialist and less based in reality by the day.

I'm not even sure who Hillary's economic advisor is, nor what her position is; she's transitioned from cold communist rhetoric to sounding almost like a conservative. What's her real position? *licks finger, places in the wind* Winds are changing. Who knows? She went from talking about up to a 28% cap gains rate, to in the last debate saying she may not raise it at all (currently at 15%).

Doesn't bode well for any of them, except, maybe McCain.


Use yard waste
By Screwballl on 5/2/08, Rating: -1
RE: Use yard waste
By headbox on 5/2/08, Rating: -1
RE: Use yard waste
By stburke on 5/2/2008 12:10:13 PM , Rating: 5
Brazil also has the perfect conditions for growing sugar cane, which yields way more ethanol than corn. And sugar cane isn't what you call a significant part of a persons diet.


RE: Use yard waste
By daftrok on 5/2/08, Rating: -1
RE: Use yard waste
By jtemplin on 5/2/2008 1:31:07 PM , Rating: 4
If you are getting at what I think you are getting at, then consider that HFCS is produced from corn starch. In fact in 2005 the per capita consumption of HFCS was greater than sucrose consumption.

Wiki:

The average American consumed approximately 28.4 kg of HFCS in 2005, versus 26.7 kg of sucrose sugar.[13] In countries where HFCS is not used or rarely used, the sucrose consumption per person can be higher than the USA; for example (2002):[14]

* USA: 32.4 kg
* EU: 40.1 kg
* Brazil: 59.7 kg
* Australia: 56.2 kg

We see that the trend is increasing reliance on corn over cane sugar from 2002->2005 but perhaps this new corn climate will reverse that trend.
13 U.S. per capita food availability – Sugar and sweeteners (individual). Economic Research Service (2007-02-15). Retrieved on 2007-09-14.
14 WHO Oral Health Country/Area Profile Programme


RE: Use yard waste
By Smartless on 5/2/2008 2:56:00 PM , Rating: 2
Minor correction. The US uses sugar beets. Sugarcane needs tropical weather. It doesn't change your point but it should be pointed out that sugar cane is also very thirsty in terms of water needs as well as needing tropical climates. Another reason why Brazilian ethanol fuel is a bad idea.


RE: Use yard waste
By Ringold on 5/2/2008 4:14:51 PM , Rating: 3
South Florida has Sugarcane farms, has had them for a long time. For a long time, they've been devastating the Everglades, and for a long time in the past and as far as the eye can see in to the future the Florida taxpayer will be paying out the ears in expensive efforts to save the Everglades from the environmental disaster caused by South Florida farmers.

I'm happy it works for Brazil, and understand some people love to attack America on any point they can, but we've tried it here and it does not work.


RE: Use yard waste
By Smartless on 5/5/2008 5:46:38 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I live in Hawaii where sugar cane was THE crop of choice along with pineapples. Sugar cane died here though because we couldn't compete with sugar beets. I'm sorry I meant to say that Most of america's sugar production comes from sugar beets.

And I agree, works for Brazil but it won't work here.


RE: Use yard waste
By michal1980 on 5/2/2008 12:15:44 PM , Rating: 2
do you relize that brizal is burning down thosands of miles of rain forest to plant all this sugar cane?

How about instead of stupid ideas like using corn for car fuel.

we start drilling for the oil we have here?


RE: Use yard waste
By BiffRapper on 5/2/2008 12:18:02 PM , Rating: 5
how about we switch to Nuclear Power and end this Ethanol madness completely?


RE: Use yard waste
By TerranMagistrate on 5/2/08, Rating: -1
RE: Use yard waste
By EntreHoras on 5/2/2008 12:48:17 PM , Rating: 5
Come on!

The idea of using nuclear power is to power electrical cars, not nuclear cars.


RE: Use yard waste
By BiffRapper on 5/2/2008 1:01:04 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously... I never said nuclear inside of car anywhere, did I?

I said Nuclear POWER.


RE: Use yard waste
By jtemplin on 5/2/2008 1:32:03 PM , Rating: 2
I want nuclear in my car. I also think lead is functional and fashionable =D


RE: Use yard waste
By BansheeX on 5/2/2008 1:08:22 PM , Rating: 2
Right on, baby, right on. And you know what else? If had a home equipped with some kind of renewable tech now or in the future, be it wind, solar, or geothermal depending on where you live, an electric car will enable you to create your own car's energy at home for free! Now that is a freaking sweet possibility. I'm sure politicians will just make us unable to afford it, though, by taxing the living daylights out of us for stupid subsidies like ethanol, unsustainable redistribution of wealth schemes, no-bid war contracts. Whatever it is the federal government actually does these days under the pretense of taking care of us and saving us from evil capitalistic companies like this:

www.aptera.com


RE: Use yard waste
By Spivonious on 5/2/08, Rating: -1
RE: Use yard waste
By BiffRapper on 5/2/2008 1:04:22 PM , Rating: 2
Does everyone take everything so literal on here and over-analyze everything?

No, you'd use nuclear energy to make power, set up a centralized grid for transportation and deliver power to each vehicle on the spot via relays, contact points or through short-range atmospheric transmission... or centralize society in cities and provide electrically-powered public transportation.


RE: Use yard waste
By jtemplin on 5/2/2008 1:33:23 PM , Rating: 4
Well its taken whichever way can either A.) Make a "witty" statement or B.) Strengthen possibly fallacious arguement

Those are some cynical explanations...


RE: Use yard waste
By Spivonious on 5/3/2008 12:09:39 PM , Rating: 2
I prefer (A) myself ;)


RE: Use yard waste
By redeyedfly on 5/2/2008 2:43:57 PM , Rating: 2
Forget all of this corn, sugar, any natural resource that big oil can control. Using anything natural will of course result in depleation of something and the rising cost of something else.

What we need to be focusing on is Synfuel. If the germans made it back in WWII 60 years ago for pennies, we can do it now for less, much faster, and more plentiful.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_fuel


RE: Use yard waste
By Ringold on 5/2/2008 4:18:04 PM , Rating: 2
It's also partly why the Germans lost. If it were profitable without subsidies, as you claim, then it would already be big business.


RE: Use yard waste
By markitect on 5/2/2008 2:20:25 PM , Rating: 2
You guys realize that ethanol is made from the sugar in plants. wood chips and grass won't help out much.

I think the key thing to do now is to stop subsidies. This will lower the amount ethanol plants can pay for the corn which will in turn allow the prices to come down some, while still allowing farmers to make a nice profit.


RE: Use yard waste
By therealnickdanger on 5/2/2008 12:11:22 PM , Rating: 5
Do you have any idea how vastly different Brazil is from the United States? Place our transportation demands on their ethanol production and you'll witness it shatter into a million pieces.

Ethanol is not the answer and it never has been. Corn goes in the mouth, not in a tank.

The only way we will solve the rising fuel cost problem AND the rising food prices is increase production of gas and cease production of ethanol. China sure as hell isn't going to stop buying oil soon, so demand isn't going to fall.


RE: Use yard waste
By chick0n on 5/2/08, Rating: -1
RE: Use yard waste
By therealnickdanger on 5/2/2008 1:00:54 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not placing blame on China. I blame our weak lawmakers of old for so drastically restricting oil and nuclear production in this country and the current lawmakers for continuing to avoid the issue. There is PLENTY of safe, economically viable energy available, but we have to PRODUCE more of it to lower the prices. Meanwhile, China is slant-drilling billions of barrels of "our" oil off the coast of Florida.


RE: Use yard waste
By dever on 5/2/2008 2:03:42 PM , Rating: 3
I assume you mean Mexico is slant drilling. In any case, the point is taken.

Everyone proclaiming we need to switch to "this" fuel or "that" energy source, please realize the true lesson of ethonal. The real lesson is that politicians cannot possibly know what is the best course of action. Communism has already been proven ineffective. The answer is not to "encourage" or "discourage" various energy sources.

Freedom in the market can and will take into consideration ALL costs (environmental and otherwise) and is the only way to effectively manage scarce resource that have alternative uses.


RE: Use yard waste
By masher2 (blog) on 5/2/2008 3:05:47 PM , Rating: 2
> "I assume you mean Mexico is slant drilling"

Actually, China is setting up a large network of oil wells within 50 miles of the Florida Keys. Part of a deal they broked with Castro.


RE: Use yard waste
By excrucio on 5/2/2008 12:54:11 PM , Rating: 2
Heh. Idk why you were rated down.

But i got a question, would it be bad for the US to import the sugar cane? or Ethanol from Brazil since they have it so much?

By the way when i used to live in Brazil Ethanol was horrible for Winter weather which doesn't hit freezing temperatures like in the U.S you would definetly need a little bit of gas to start you car up. You would also have to heat up your car every day during the winter.


RE: Use yard waste
By masher2 (blog) on 5/2/2008 12:59:07 PM , Rating: 4
The problem is that Brazil uses a tiny fraction of the fuel the US does, and they're still having to cut down huge swathes of Rain Forest to generate their ethanol. Furthermore, even in Brazil, 60% of the fuel is still gasoline, not ethanol.

Brazil would have to clear the entire Rainforest, and then some, to supply the US with ethanol.


RE: Use yard waste
By Smartless on 5/2/2008 3:18:42 PM , Rating: 2
Wikipedia had some interesting numbers out of textbook from University of Minnesota. I'm just cherry-picking here...
75 tons raw cane = 1 hectare (2.47 acres)
1 ton of B&C (77% mass of raw cane) = 135kg sucrose
135 kg = 70 liters ethanol
1636 liters of ethanol (432 gals) = 1 acre

Of course adding energy to get water, till, harvest, transport, process.... comes to a solar to ethanol efficiency of about 0.13%. Gee and I thought solar cells were bad. hehe.


RE: Use yard waste
By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 5/2/08, Rating: 0
RE: Use yard waste
By Cogman on 5/2/2008 12:45:09 PM , Rating: 2
If I remember right, the reason they can make ethonal is because the legality comes in when transporting it (You aren't allowed to transport moonshine). The way the get around this is they add a small amount of gas to the ethanol before shipping it, rendering it consumable and hence legal to transport.

Anyways, that was my understanding on what goes on.

Corn is not a good ethanol producer, there are tones of things that we can grow in the US the make much better fuels. We don't because corn farmers like the cash.


RE: Use yard waste
By omnicronx on 5/2/2008 1:19:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If I remember right, the reason they can make ethonal is because the legality comes in when transporting it (You aren't allowed to transport moonshine). The way the get around this is they add a small amount of gas to the ethanol before shipping it, rendering it consumable and hence legal to transport.
Could be.. I have also heard that levels close to 100% have problems with cold starts.


RE: Use yard waste
By walk2k on 5/2/08, Rating: 0
RE: Use yard waste
By KamiXkaze on 5/3/2008 10:17:48 PM , Rating: 2
If you mean by industrial hemp yes, but that is still a long way to go since it not that quite legal here yet.

KxK


RE: Use yard waste
By icrf on 5/2/2008 2:37:56 PM , Rating: 2
I think "denatured" is the key ingredient to legal alcohol production for individuals. There's probably other limitations, like less than a certain quantity and forbidding sale.


RE: Use yard waste
By omnicronx on 5/2/2008 1:05:23 PM , Rating: 2
Green? pfft.. Ethonol releases more ozone into the atmostphere than gasoline, its harder to produce and much harder to transport. In fact since at its current state the ethonol is transported by special gasoline trucks, it could use more gasoline to transport it, than the gas it would replace in the first place.

What makes matters even worse is that until a efficiencys on other sources are improved, forests and fields that are being cleared for more production of corn and other ethonol producing plants are being destroyed an alarming rate. Even producers of ethonol know it can never totally replace gasoline, and it would probably take 20+ years of ethonol use to balance out all of the extra C02 emmisions it cause in the first place.

Of course I have not even taken inot account raising food prices, and the fact sugar could on day cost you more money than gold =P


RE: Use yard waste
By Ringold on 5/2/2008 4:30:10 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Once the technology matures, you will see the production of ethanol switch to non-food sources. (ie waste products, like corn stalks) Once that happens, ethanol will all of a sudden become very 'green'.


Unfortunately, while that makes sense in fairy-tale NeverNever Land, it's false in reality. Pacific Ethanol's CEO was on CNBC recently, and if I recall correctly, they asked if his current plants could be converted to cellulosic ethanol or other more advanced production methods. He answered in the negative.

The vast majority of the current production, and a lot of production still yet to come online, is not going to go away.


RE: Use yard waste
By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 5/2/08, Rating: 0
RE: Use yard waste
By Ringold on 5/2/2008 11:54:10 PM , Rating: 3
Okay, as long as you aren't defending the current crime against humanity, we agree. :P


RE: Use yard waste
By Akazar on 5/2/2008 3:28:52 PM , Rating: 2
Hey I got on idea...why don't we grow more freaking corn.

Wait...they won't cause they're being paid...not to grow it.


"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein














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