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Corn lobbyists are urging that the EPA decides to allow higher-ethanol E15 blends. This would likely raise the amount of ethanol currently in gas across the country from 10 percent (E10) to 15 percent (E15).  (Source:

Ethanol currently is more expensive (in terms of energy) at the pump, and is thought to corrode traditional gasoline engines. Also, food based ethanol is shown to both raise food prices and contribute more to emissions of carbon than gas. Still farmers stand to make a tremendous profit if ethanol use is increased, and they have a strong voice in Congress that may override these common-sense objections.
Ethanol lobbies are pushing hard for the right to put E15 fuel at the pump

Ethanol is a controversial topic among environmentalists and critics of the environmental movement, as well as the general public.  While newer cellulosic sources, such as POET and Coskata's respective efforts, will soon be seeing large-scale production, food-source based ethanol (primarily corn in the U.S.) continue to dominate production.  Likewise, cellulosic ethanol overall has been shown to reduce emissions and minimize economic impact (by using waste or weed-crops, rather than food crops), while corn ethanol actually increases carbon emissions (versus gasoline use) and offers what many view as a detrimental effect to the economy by raising food prices.

The Environmental Protection Agency is trying to keep these concerns in mind as it approaches a decision about whether to allow E15 blends (15 percent ethanol) at the pump for normal "gas" pumps (currently E85 is sold at select gas stations from non-gas pumps).  The EPA faces the noisy voice of midwest legislators (whose constituents profit from corn ethanol) and ethanol lobbyists.

Later today a final decision may be announced.  According to an EPA spokesperson, "EPA remains committed to making an announcement by the deadline of Dec. 1."

Most pumps are currently E10 (featuring 10 percent ethanol).  Still, this use pales in comparison to the 11 billion gallons of ethanol next year and 36 billion gallons by 2022 that Congress has required that the nation use.  The ethanol mandate was endorsed and signed into law by former President George W. Bush in 2007.  However, the initiative currently lacks teeth; with E10 pumps it is estimated that less than half of the 2022 usage goal will be reached.

Automakers generally oppose increasing the amount of ethanol at the pump.  They say that E15 blends will corrode the majority of current gasoline engines.  Industry advocates, though, admit that the past ethanol mandates aren't in line with current consumption.  Describes Mike Stanton, CEO of the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, the trade group representing major foreign automakers, "We're on a collision course here."

Given that opposition, the EPA may punt and try to delay the decision, contrary to its comments.  That would give it more time assess the impact of higher-ethanol blends on engine longevity, or give automakers funding to carry out such an assessment.  Congress, however, is trying to force the agency's hand.  Four farm-state senators, led by Ben Nelson, D-Neb., have introduced a measure that would force the EPA to allow E15 blends.

The automakers aren't the only ones worried about such a measure.  The International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association wrote a letter to the EPA warning that allowing E12 or E15 blends could cause "irreparable harm" to the 1.8 million registered snowmobiles in the U.S. They warn that this, in turn, could lead to economic damage in northern U.S. states, such as Michigan.  Lobbies for the marine, small engine, and motorcycle industries have also voiced opposition to increasing the amount of ethanol at the pump.

Ethanol, in its current food-based form, seems to be a lose-lose situation for the consumer, driving higher prices both at the pump and on food; promoting carbon emissions (and possibly warming), in addition to other pollutants; and corroding engines.  However, given the fact that certain states in the midwest stand to profit substantially on ethanol, and give Congress's ethanol-friendly nature, one way or another the measure seems likely to be put into effect.  The likely result will be that E12 or E15 pumps will likely become the standard across the nation.

A new bill is also pending in the Senate, introduced by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., which would mandate that automakers make 50 percent of their fleets E85-compatible by 2012 and 80 percent by 2015.  Currently E85 sells for approximately $2.23 a gallon versus $2.63 a gallon for gas.  However, ethanol is practically 24.1 percent less energy intensive, so it's more expensive to the consumer to drive on ethanol fuel than gasoline.

Updated Tues, Dec. 1, 2009 12:03 p.m.:
The EPA indeed decided to punt and push back the decision, despite their previous comments.  The agency says it will decide sometime in the middle of next year.  It announced the decision in a letter to Growth Energy, an ethanol lobby.

Writes the EPA:

Although all of the studies have not been completed, our engineering assessment to date indicates that the robust fuel, engine and emissions control systems on newer vehicles (likely 2001 and newer model years) will likely be able to accommodate higher ethanol blends, such as E15. However, we continue to evaluate the question of component durability when E15 is used over many thousands of miles and there is an ongoing study being conducted by D.O.E. that will provide critical data on this issue.

Ethanol supporters are generally taking the response as a positive one. In particular, cellulosic ethanol firms like POET are happy with it as it will give them time to bring their facilities online.  Describes POET CEO Jeff Broin, "We were pleased that the EPA’s letter shows a clear path to E15. Without increasing the base blend of ethanol to E15, it will be impossible to achieve the targets set in the Renewable Fuel Standard and there will be no market for cellulosic ethanol. POET is spending tens of millions of dollars to commercialize the production of ethanol from harvest leftovers but needs E15 to be certain there will be a market for the product."

Corn ethanol lobbyists, though, are eager to cash in quickly and may push for Congress to pass legislation rushing the E15 blend into approval.

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A much more pressing issue than gas mileage
By Chris Peredun on 12/1/2009 10:25:08 AM , Rating: 5
If your vehicle is not an FFV, use of any percentage of ethanol higher than 10% is not covered by warranty.

Let me make that perfectly clear.

Allowing the use of E15 gasoline blends will void the warranty of almost every vehicle on the road today.

RE: A much more pressing issue than gas mileage
By Danger D on 12/1/2009 10:33:09 AM , Rating: 1
Pretty sure that would be worked out in the regs.

RE: A much more pressing issue than gas mileage
By wookie1 on 12/1/2009 10:58:55 AM , Rating: 2
No, I don't think that they'll be able to force automakers to change the warranties on cars that are already sold. For cars sold after the E15 rollout, the cost of the car would just be increased to cover the additional warranty costs and the cost of changing fuel system materials.

RE: A much more pressing issue than gas mileage
By Danger D on 12/1/2009 11:08:16 AM , Rating: 2
EPA just made a statement:

"Should the test results remain supportive and provide the necessary basis, we would be in a position to approve E15 for 2001 and newer vehicles in the mid-year timeframe."

So only for newer cars and only if a couple more tests confirm that it's ok. That should take care of the warranty issue and clearly all gas wouldn't be able to be E15, so you can use whatever you want.

By Lord 666 on 12/1/2009 11:41:22 AM , Rating: 1
Glad I own a 2006 Jetta TDI that will burn anything. There was some schmuck on that purchased a 2009 with the intentions of strictly B100 since he was in the biodiesel business, against the warnings of the dealership. His test lasted 5000 miles with him ultimately selling the car due to the issues he ran into.

Anyway, looking to sell my gas guzzling CRV for either a TDI Toureg or CDI MB SUV. Now that it looks like E15 will be mandated within the next year, will expedite that process. The only concern would be a mandate of B10 or higher.

RE: A much more pressing issue than gas mileage
By omnicronx on 12/1/2009 1:13:06 PM , Rating: 3
Worked out how? Who is going to foot the bill for the countless cars that WILL die if they are forced to use E15.. I live in Canada and I can hear my engine ping and pop when using E10 when its really hot, I can't imagine the trouble this would cause for people down south.

Of course this all discounts the fact that the government has absolutely no authority to tell car manufacturers to change the warranty on cars not designed to use E15.

E10 was chosen for a reason, it was the maximum amount they could put into existing cars without doing tons of damage. Anyone who thinks this bill will ever be passed is completely crazy. I just don't understand why anyone thinks 'Big Corn' is any better than 'Big Oil'.. (and on last check, we don't eat oil)

RE: A much more pressing issue than gas mileage
By omnicronx on 12/1/2009 1:17:49 PM , Rating: 2
P.S I drive a 2003, it wouldn't last a summer on e15 with all the highway driving(I sit at around 3500RPM going 75MPH). I.e Even if the regulation only covers cars newer than 2001, drivers like me would be screwed.

RE: A much more pressing issue than gas mileage
By JediJeb on 12/1/2009 3:56:36 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, I used to turning about 2000-2500rpm at 75mph and I thought that was high rpms.

RE: A much more pressing issue than gas mileage
By steven975 on 12/1/2009 5:32:30 PM , Rating: 2
My S2000 turns 4500 in 6th @75!

Still gets 30mpg doing it tho.

By JediJeb on 12/2/2009 10:08:55 AM , Rating: 2
Mine was a 99 Trans Am, at 4500 in high gear I would be near 130-140mph. And crusing on the interstate at 75mph I was getting around 25-27mpg.

By omnicronx on 12/1/2009 10:04:10 PM , Rating: 2
Its only because its a 5 gear manual Mazda protege 5, its geared toward the mid to low end. The automatic fares much better on the highway.

By Danger D on 12/1/2009 4:30:18 PM , Rating: 2
Link to research please. I have.

RE: A much more pressing issue than gas mileage
By rtrski on 12/1/2009 10:36:45 AM , Rating: 1
And now you see how our illustrious government plans to make money off the GM/Chrysler bailout.

Approve E15. Void warranties and silt up engines, forcing a massive wave of auto replacement purchases. Get generous political contributions from labor unions in return. Rinse and repeat.

(Another huge issue with even E10 fuels is marine use: a huge proportion of boat fuel tanks built as little as a couple years ago use fiberglass resins that are soluble to ethanol and will as a result destroy their engines. Boats aren't exactly as rapidly-replaced as cars, either. You've usually gotta cut the hull entirely open to replace a tank.)

By ClownPuncher on 12/1/2009 12:29:34 PM , Rating: 2
That is a brand new conspiracy theory for me! I like it, keep em coming!

RE: A much more pressing issue than gas mileage
By rtrski on 12/1/2009 2:06:33 PM , Rating: 2
Well, it got downrated pretty quick, so I think I hit a nerve. :)

By wookie1 on 12/1/2009 11:01:48 AM , Rating: 2
In addition to that, damage will be caused to vehicles (in or out of warranty) that the owner will have to have replaced, probably multiple times on older cars that manufacturers don't design a fix for. When the fuel system components degrade, leaks can develop and create a fire risk, so that sounds great also. But hey, we get to help the corn farmers again!

RE: A much more pressing issue than gas mileage
By Jaybus on 12/1/2009 10:34:41 PM , Rating: 3
I have another problem with using ethanol. Back in the 70's we had much more primitive fuel systems. The fuel was gasoline and there was no E-anything at that time. On occasion, water would get into the fuel for any number of reasons and the engine wouldn't run or would run roughly. Gasoline is very hydrophobic and will not mix with water. The fix was to add a bottle of 99% isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Ethanol would work as well, but was more expensive. The alcohol allows for a gasoline/alcohol/water mixture that will burn. The water, of course, doesn't burn, but the water is taken out of the fuel through the engine and out the exhaust in gaseous form.

So, I would like to know if any studies have been made on water content of E10 or E15 at the pump. I believe condensation and runoff is getting into the fueling station tanks, as it always has. But now, with E10, it is in solution and we are buying some high priced water with every fill up. It would also be pretty easy for unscrupulous store owners to add a little water to make a few extra $$.

By JediJeb on 12/2/2009 10:05:19 AM , Rating: 3
There is also another way service stations make extra off fuel that most don't know about. If you warm the storage tank, the fuel will expand and warm fuel is less dense. A few truck stops were caught doing it about a year ago. Since the energy is dependant on the weight of fuel burned and not the volume, you are getting ripped off. Truckers were able to spot it happening as they pumped 200gallons into a tank then 30 minutes later they lost about 1/8 of a tank of fuel due to contraction in cold weather. That would be around $70 worth of fuel dissappearing for each 200 gallons purchased.

As for water being adsorbed by the Ethanol, that isn't all bad. Combustion of hydrocarbons isn't just a simple CH + O2 = H2O + CO2 ( simplified equation and not balanced) but there are many stages the molecules go through since most are complex molecules. In one of the stages water actually enhances the combustion producing more heat than if there was no water. Coal fired power plants use steam injection for this very reason. It can also be seen if you burn a brush pile and a slight mist of rain begins, you will see the fire get hotter instead of going out, as long as the rain isn't too heavy.

By FishTankX on 12/2/2009 5:24:09 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, they could probably make more with bottled water. It tends to run more than E85.

By Denithor on 12/1/2009 10:10:46 AM , Rating: 5
Let's hit consumers with a "green" tax they don't even realize is happening.

Lower energy efficiency = higher consumption for same miles driven = higher fuel cost = slower rebound in an already shaky economy

RE: Brilliant!
By Spivonious on 12/1/2009 10:15:50 AM , Rating: 2
My mileage already suffers with E10. I used to easily get 33-35 mpg highway with pure gasoline. Now I have to really try to get 30-32mpg with E10. E15 will only make things worse.

RE: Brilliant!
By Lord 666 on 12/1/2009 10:29:19 AM , Rating: 2
Why hasn't anyone brought a class action suit for the loss of mpg or the damage ethanol does to 2 stroke motors?

Ethanol is NOT the way to go and the stupidity needs to stop. More efficient designs and not forced use of a useless product.

RE: Brilliant!
By FITCamaro on 12/1/2009 10:38:01 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah here in Charleston there are a few stations selling pure gasoline because E10 was eating up the seals in people's lawnmowers. It's at a $.30 cent premium over regular E10 gas.

RE: Brilliant!
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 12/1/2009 11:01:41 AM , Rating: 2
I think you would need to find more than one person using a two stroke motor to form a class.

RE: Brilliant!
By Avatar28 on 12/1/2009 11:19:40 AM , Rating: 4
I had to take my brand new weedeater in for service after only a few hours of use. The repair shop explained to me then how E10 gas was ruining small engines, especially 2-stroke but also lawnmower engines as well. Basically the engines are already running as lean as possible to meet emissions requirements. The extra oxygen in E10 gas causes them to run even hotter and scorches the cylinder walls. The ethanol apparently also causes issues with the oil mixing properly with the gas. In my case they were able to drain out the gas and replace it with non-ethanol containing gas and it runs okay, but it cost me $50 that the warranty wouldn't cover. Oh, and they also mentioned that pretty much every small-engine manufacturer voids the warranty on your engine if you run E10 in it because of the damage it causes.

So there's your class right there. Pretty much everyone who owns a lawnmower, weedeater, or leafblower.

That doesn't even get into the fact that almost every single car in America, even ones sold in the last couple of years, warns not to use gas with more than 10% ethanol (unless they are flex-fuel and are made to work with E85). Who is going to pay to replace and/or repair all these cars that will almost certainly be damaged by long-term use of E85? Oh, that's right, we will. If you can't afford to buy a new vehicle (or two), well, there's always the bus, right?

RE: Brilliant!
By Redwin on 12/2/2009 10:01:02 AM , Rating: 2
lol are you implying that nobody uses 2-stroke motors?

That seems kind of silly. Pretty much every small-engine from weed eaters and leaf blowers up through high powered dirt bikes and snowmobiles are 2-stroke engines. All those engines need gasoline to run, and if gasoline is mandated to E15 at every pump, those engines will be damaged.

RE: Brilliant!
By vcolon on 12/1/2009 12:25:17 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention the fact that Ethanol 10 causes engine knocking. E15 will cause your engine to blow. Ethanol runs HOTTER people.

RE: Brilliant!
By sviola on 12/1/2009 1:02:35 PM , Rating: 2
No it doesn't...ethanol runs cooler...Here in Brazil, where we use ethanol, we need to have gasoline startup engines for the colder days...

RE: Brilliant!
By Spivonious on 12/1/2009 1:11:52 PM , Rating: 2
That's not related to the running temperatures. It's because ethanol freezes at a higher temperature than gasoline.

RE: Brilliant!
By robertisaar on 12/1/2009 2:14:19 PM , Rating: 3
ethanol burns cooler, but due to a lower stoich ratio, it's constantly running lean if in a engine intended for pure gasoline. that generates extra heat in the cylinders, but it's not the ethanol itself.

RE: Brilliant!
By Flunk on 12/1/2009 10:25:53 AM , Rating: 3
Corn ethanol isn't "green" at all, production and use of corn ethanol produces more emissions than using gasolene.

On another note I don't want to risk damaging my car with subpar fuel, this isn't something the government should be involved in.

RE: Brilliant!
By Hiawa23 on 12/1/2009 2:07:29 PM , Rating: 3
Let's hit consumers with a "green" tax they don't even realize is happening.

Lower energy efficiency = higher consumption for same miles driven = higher fuel cost = slower rebound in an already shaky economy

I agree, most are already barely getting by & hanging on by a thread, so let's hit the middle lower class some more, that will keep em at the bottom with no hope, & they will be easier to control & manipulate.

I'll stick with my 93 octane thanks.
By Iaiken on 12/1/2009 11:03:29 AM , Rating: 3
I keep a fuel journal and there is a noticeable difference in millage between Shell 91 (0% ethanol) and Sunoco 91 (~4% ethanol). It works out to around a 2% range difference in Shell's favor despite the identical pricing.

My engines compression ratio is 13.9:1 and so 91 is the bare minimum since 87-89 ping like crazy at anything above 11:1. One of the Mini dealers here had a tech day where they showed us the result of what 87 octane does to your engine. Basically some idiot customer had driven their 2004 Cooper S on 87 for 5 years before the lease return. They had been fighting with this customer at every service interval to get them to use 91 to no avail.

They dismantled the engine as well as a 2003 engine they had with similar kilometers on it to show the damage that had been done...

Visible damage:

- Valve corrosion
- Piston scoring
- Damage to the supercharger impellers
- Damage to the spark plugs

Damage shown in x-rays/microscopy:

- fractures in the crank shaft/case
- fractures in the piston rings

In the end, the customer paid an $8000 penalty instead of buying out the remaining $18,000 on the lease. The dealer did what they could to save the car, but they couldn't recertify it for MINI-Next and wound up taking it to auction.

So now the real question is who will win? Automotive engineers and their evidence, or lobbyists and their monies?


RE: I'll stick with my 93 octane thanks.
By Danger D on 12/1/2009 11:21:51 AM , Rating: 1
Where the heck do you find 87 octane fuel with ethanol? Ethanol is an oxygenate. It increases the octane. It doesn't decrease it. So your 87 octane is probably the ethanol-free stuff.

The pumps around my neighborhood have ethanol-free gas (87 octane), 10% ethanol fuel (89 octane), and premium (91 octane).

Maybe I'm missing something here. If so, please explain it to me. Honestly, I'm not being a smart-a.

RE: I'll stick with my 93 octane thanks.
By Avatar28 on 12/1/2009 11:28:41 AM , Rating: 2
Um, no. Around here (Nashville, TN), almost all the stations have 10% ethanol in all grades of gas. I don't think ethanol really serves to increase the octane rating so much as make it burn a bit hotter and thus cleaner.

By Danger D on 12/1/2009 11:48:58 AM , Rating: 1
Ethanol decreases mileage and increase the octane. That's why indy cars use ethanol. You get more power from it. For most of us, that doesn't matter as much, since I don't do much drag racing, but ethanol does improve the octane.

RE: I'll stick with my 93 octane thanks.
By strikeback03 on 12/1/2009 11:34:19 AM , Rating: 3
When I visited a friend in Rapid City, South Dakota he told me that the Safeways around there used Ethanol in their 87, but not 89 or 91, which is why he always bought gas there. Around here as far as I can tell the chains tend to either use all ethanol or not, not varying by grade.

RE: I'll stick with my 93 octane thanks.
By Danger D on 12/1/2009 11:47:36 AM , Rating: 2
Well, all I know is that ethanol took off when states started phasing out MTBE. MTBE was an oxygenate (to increase the octane), so ethanol became the new oxygenate in most gasoline. That was before Congress started mandating it.

I think your friend has it backwards.

By JediJeb on 12/2/2009 10:16:03 AM , Rating: 2
Actually the oxygenates are not to increase octane, but to promote more complete combustion of the fuel so less Carbon Monoxide is produced. With raw gasoline which has no oxygenates added you get more carbon monoxide and ozone in the exhaust.

By Spivonious on 12/1/2009 1:21:31 PM , Rating: 2
In PA most gas pumps have a sticker that says "Contains up to 10% ethanol". Based on my own mileage records, the 87 octane gas has 10% ethanol. Can't comment on higher octanes, since my manual recommends 87.

By Keeir on 12/1/2009 3:26:34 PM , Rating: 2
Octane Rating is a measurement of the knocking properties of the fuel in relation to 100% iso-octance.

Its very possible to mix 10% Ethanol with a variety of gasoline type hydro-carbons and get a property of 87. (Pure Ethanol alone is ~115 I believe)

Also keep in mind, its the final mixture that must have this property. Its not as simple as taking 84 grade fuel and mixing it with 10% Ethanol.

More "fuel" for the discussion ;)...
By sviola on 12/1/2009 12:58:41 PM , Rating: 2
I live in Brazil and here they have had Ethanol based fuel since the 70's. And all major car manufacturers (GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda and others), build motors that can handle both gasoline and pure ethanol (in Brazil, gasoline has a 24% ethanol in it - so they have the experience and motors for running e15 easily).
So, this could be easily accomplished in the time frame proposed (2022), as probably most people in the US will have changed their cars in the next 13 years (allowing for new motors to be available), and it could be done gradually, by keeping both types of fuel available while the transition is done.

The downside for this is that corn ethanol is not the best way to get it done (in Brazil it is made from sugar crane). It would be much better if it is done by using bacteria to generate it (much alike the process for fermenting beverages), as it would be immune to weather changes, and corn price increase in the market (much akin to the wheat price increase before the economic crisis started).

Just to add another point here, the differences between ethanol and gasoline are 30% increased efficiency for gasoline and 15% increase in power for ethanol.

By sviola on 12/1/2009 1:04:47 PM , Rating: 2
Here in Brazil, we also have natural gas (methane) fueled cars.

(Fiat also has a 4-fuel car: runs on gasoline, ethanol, methane gas and high octane gasoline - pure gasoline, as our gasoline has a 24% ethanol in the mix).

RE: More "fuel" for the discussion ;)...
By BigPeen on 12/1/2009 2:09:10 PM , Rating: 2
No, it won't happen in 13 years. The average age of the American car on the road is 8-10 years old (and increasing). So the math. You might get 50% of cars replaced in the next few years? (very roughly)

By JediJeb on 12/2/2009 10:12:18 AM , Rating: 2
Yup, I still drive a 96 F150 I bought new. No reason to replace it yet at 200k miles.

By Donkeyshins on 12/2/2009 1:23:41 PM , Rating: 2
I'm keeping my 1991 318iS as long as I can still source parts for it and keep it on the road.

Necessary Evil
By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 12/1/2009 10:11:19 AM , Rating: 2
Nobody sees corn based ethanol as a viable fuel source (although there are still people who BURN corn for heat). But Corn Ethanol is worth it so that the technical challenges of switching can start to be addressed now. Waiting until celluosic is on line will just make the transition that much harder.

My lawn mower has a great big sticker on it saying not to use any gas that has more than 10% ethanol. Hopefully straight gasoline will still allowed to be sold, even if at a higher $ per gallon.

Switching to ethanol should be easy, but the devil is in the details. If ethanol causes so much trouble, just think how big of a PITA the more radical alternative energy sources will be.

RE: Necessary Evil
By FITCamaro on 12/1/2009 10:48:29 AM , Rating: 3
Unless there is a 100% switch to ethanol, no there is not a reason and nor is it worth it. Until cellulosic ethanol is a viable and cost effective reality, there is no point to ethanol. It's nothing but a pay off to farmers. They're the only ones who benefit from it. The rest of us just have to watch our tax dollars go towards subsidies for it and watch our gas mileage go down.

Sure if we start building engines designed for only ethanol with 14-15:1 compression ratios to take advantage of what benefits it does offer, then yes, it'd make sense. But that's not going to happen right now so mandating E15 only means more problems for people with older vehicles just like E10 does. But on a wider scale.

The EPA just needs to be abolished because it has no Constitutional authority in the first place. It is making laws when that is the job of Congress. That fact that they call it a regulation doesn't change that its a law. You go to jail or get fined if you break it, that makes it a law.

Corn for all!
By The0ne on 12/1/2009 12:01:45 PM , Rating: 2
While I hate the idea of ethanol for many reasons I will still say we all should embrace this! Corn is everywhere so why not in gas now. If fishes can eat cow and corn why can't we use corn for gas and sex!

RE: Corn for all!
By sviola on 12/1/2009 1:00:30 PM , Rating: 3
oO...I'm definitely not eating corn at your place...

Blame Obama, not Bush
By rika13 on 12/2/2009 3:56:56 AM , Rating: 3
many nations are coming to the belief that food-based biofuels are a crime against humanity because they artificially raise prices on many foods (not just corn, but livestock and poultry that are fed it, and other plant crops displaced by it, such as wheat and soybeans)

Obama was largely resposible for the big ethanol push and trying to blame Bush is grossly irresponsible since he was powerless to veto it (Dems owned Congress in 2007) since the Dems would just ram it over him, then call him "obstructionist"

Obama has received plane trips from Illinois ethanol producer ADM and was behind retaining the 50c/gallon tariff to ensure that Brazilian sugar cane-based ethanol would not reach American shores

RE: Blame Obama, not Bush
By rika13 on 12/2/2009 4:15:57 AM , Rating: 2
vote out the democrats, mid-term elections are coming this November, light up the polls before the election to scare them, then kick them out of office once and for all

things were good until they got Congress back in 2006

Not a mandate
By Danger D on 12/1/2009 10:40:30 AM , Rating: 2
E15 is not a mandate. It would allow people to use 15% ethanol if they want to. If you don't, you don't have to. In most states you don't have to use E10 today, but you can if you want to. Same thing for E15.

Here's the research, if you're interested:

RE: Not a mandate
By steven975 on 12/1/2009 5:34:39 PM , Rating: 2
There is exactly 1 gas station in driving range that doesn't use E10.

CHOICE isn't a factor.

This is killing the Marine Industry
By Vapor Smoker on 12/1/2009 10:40:49 AM , Rating: 2
Ethanol is killing outboard motors left and right 2 strokes and 4 strokes. I have a friend that has had his new motor in the shop 11 times now due to problems associated with Ethanol in the fuel. Like many of these commemts above this "technology" is NOT the way to go and needs to stop. Someone at the EPA needs to pull their head out of their a$$ and make some changes.

I am all for greening the planet but let's do it right!
I even smoke electronic cigarettes to reduce smoke output.
Check it out...

By Inglix on 12/1/2009 2:19:46 PM , Rating: 2
Yamaha outboards reliability nearly put a local marine shop out of business but ethanol is bringing small fishermen business back to them.

How will this work?
By IcePickFreak on 12/1/2009 6:03:01 PM , Rating: 2
What I'm wondering is they're already pushing for the 45mpg by 2020 agenda, and now you have the EPA pushing for higher amounts of ethanol that will result in lower mpg. How is that going to work out for auto manufacturers? Will the 45mpg get adjusted to offset the negative impact of the ethanol? I wouldn't rule out the EPA pushing for another bump before 2020 if this one goes through either.

My real question is why does it seem like the government always has a solution for a problem that doesn't really exist, but they never have any answers (much less a solution) for the actual problems. I'm all for advancing technology but the current rate at which it's being literally forced at is not going to result in great advances. Of course when they actually do refine the technology down the road they can force you to buy it all over again I suppose.

RE: How will this work?
By donxvi on 12/2/2009 6:37:48 AM , Rating: 2
EPA ratings are derived on pure gasoline, so they're not impacted by ethanol content of consumer-grade fuel.

By Shining Arcanine on 12/1/2009 11:56:27 PM , Rating: 2
The EPA's statement says that cars made in 2001 and later are able to run off E15 without developing problems. I drive a 1995 Toyota Avalon and its manual specifies that it cannot take anything greater than E10. I find these two sources of information to insinuate that my car will develop problems as a result of E15 usage.

My question is, once it does develop problems because of the bird brains we have making these decisions, who can I sue to compensate me for my troubles: the farmers, elected officials, the EPA, the oil company or some combination of them?

By donxvi on 12/2/2009 6:39:05 AM , Rating: 2
You don't sue anybody anymore, that's called CHANGE.

By v1001 on 12/1/2009 10:48:19 AM , Rating: 2
Get rid of this damn garbage.

I used to be able to drive almost totally all the way from Portland Oregon to San Francisco California on one tank of gas. (about 600 miles or so). I would only have to stop about a half hour from my destination to fill up again. After they put this garbage in I have to stop like an hour and half from my destination to fill up again.

It makes me sick thinking that someone out there is getting a huge payoff for this to happen. Damn dirty politicians. I hate them all.

RE: Garbage
By mmatis on 12/1/2009 6:31:38 PM , Rating: 1
"Law Enforcement" is enabling those politicians. THAT's who you need to hate. The politicians aren't going to come after you with nightsticks, Tasers, or guns to force you to use this garbage. They'll send the pigs instead. And "Law Enforcement" will bow and scrape before their Masters and then do whatever they're told. Just like the fine German police under the Nazis. "Law Enforcement" is NOT your friend.

By HotFoot on 12/1/2009 10:16:49 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah... let's hope this doesn't happen everywhere. Sure, environmental standards like NOx emissions have been helpful in setting the bar for the whole industry to follow. However... governing what type of fuel should be used? Forced on consumers?

Really, if Gasoline is really the big bad enemy then maybe we should just be bringing in carbon taxing (whether or not you think carbon emissions are a problem is another matter). Then find out that corn-based ethanol costs even more based on its carbon footprint. Maybe then the lunacy would be clear.

Also, perhaps we shouldn't be buying fuel by the gallon or litre any more. Maybe we should be buying it by the GJ or some other convenient unit of measure. Then it'd be harder to sell a gallon of ethanol as if it replaced a gallon of gas dollar for dollar. Consumers would be better informed.

Basically, though, GTFO to lobbyists. I'm really having a hard time seeing, at this point, what useful function they have at all. It seems to me that the harm brought by inviting all the special-interest parties to have a disproportionate voice at the table is unacceptable.

By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 12/1/2009 11:00:28 AM , Rating: 2
Lobbyists are trying to get the "right" to put in E15? How polemic is that?! Upping ethanol content to E15 is not in the nature of a right, as if the consumers would deny them their rights. What a bonehead.

EPA statement
By Danger D on 12/1/2009 11:08:01 AM , Rating: 2
EPA just made a statement:

"Should the test results remain supportive and provide the necessary basis, we would be in a position to approve E15 for 2001 and newer vehicles in the mid-year timeframe."

So only for newer cars and only if a couple more tests confirm that it's ok. That should take care of the warranty issue and clearly all gas wouldn't be able to be E15, so you can use whatever you want.

By 91TTZ on 12/1/2009 11:11:19 AM , Rating: 2
I have an older car with old style (pintle) injectors. Shortly before they began selling ethanol fuel at the pumps I heard a lot of talk about the ethanol fouling up the injectors. I didn't think much of it at the time. Fast forward a couple of years and my injectors are going bad.

I can't believe that they're allowed to put this in the fuel when it causes so many problems with engines. Even new cars may be damaged by ethanol, and the warranties may be voided if you use fuel that has too high of an ethanol content, such as the blend mentioned in this article.

By Inglix on 12/1/2009 2:16:21 PM , Rating: 2
I know an engineer who was part of a military contracted test on ethanol blends at Fort Eustis. They found concentrations greater than 12.5% to be extremely corrosive to the equipment they have in service. It dissolved hoses, seals, and gaskets. That in turn ruined fuel pumps, and then caused engine failures with the dissolved debris and loosened crud in the fuel.

Storing it was also a problem due to its phase separation over time. A high percentage slug of ethanol does your fuel system no favors when it runs through it. This is something seen quite often in the boating world or with small gasoline engines in lawn equipment.

Needless to say the final report was very negative on any ethanol use, and certainly no more than the current ten percent mixes.

This engineer also mentioned how some fuel distributors were cheating on the blend mix in favor of the cheaper, subsidized, ethanol. So some stations are already selling ethanol mixes in the high teens. This was discovered when fleet trucks in certain areas exhibited much higher failure rates from refilling at those stations.

The Putrid Stench...
By mmatis on 12/1/2009 6:07:06 PM , Rating: 1
passed off as "Law Enforcement" enables this swill. They are NOT your friend.

By Flunk on 12/1/2009 10:23:31 AM , Rating: 1
No, corn ethanol doesn't as they use as much fossil fuel growing and refining the corn as they "save" with the enthanol. Making ethanol out of corn doesn't make economic sense without the current climate of massive subsidies.

By Danger D on 12/1/2009 10:44:30 AM , Rating: 1
That's not true. Ethanol critics in the science community don't even say that anymore.

1.5-1.8 net energy ratio (which includes planting, harvest, transport, etc.).

By Souka on 12/1/2009 12:07:34 PM , Rating: 3
I'm confused by increasing ethanol content.

Pros: get $$ to grow weeds instead of food

Less food produced which results in higher food prices (including beer!).
Ethanol apparently will corrode a vast majority of engines
Ethanol has a higher carbon footprint than conventional petroleum
Ethanol use was pushed, and mandated, by George Bush... that should be the only CON needed to be listed
Ethanol has less engergy per gallon, and will cost consumers more at the pump each year

*sigh*... I'm not mad, but feel frustrated and sad at where we're going as a country and economy...

By JasonMick on 12/1/2009 1:49:47 PM , Rating: 3

Ethanol use was pushed, and mandated, by George Bush... that should be the only CON needed to be listed

In all fairness President Obama has also frequently voiced his support of ethanol, just like his predecessor. The fact of the matter is that fat farm lobbyist contributions look equally attractive whether you're a die hard democrat or a die hard republican.

Less food produced which results in higher food prices (including beer!).

For food-based ethanol yes. Weed-based ethanol (like cellulosic switchgrass-derived ethanol) can be grown on unutilized/underutilized land. Many of the weed crops don't need rich soil so can be grown on land that would nonviable for food crops.

Ethanol has less engergy per gallon, and will cost consumers more at the pump each year

It all depends on how cheap the ethanol and gas are. With food-crop ethanol, it will be hard to ever make it affordable, particularly from an overall perspective. Cellulosic ethanol, on the other hand may one day be cheaper than gas.

In the short term I agree there's many negatives to government mandated ethanol consumption. In the long term there are some positives, but only resulting from improvements to cellulosic ethanol (unless you are a farmer).

By Reclaimer77 on 12/1/2009 2:39:53 PM , Rating: 4
Bush lifted the Presidential ban on domestic oil drilling. But was unable to get support to lift the Congressional ban because his family had ties to the oil industry. So it was all to easy for the Democrats to shoot it down in their usual anti-Bush anti-prosperity fashion. I'm not defending his Ethanol mandate, but he DID try to improve our situation time and time again and was defeated because of partisan bigotry.

The United States has the worst energy policy of any country on the planet. Even Australia has kicked out the Green party and has started plans to tap their massive offshore natural gas fields. We have hundreds of millions of barrels of oil sitting right off our coast. That's not even counting Alaska. Yet we refuse to use this resource. Instead our energy policy is to...well...provide NO energy. The United States also has probably the largest supply of coal in the world, and again, we refuse to be allowed to mine it because of our government.

All this during the biggest recession of our generation. Know why you never hear about Saudi's economy collapsing ?? Because they EXPORT OIL ! Those Australian natural gas fields I mentioned ? Australia will soon be the largest exporter or liquified natural gas in the world. And yet the United States not only spends billions importing oil for our own consumers, but we are sitting on a goldmine of resources that we could be exporting ourselves. Do you realize how much money we are sitting on ?

Ethanol makes no sense ! Our energy policy makes no sense.

By lco45 on 12/1/2009 8:54:10 PM , Rating: 2
What do you mean "even" Australia. We only ratified the Kyoto treaty 2 years ago, we are hardly a poster boy for environmental stewardship.


By MrBlastman on 12/1/2009 2:46:05 PM , Rating: 3
In all fairness President Obama has also frequently voiced his support of ethanol, just like his predecessor. The fact of the matter is that fat farm lobbyist contributions look equally attractive whether you're a die hard democrat or a die hard republican.

Wasn't it Obama himself who said he was going to fight the scourge of lobbying in Washington while he was campaigning? ;) It makes me giggle to see it coming to a flop.

By jRaskell on 12/1/2009 3:27:38 PM , Rating: 2
Virtually every Politician in existance makes campaign promises that aren't kept. It's just part of being a Politician. Frankly I'm just plain surprised that anybody in this country ever believes a single word that comes out of a Politicians mouth. I certainly don't, and I can't recall ever being disappointed or surprised.

By Solandri on 12/1/2009 3:48:59 PM , Rating: 2
Difference here is that it wasn't a mere campaign promise. The foundation of Obama's campaign was "Change you can believe in."

I'm actually not surprised nor disappointed. I didn't believe most of that Change hype, and didn't expect Obama's administration to be much different from past administrations. In that respect I'm still pretty happy with him. But the folks who thought he'd be some Messiah who would clean up Washington and hand it back to The People have egg on their face.

By foolsgambit11 on 12/1/2009 8:29:16 PM , Rating: 2
The issue with the election wasn't whether Obama would be different from past administrations. The issue was whether he'd be different from a particular administration in particular ways. Whether we'd show more respect for our international allies, whether we'd continue without question in Iraq, whether we'd continue a laissez-faire approach to the economy, whether we'd try to tackle the issues with our health care system. But mostly, it seems people just wanted somebody with a different kind of image than Bush as the figurehead of our country.

Everybody knows that the President doesn't rule by fiat (or if they don't, why the hell do we allow them to vote?) and can't make everything happen that he's pledged to. Thank goodness for that, too! Most campaign platforms are far too idealistic for the real world anyway.

By Gio6518 on 12/1/2009 3:54:17 PM , Rating: 2
Ethanol has less engergy per gallon, and will cost consumers more at the pump each year

i remember when E85 was first going to be released to the public it was going to go for about 89 cents a gallon, then the oil lobbyists stepped in and cried foul, that at that price it would put them out of business, so they raised the price to just under the price of fossil fuel.

Less food produced which results in higher food prices (including beer!).

U.S. Goverment pays thousands if not ten of thousands of farmers 500k - 1 million plus not to farm. take that money away force them to farm, keeping the food prices right where they are.

By bubba551 on 12/2/2009 10:26:00 AM , Rating: 2
The 89 cent number was pure fantasy and no, the evil oil companies had no part in its failure to materialize.

Commodity prices (including corn) are based on supply and demand. If you begin using large amounts of a commodity for a new purpose, you have increased the demand and the price follows accordingly. The 89 cent estimate was based on the demand without E85 production.

(The same thing happened with the market value of left-over chicken parts, when a facility was built that could convert them to fuel.)

By omnicronx on 12/1/2009 12:56:06 PM , Rating: 3
I don't know where you got your numbers, but in the US(which is what the article is based on) its nowhere near 1.5-1.8. Perhaps in Brazil where they Sugarcane which can be as high as 8, Corn based ethanol production is far lower, around the 1.3 range.

Scientists surely DO still bring up these numbers in the ongoing ethanol debate. Until we can reach the 2+ range (i.e Cellulosic or some kind of Biodiesel) ethonol is just not worth it, plain and simple. (and this is without getting into the using a foodsource as an energy source debate)

By MrBlastman on 12/1/2009 1:39:45 PM , Rating: 2
Increasing the Ethanol content, and thus the use of Corn-based ethanol is about the most rediculous thing our government or agencies could do. I'd rank it as about as absurd as substituting the charcoal in air/water/whatever filters for uranium. Heck, lets just use uranium wool to wash our pots and pans while we're at it or pipe radon into our homes as a sleep aid.

The subsidization and promotion of corn based ethanol was among the worst things that were done over the past nine years. To think that it might be continued in propagation but this time with further force just makes me ill. There are so many _better_ ways to go about making ethanol (if that is what they want to do), rather than taking up valuable farming land and time from our farmers hands thus ultimately leading to increased food prices.

Things such as Algae-based petroleum or waste-product produced Ethanol. If I had to chose between the two it would be the former rather than the latter due to the potential output per square kilometer versus many other means. There is so much promise with this technology that Corn-ethanol should be stricken from our vocabulary completely.

By Danger D on 12/1/2009 1:57:18 PM , Rating: 2
Yale Journal of Industrial Ecology, Jan 2009:

By Danger D on 12/1/2009 1:57:39 PM , Rating: 2
Where did you get your numbers?

By omnicronx on 12/1/2009 3:07:02 PM , Rating: 1
After reading the article it seems it is based on six corn belt states, but that is only around 1/4th of US ethenol production. i.e this is not a representation of corn based ethanol energy efficiency at a national level.

The point this study was not to outline energy efficiency averages throughout the states, but to show how the advancements in corn based ethanol production. In doing so, they chose samples in which conditions are ideal, they are not going to chose states whose lower energy ratios can be accounted for by certain variables.

By Danger D on 12/1/2009 4:43:04 PM , Rating: 2
Well, it does factor in plants built over the last 10 years, which represent 90 percent of capacity. I suspect, but don't know for sure, that it's closer to 100 percent today. Most of the inefficient plants went bankrupt over the last year.

The "it-takes-more-energy-than-it-produces" scientists have been thumped all around in the science community. They take outdated numbers always to the detriment of ethanol. For instance, those studies assume all ethanol plants are coal-fired (in fact 90 percent are natural gas). They assume all corn is irrigated (in fact 15 percent of the crop is irrigated). And on and on.

I support butanol, methanol, ethanol, drilling and electric vehicles and whatever else we come up with. I think the alternative fuel industry is besieged by people who expect a fuel that is zero-cost, all-benefit (and cheaper than gas to boot!).

Ideally, I'd like to see hybrid flex-fuels (real flex fuels that allow butanol and methanol use as well, not just gas and ethanol). If we did that we could get off foreign oil. Consumers could put anything in their tank that they want with no fears. The technology is already here for the cars and the fuels. It's ridiculous that we haven't make it happen.

By drebo on 12/1/2009 9:04:18 PM , Rating: 2
and cheaper than gas to boot!

If it's not cheaper than gas, why would be bother with it? We're nowhere near running out of gas, so why on Earth would be replace it with something less efficient and more costly?

That just simply does not compute.

By Danger D on 12/1/2009 2:01:16 PM , Rating: 2
Here's one I found on DOE. It shows that 2 people in the last decade have found ethanol to lose energy. Everyone else found the opposite. (page 3)

By Jaybus on 12/1/2009 9:55:07 PM , Rating: 2
But it burns cooler than gasoline, meaning that it takes more ethanol to produce the same amount of energy. That's why our cars get fewer miles per gal on E10 than on pure gasoline. They will get even fewer miles per gal on E15. A gal of gasoline has to be replaced with around 1.5 gal of ethanol.

By fcx56 on 12/1/2009 10:39:40 AM , Rating: 3
By God, he's right! We want independence from Canada and Mexico and we want it NOW!

By Danger D on 12/1/2009 11:02:43 AM , Rating: 1
You do get that oil is fungible, which means Canada oil can be substituted for Venezuelan or any other oil, right?

If the U.S. were to buy all its oil from Canada and Mexico and not the 1/3 of our supply we currently get from OPEC, it would still benefit OPEC because someone else buys OPEC oil.

The only way to make a dent in OPEC's margins is to use less oil overall. Actually finding something to completely substitute oil would make the real difference, because then they couldn't jack up the price to recoup their losses. They'd have to set the price according to supply and demand.

Like FITCamero said, if you could actually make enough ethanol to replace oil, which you can't from corn alone, you could start designing the engines to use it properly.

But no one's going to invest in cellulosic ethanol if there's no place to sell the stuff.

By mdogs444 on 12/1/2009 11:09:45 AM , Rating: 1
You do get that oil is fungible, which means Canada oil can be substituted for Venezuelan or any other oil, right?

Which could also be substituted for domestically produced oil, right.
The only way to make a dent in OPEC's margins is to use less oil overall.

Stuff and nonsense. We could increase our own production by expanding offshore drilling, ANWR, and start mass producing shale oil from the western mountains. In case you haven't noticed, we have more oil from shale than the entire middle east has reserves. The whole "environmental impact" cop out is old, and its the exact reason we have more coal than anyone in the world and are paying more to import it than we could mine it for ourselves. Its nothing more than b.s regulation and manipulation of costs via taxation and regulation to make it more expensive than importing it...which does nothing but hurt the average consumer.
because then they couldn't jack up the price to recoup their losses.

Ahh, and if we were a major player in the oil market we would reap the benefits if they tried to jack up the prices....but we could also increase the supply to offset their production cuts. Best of both worlds.
They'd have to set the price according to supply and demand.

Which we could assist with right now by actually having a say in the supply side...but our weenie liberal government officials won't allow us, but all they do is complain that we have too high demand.

By Danger D on 12/1/2009 11:15:05 AM , Rating: 2
Absolutely, if we can find enough oil in the US to replace all our oil from Canada, Mexico, OPEC nations, etc. for the rest of our lives, then alternative fuel is unnecessary. I don't think that's realistic, but I'm all for finding out for sure.

I have no problem with more drilling in the states. I think we should do everything - more drilling, ethanol, methanol, butanol, electric, etc., etc., etc. until we get off foreign oil completely.

That is my priority, not whether I have to make an extra trip to the gas station once a month.

By mdogs444 on 12/1/2009 11:24:26 AM , Rating: 1
Absolutely, if we can find enough oil in the US to replace all our oil from Canada, Mexico, OPEC nations, etc. for the rest of our lives,

Nothing we do is going to be the fuel for the rest of our lives, so that kind of thinking does nothing but inhibit your current options. We have an estimated 1.5TR barrels of oil from shale alone - more than 5x the entire Saudi oil reserves. Recent US estimates are that we use 6.7B barrels per just that area alone can fuel us for 22 years at this pace. But more importantly is that we will never 100% fuel ourselves in this fashion. The oil there is enough to make us one of, if not THE, major player in the oil market thus allowing us to control and manipulate the supply & demand chain...or rather, allow to keep the other countries from using their leverage to artificially control and manipulate it. That's the whole idea - a TRUE free market, right? We can achieve close to that if we have enough oil to be able to counter their moves when they are desperate for money and only want to play the free market game when oil is $147 barrel, but then don't when its $33 a barrel.

By Alexstarfire on 12/1/2009 12:04:51 PM , Rating: 2
Do you mean 220 years? Cause 22 x 6.7 is only like 147.4 billion barrels.

By mdogs444 on 12/1/2009 12:29:50 PM , Rating: 2
Yep, thanks! Stupid typo on my behalf.

By Solandri on 12/1/2009 3:43:09 PM , Rating: 1
We have an estimated 1.5TR barrels of oil from shale alone - more than 5x the entire Saudi oil reserves. [...] to keep the other countries from using their leverage to artificially control and manipulate it. That's the whole idea - a TRUE free market, right? We can achieve close to that if we have enough oil to be able to counter their moves when they are desperate for money and only want to play the free market game when oil is $147 barrel, but then don't when its $33 a barrel.

It is a free market. The problem is that buying oil from the countries trying to artificially control and manipulate the price of oil is still cheaper than alternative oil sources like shale oil. With current technology, shale oil costs about $70+/bbl to extract. With a few years of major production, that could drop to about $40. But nobody is going to bother doing that when they can just buy oil from OPEC for $75/bbl without having to do any investment in new technologies or risk bankruptcy if the price of oil were to crash to $30/bbl.

If the U.S. wants true energy independence by using shale oil, then the government has to guarantee shale oil is economically viable by locking the price of oil so that it can't be bought in the country for less than $70/bbl. But if we did that and the true market price of oil fell, liberals would be screaming that we're subsidizing oil companies by artificially keeping oil prices high, conservatives would be screaming we're interfering with the free market, the WTO would be screaming that we're illegally protecting U.S. oil companies from foreign competition, and everyone would be screaming that lobbyists from shale oil-rich states are forcing us to adopt a pork barrel energy policy. Because that's exactly what's happening right now with the subsidies to encourage ethanol development.

By eyebeeemmpawn on 12/1/2009 1:15:58 PM , Rating: 2
We could increase our own production by expanding offshore drilling, ANWR

we could also increase production by actually drilling on the already leased land. Sadly, much of the land is leased and horded, not drilled. No need to pillage the ANWR yet.

By Reclaimer77 on 12/1/2009 2:47:43 PM , Rating: 2
Pillage ?

I hate to tell you this, but NOBODY drills cleaner or better than the US, when we actually decide to. I don't know what kind of conception you have in your head of what oil drilling intails, but it's not a pillaging by any means.

By the way, ANWR is a frozen wasteland. It is NOT a paradise where polar bears frollic and deer play with squirrels like some kind of Disney movie. Get a clue. We wouldn't be pillaging anything.

By Solandri on 12/1/2009 3:25:20 PM , Rating: 2
we could also increase production by actually drilling on the already leased land. Sadly, much of the land is leased and horded, not drilled. No need to pillage the ANWR yet.

Just because it's leased doesn't mean there's oil there. The oil companies basically gamble when they lease the land. The government says "who would like to pay for exclusive oil rights to this land?" and the oil companies snap it up because it's cheap, and if they don't somebody else will. They have to do extensive surveys and tests (drilling a single test well costs over $1 million) to figure out if there even is any oil.

The vast majority of the leased land either has no oil, or has it in quantities or deposits which would be economically unfeasible to recover at current energy prices. If you want to lower energy prices, you have to get at oil which is cheap to recover. Forcing recovery of more expensive oil will drive up energy prices, as money that could be used to help recovery of cheaper oil is instead redirected at recovery of more expensive oil.

The theory that oil companies are hoarding oil on already leased land is a fabrication made up by people who don't want to even try to understand the economics of the oil industry because they simply hate oil period. On the one hand the oil companies get accused of sacrificing the nation's future to exploit our natural resources for short term profits. On the other hand they get accused of conspiring to hoard oil to insure their long-term profitability. Which is it? It can't be both.

By FITCamaro on 12/1/2009 3:53:33 PM , Rating: 1
Canada has been drilling diagnally into ANWAR for the past 15 years.

By croc on 12/1/2009 6:12:52 PM , Rating: 2
Orly??? Links please...

By ClownPuncher on 12/1/2009 6:41:56 PM , Rating: 2
Something to do with milkshakes and straws. I DRINK YO MILKSHAKE!

By lco45 on 12/1/2009 8:56:50 PM , Rating: 2
You don't get it.

Domestically drilled oil is no different from OPEC drilled oil. Whoever is drilling the oil will still be selling oil at whatever the global market rate is for a barrel of oil, and whether the customers are domestic or not makes no difference.


By sinful on 12/1/2009 9:30:30 PM , Rating: 2
Stuff and nonsense. We could increase our own production by expanding offshore drilling, ANWR, and start mass producing shale oil from the western mountains. In case you haven't noticed, we have more oil from shale than the entire middle east has reserves.

You seem to forget that it costs OPEC about $1/barrel to produce oil, and it would cost the US about $70+/barrel to produce oil.

Guess what happens in a free market when you competitors can undercut you TREMENDOUSLY?

You go bankrupt.

So, basically your plan consists of "Let's waste a TON of money building oil infrastructure in the US, so that after we've spent BILLIONS on building it, OPEC can just undercut us for a few months and our domestic oil efforts will go down the toliet."

People like yourself would ensure that "American Gas for $5.00/gal" would quickly fold when confronted with "Middle Eastern Gas for $2.00/gal"

By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 12/1/2009 11:06:42 AM , Rating: 3
One more time: The US economic demand for oil pushes up oil prices globally. If we raise the price for Canada and Mexico, we raise it for Venezuela and middle eastern countries, who spend the money on rhetoric and weapons against the US. It doesn't make sense to subsidize your enemies to attack you. Plus, if some countries shut down oil distribution, which has happened to us in the past, and is happening in eastern europe each winter by the Russians, then we wouldn't be able to ramp up ethanol production fast enough.

Nuclear and ethanol makes plenty of sense.

By corduroygt on 12/1/2009 11:49:04 AM , Rating: 3
In an RTS game, you try to harvest the resources close to the enemy base before you extinguish yours. I think it's not just environmentalists blocking, but a strategic decision to let the rest of the world run out of oil before we do.

By The0ne on 12/1/2009 11:57:08 AM , Rating: 2
US is not the only one doing this, although I think we hide them much better :D This includes other "things" other than just oil...ahem >.>

By Hiawa23 on 12/1/2009 2:01:10 PM , Rating: 2
So sad that a country so great as the US, we are still having these discussions. Our govt has had decades to figure something out, so I am not holding my breath for any fixes long or shorterm, but ethanol, I am sure of is not the answer.

By Iaiken on 12/1/2009 11:56:14 AM , Rating: 3
If Iran shuts off shipping oil to us, we can shut off their entire supply of gasoline and diesel since they import all of it and have no refining capacity.

Where did you ever get that Idea?

In 2008 Iran purchased nearly all of this imported gasoline from the following:

Swiss - Vitol
Swiss - Glencore
Swiss/Dutch - Trafigura
French - Total
British - British Petroleum
Indian - Reliance Industries

Add the fact that the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company have already broken ground on 7 new refineries, they will soon be the major producer of gasoline in the middle east.

I do admire your ability to make shit up to support your argument though... :P

By invidious on 12/1/2009 12:25:17 PM , Rating: 2
If only America had political/econimc/military influence to help impose its will upon weaker countries and maybe a few bombs to destroy the manufacturing capabilites of its enimies when they don't play nice.

By mdogs444 on 12/1/2009 12:34:42 PM , Rating: 1
Swiss - Vitol Swiss - Glencore Swiss/Dutch - Trafigura French - Total British - British Petroleum Indian - Reliance Industries

And how many of them do you think would halt shipments to Iran on our behalf? Yup - all of them.

In fact, its already been talked about in the previous months as part of the sanctions on Iran....just two articles of the many.,8599,1926...

They can just as soon be a major refiner in the middle east as we can an oil producer in the west. Note that their refineries are not made themselves, they are under contract from China and the like.

By Iaiken on 12/1/2009 1:13:29 PM , Rating: 2
Are you on cocaine?

MOST of that supply comes from Switzerland, the same nation who remained neutral and open during BOTH world wars and the ENTIRE cold war.

Unless the US can convince the entire UN security council to impose a a major embargo soon and avoid a veto from France, Russia and China, the Swiss will keep on doing business as usual.

Stop being stupid.

By Iaiken on 12/1/2009 2:51:35 PM , Rating: 2
No, I am attacking what has thus far been a stupid message.

A naval blockade is an act of war and as such requires congressional approval.

The last thing the world needs is the Chinese navy sending escorts to protect their ships from US interception. You seem to forget that all Chinese oil/gas interests are either in bed with, or wholly owned by the government in which case it is in the interest of the Chinese government to protect them.

Finally, there is a difference between a message and an opinion. What you have stated is a stupid opinion, and this makes you look stupid by extension. I'm sorry, but that's out of my hands... :P

By lco45 on 12/1/2009 9:09:01 PM , Rating: 2

By Iaiken on 12/1/2009 1:34:10 PM , Rating: 2
The linked article from the times actually shoots holes in your own argument.

Without UN sanctions (currently impossible because of the threat of a Russian, French or Chinese veto) there is no way of completely stopping Iran from importing the fuel they need.

Since the original 2008 discussions, it would appear that several other gasoline suppliers have stepped up to help Iran begin stockpiling fuel. More importantly, these Chinese and Malaysian companies would be completely unwilling to bend to US pressure since they have little to no market exposure in America.

The only thing that would be accomplished by closing off European supply would be creating greater opportunities for companies like companies like Reliant, Petronas and numerous Chinese firms as they stepped in to fill the gap, for a price.

Basically the US has 3 years to find a way to completely halt their refining efforts before Iran will become fully self-sufficient. All this US posturing does is ensure that Iran will be in the advantageous position to satisfy all of it's own needs while continuing to supply other nations with the exclusion of the US.

Next time read and understand the articles pertinence to what you are saying before linking it. :P

By mdogs444 on 12/1/2009 1:43:52 PM , Rating: 2
You act like I'm in favor of all these things. That couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, I hate the UN, I dont trust Russia or China, don't believe sanctions will have any effect at all, and could care less if we dropped a few nukes on Iran.

I just want us to start opening up all our oil capacity and start producing everything, so the middle east supply side cannot put as much of a stranglehold on us. I want us to be able to control the supply side to prohibit market and price manipulation from opec.

By Stonewall123 on 12/2/2009 8:28:14 AM , Rating: 2
I dont trust Russia or China, don't believe sanctions will have any effect at all, and could care less if we dropped a few nukes on Iran.

I guess the the Mdogs is an abbreviation for MAD DOG. Was Curtis LeMay your uncle?

By aamp on 12/1/2009 11:56:06 AM , Rating: 1
middle eastern countries, who spend the money on rhetoric and weapons against the US

Dude, middle eastern countries buy their weapons from the US, and they're ruled by people too busy spending money to give a sh*t about the US (if fact, they come here to spend their money!). On top of that, the US presence in Iraq, Afghanistan and our nuclear buddy Isreal (although they attack our subs every now and then) means they aren't likely to get offensive.

The middle eastern countries just don't trust us - which means they stay defensive.

PS. Iran aint goin nowhere, Bush just wanted to bomb them too so they started the propaganda machine - just like the weapons of mass destruction in's all politics.

Dependence on foreign anything is never good, but lets see passed the hype. Like @mdog444 says, we've got enough of our own oil. The whole Ethanol debate is about a group of people with fat wallets wanting even more money.

By Motoman on 12/1/2009 12:24:45 PM , Rating: 2
Nuclear and ethanol makes plenty of sense.

I agree that we should be expanding our use of nuclear power. However, unless ethanol can be produced in such a way that it presents a net-energy gain, doesn't decrease the food supply (or increase food prices), and doesn't require a dedicated crop (meaning you wind up clearing more natural land for farming), then it's a bad idea.

Damage to engines notwithstanding.

Ethanol from non-food sources is intriguing - especially if it can be done from waste or by-products from other processes. But fuel from food is among the stupidest ideas anyone has ever had.

By JediJeb on 12/1/2009 3:45:53 PM , Rating: 2
The thing the rarely gets posted is that barely any corn that would be used directly for food is used to make ethanol. Most of it is hybrid corn designed to give more sugars or oils and would not be good for food. If it doesn't go to produce ethanol or high fructose corn syrup it goes to feed animals. You won't lose animal feed by using it for ethanol since the waste corn mash from the ethanol production is still good animal feed.

You also won't lose much land to farming new crops if the federal government will cancel the programs where they pay people to not grow crops on ground that can grow crops. Look up the CRP program. It was supposed to pay farmers to use less of their land, to help with erosion and to reduce the amount of food produced to keep prices up. Sad thing is most of the ground in the program is not owned by farmers at all, but people who found out about the program early and bought up the farm land and placed it into the program. Everyone complains about subsidies to corn farmers paying them to grow more corn, but isn't it worse that they pay a subsidy also for not growing anything at all? I also always hear people complaining about the corn subsidies paid to the farmers, but remember that if they did not get those, then the price of food would have to go up to keep farmers in business yet the ones that complain about the farmers getting the subsidies are the same ones that would complain if the food prices went up when they stopped. Think about if where you worked the government came in and told your employer they had to make 1/2 as much of what they make each year, yet not raise the price, how many people would lose their jobs because of that?

Don't get me wrong, I am not in favor of subsidies at all, and I wish they were never introduced, but to take them away now would really shake up our economy. The only way to be rid of them would be to slowly wean off of them, but in the end you have to be prepared to pay more for food at the store as a result.

By Motoman on 12/1/2009 7:20:31 PM , Rating: 1
Your entire first paragraph makes no sense. Yes, the vast majority of corn grown in America is not used "directly" for food. But regardless of whether it's used for oil, corn syrup, or feed for animal stocks, it all ultimately is FOOD. Decrease the supply of corn anywhere in that stack and you're decreasing the food supply, period. Doesn't matter if it's sweet corn that goes straight in your mouth or it becomes Purina Cow Chow...a loss is a loss, and it is already causing food prices to go up.

As for your land theory, that may or may not work out that way in the US. I never understood how my uncle made money from his farm by not growing anything. However, with the potential demand for ethanol as a fuel, there is most certainly going to demand for additional cropland here - and in other countries, like Brazil for example, where no such farm subsidy programs exist anyway, they're just going to keep clearcutting more rain forest to grow fuel. Stupid stupid stupid.

On the topic of subsidies, they exist to prop up America farmers against foreign produce...period. If the subsidies went away, the food cost to the consumer probably would not change...but we'd be getting a lot more food from foreign lands that could suddenly compete in the American market. And lots and lots of American farmers would go bankrupt overnight, and the entire American agriculture system would have to reinvent itself. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, and ultimately may be a necessary thing...but it would certainly be very painful. But anyway...that has not much to do with the topic of this article.

By randomly on 12/1/2009 3:53:21 PM , Rating: 3
Unfortunately not.

Corn ethanol is a hugely inefficient method of making fuel.

To grow enough corn to produce 100% of the transportation fuel we use in this country would require something like 10 times the entire agricultural land currently under cultivation. That means if you stopped growing all food in this country and converted it all over to growing corn for ethanol it would only supply about 10% of our transportation fuel requirements.

Corn Ethanol has nothing to do with being a renewable energy source and everything to do with being a Corn Subsidy that has been cleverly packaged to be palatable enough to get pushed through Congress. This was largely orchestrated by the Archer-Daniels Midland corporation which has a powerful lobby and 45% of their total corporate profits from their $70 Billion a year revenue come from government subsidies and protected products. Three of the top ADM officials were sent to prison for price fixing.

Corn ethanol will never become a useful source of fuel from an economic and ecological sense because the biochemical efficiency of corn is so low.

Biofuels sound appealing (grow your own fuel!) but the enormous acreage required, the huge amount of the limited fresh water resources used, the pesticide and fertilizer pollution run-off into the environment, the depletion of the soil and destruction of natural habitats, and the increased food prices are costs that are mostly ignored by biofuel advocates.

The basic problem is that the energy conversion efficiency of C3 and C4 chlorophyll based plants is so low that it takes too much area and too much water to produce fuel without causing major environmental impacts which can vastly outweigh the benefits.

No respectable person in the biofuels field believes that corn is an economically or ecologically viable alternative fuel approach. The only moderately successful biofuels program in the world is run by Brazil and that uses sugar cane which has 6 times the yield per acre of corn.

Corn ethanol subsidies are a waste of taxpayer money and a total scam. The are more costly to taxpayers and more damaging to the environment than doing nothing.

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