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39% of all corn produced in the U.S. goes to ethanol production   (Source: washingtonexaminer.com)
House to vote next

Lawmakers in Washington are working hard to write and pass laws that would have fuel efficiency standards in the U.S. changing drastically in coming years. While some in Washington support the new standards for vehicle efficiency, others oppose the standards. Along with mandating better fuel economy across a carmakers fleet, Washington is also seeing green and renewable fuel alternatives for vehicles.

In the U.S., ethanol has been added into the fuel we run in vehicles for years. Ethanol is as high as 10% in fuels today and some that are against ethanol, which is derived from corn, claim that the biofuel is increasing the price of some food items in America. A report published by the GAO claims that the use of ethanol has driven the cost of some food items up as much as 20%.

With all of Washington in cost cutting mode in an effort to shore up the federal budget lawmakers are looking at everywhere money can be saved. One place that some in the Senate want to save money is by repealing the subsidy on ethanol. The Senate voted Thursday 73-27 to end a $0.45 per gallon tax credit on ethanol-blended gasoline starting on July 1. According to those that support the repeal, the subsidy cost taxpayers $5.6 billion last year.

Growth Energy, and ethanol association, CEO Tom Buis said, "The Senate missed an enormous opportunity to take real action on deficit reduction and energy policy when it failed to put oil subsidies and giveaways to the same test as ethanol."

On the other side of the coin, Kate McMahon coordinator of biofuels campaigns for Friends of the Earth said, "Senators scored a win for the public and for the environment by voting to end this $6 billion giveaway." She continued saying, "[the Senate delivered a message] that the ethanol industry's days of living high off the taxpayers' hog have come to an end."

The effort to end the ethanol subsidy now goes to the House for voting. White House spokesman Jay Carney says that the Obama administration supports a reduction in the ethanol subsidy, but does not support a full repeal. Some claim that 39% of the corn produced in the U.S. is currently going into fuel tanks. With the costs to reach the proposed 62mpg regulations for fuel economy reaching nearly $10,000, some automakers are calling for the removal of ethanol from gasoline. Ethanol is renewable and greener than petroleum fuel, but reduces fuel economy.


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RE: Duh
By superstition on 6/17/2011 6:35:53 PM , Rating: 3
Vehicles in my list, like the Golf TDI, are available in the US, but only with the less efficient 2.0 engine and without the Bluemotion stuff (and 7 speed DSG for automatic drivers) that helps them get Prius-rivaling efficiency. I doubt VW makes a different chassis and so forth for their UK Golf. Golfs for the US are imported from Germany, where I believe all of them, or at least all the TDIs, are made.

The only safety difference I can think of is that some airbags may be optional overseas and standard on ours. But, in Germany at least, the level of configuration (options) for the Golf greatly exceeds what is available here. Not only are there the more efficient engines, there are more options of every kind.

Some say the reason we haven't seen more of these is the expense of having crash testing done and, especially, meeting our emissions standards. However, vehicles in the UK, as far as I know, have the DPF (diesel particulate filter). You can see at least one of them in my list that specifically mentions the DPF.


RE: Duh
By superstition on 6/17/2011 6:45:05 PM , Rating: 2
Correction to the first sentence. It should read:

Some vehicles in my list, like the Golf TDI, are available in the US, but not with the efficient engines/tech that gives them Prius-rivaling economy.


RE: Duh
By Targon on 6/17/2011 7:54:28 PM , Rating: 1
There is a trade-off in most cars between fuel economy and having a car that has a decently powerful engine. If I had to choose a 160 horsepower at 34 miles per gallon average fuel economy and a 105 horsepower at 42 miles per gallon average fuel economy, I'd go with the 160 horse.


RE: Duh
By mindless1 on 6/17/2011 11:18:45 PM , Rating: 2
... and most people in the US feel exactly the same way, the majority of little econobox cars with 105HP engine were bought by those economically challenged, simply because they cost less.


RE: Duh
By Nemeth782 on 6/18/2011 5:43:59 AM , Rating: 2
Meanwhile, the Prius has 98bhp.

I think the point being made is not that everyone should buy a Golf Bluemotion instead of a Dodge Viper, it is that nobody should ever buy a Prius.

They are More expensive than a bluemotion, less powerful than a bluemotion, less fuel efficient than a bluemotion, uglier than a bluemotion, and more dangerous to the environment than a bluemotion due to the batteries.


RE: Duh
By superstition on 6/18/2011 3:30:20 PM , Rating: 1
Another point that I neglected to make is that larger vehicles like the Passat are available with engines/tech that give them outstanding fuel economy, too.

We're not just talking about small cars. The VW station wagon (called the Jetta Sportwagon in the US) is an example:

VW Golf Estate 1.6 TDI 105PS BlueMotion Manual 5-speed
67
VW Golf Estate 1.6 TDI 105PS BlueMotion 7speed DSG S Direct shift 7-speed
66

Both of those beat the Honda Insight:

HONDA Insight 1.3 IMA S 5dr [2009] Continuously Variable
64

The midsize Passat sedan nearly equals the Insight:

VW Passat Saloon 1.6 CR TDI 105 PS BlueMotion Manual 6-speed
63

People like to brush off fuel efficient diesels' advantages by dismissing them as merely being relegated to tiny cars, but that's not really the case. Their efficiency can be useful for all vehicle sizes.


RE: Duh
By tng on 6/18/2011 9:11:17 AM , Rating: 2
Speaking for the general public because that is the way you and most of your friends feel is not a good thing.

Where I live 40 to 70 mile commutes (one way) are common (with stop and go traffic, BTW). While many of the people that live in my neighborhood make 6 figures, almost all of them have a cheap fuel efficient, reliable car for doing the commute. Most also have a more powerful, more fun weekend car.

Most of the people I know that would agree with you have a really nice car with more power than they will ever use (+ a huge monthly payment for it) and live paycheck to paycheck in a small cheap apartment.

quote:
most people in the US feel exactly the same way

Most people in the US have good sense and probably don't agree with you, however if you know most of the people in the US personally....


RE: Duh
By mindless1 on 6/26/2011 7:02:49 PM , Rating: 2
So you think most people who are financially well off drive little econocars, and most with nice cars live in small cheap apartments?

That... that's some really screwed up logic you have going on, before even considering that most don't drive 40-70 miles in stop and go traffic to get to work.

Let's get back to reality. The reality is most people buy mid to nicer cars so they can drive them, ESPECIALLY so they don't have to be crammed like a sardine into a piece of junk for hours a day, unless they are too impoverished to afford the gasoline which is not much.

Think about it. Even if you get a low 20MPG on a 40 mi commute, versus 30MPG with the econobox car, that's only $2.50 or so difference in gas, pocket change to someone making six figures.

The fact is, "most" people drive the cars with the highest sales rate in the last few years. Imagine that!


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