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39% of all corn produced in the U.S. goes to ethanol production   (Source:
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 Alexvrb on 6/18/2011 3:56:57 PM , Rating: 4
1) Unbelted occupant crash test requirements. That's right, we have safety requirements for occupants that refuse to wear a seatbelt. I think it is stupid, but anyway European models do not have this requirement.

2) You could build two slightly different variants of the same car side by side. Just because they're both built in Germany does not mean they have identical safety/suspension/etc.

3) A "gallon" here is not the same as a "gallon" elsewhere. I know you said that they were Imperial gallons, and you were just demonstrating the difference against the Prius. But this can just confuse people further. So be careful with your "MPG" ratings. Looking at the Prius you listed, I can already guess that "72 MPG" would work out to 60 MPG here - and that's just converting to US gallons, not even changing testing methods.

4) Our emissions standards are stricter, especially for the (12+) states that adhere to the more stringent California EPA standards. This applies to gas and diesel engines.

5) 2008+ EPA tests reflect real-world MPG results in US road conditions much better than older EPA testing. If you put those vehicles you listed through the same testing, their rated MPG (even after converting to US gallons) would drop like a rock.

Example: 2007 Toyota Prius. Using EPA numbers, US gallons.

Old (2007-) EPA numbers: 60/55/51 (City / Combined / Highway)
New (2008+) EPA numbers: 48/46/45

I verified by also checking a 2008 Prius, which has the same new numbers as the 2007 (48/46/45).

Bottom line: Do you really think VW, et al are just ruining their US vehicles on purpose, you know so they don't "sell too many cars"? Hogwash.

RE: Duh
By superstition on 6/19/11, Rating: 0
RE: Duh
By superstition on 6/21/2011 12:07:37 AM , Rating: 2
The list was updated to show US MPG:

The vehicles that beat or equal the Prius are given red MPG labels and the vehicles that meet or beat the Insight are given blue.

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