Corny Numbers

The tide may be shifting against ethanol.

The government subsidizes corn ethanol to the tune of $6 Billion every year. (That’s 6,000 million dollars for the mathmatically challenged, or about 25 bucks per year for every man, woman, and child in America) For this subsidy, we get:

-More expensive food (since corn is diverted away from food production and towards energy production)
-“Gasoline” that eats away at rubber and brass┬áparts on older cars
-Worse fuel economy than with non-ethanol-infused fuel

On top of that, it actually consumes the equivalent of about a gallon of gasoline to produce a gallon of ethanol. (Whereas you can get about 30 gallons of gasoline into your tank for 1 gallon of equivalent energy usage)

I realize that, in the process of chasing the elusive goals of energy independence and reduced fossil fuel consumption and “green” (blec) power, there are going to be obstacles, hurdles, dead-ends, etc. along the way. The trick will be recognizing when you’ve hit a technological dead end, and cutting bait before too much harm has been done. For ethanol, I think, the time has come to cut bait.

Screw cheap gas. I’m tired of paying $3/ lb for bacon.

5 Responses to “Corny Numbers”

  1. Dan says:

    Wait, are they finally acting on this? Or are they going to mull it over for 5 more years before realizing how bad it is?

  2. Pitt says:

    Naw, the Senate “bravely” voted to kill the subsidy, knowing full well the administration of the Chicago Messiah would kowtow to Big Corn and veto killing it.

    Hey, Brian, how’s that algae fermentation thing working out? I mean, if we’re going to brew fuel out of something, it might as well be something no one’s going to eat.

  3. Pitt says:

    Do any of the stations up there sell “ethanol-free” gas? I try to buy it whenever I can, there’s a few stations around that sell it. Its about 10 cents more a gallon but I do get an extra MPG or so with it. I know they were using the ethanol to boost octane (MTBE, the stuff they used to use, was severely frowed upon as it would leech out of leaky tanks and contaminate drinking water). I wonder what they’re using to kick up the octane of the non-ethanol gas now, since I’m pretty sure they banned MTBE.

  4. BrianN says:


    There are a number of companies doing it (algae growth), and directly processing bio-diesel. Obviously it’s not that profitable, or everyone would do it. If I lived somewhere that got sunshine I might give it a try.

    I think NY and MA mandated 10% EtOH, though I’m not sure, certainly never seen EtOH free.

    Any alternative fuel that you have to produce will be hard to compete with a product you just stick a pipe in the ground to obtain.

    The basic problem is this:

    step 1) Govt. sees promising tech and decides to subsidize with the idea it will eventual become cheap on its own

    step 2) a number of industries emerge to take advantage subsidies, employing people in states and districts who then elect congressmen.

    step 3) technology become obsolete without fulfilling promise

    step 4) congressman votes to throw constituents out of work.

    Oh, wait step 4 doesn’t really happen, does it.

  5. Pitt says:

    I’ll just post this link here:

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