Posted on Freedom Advocates on May 2nd 2007
The demand for ethanol didn’t arise legitimately on the open market. The demand for an oxygenated fuel originated in the halls of government where a mandate could be passed to ensure such a demand. Furthermore, the taxpayer or end consumer is not only coerced to pay for the scam through subsidies and tariff enforcement but is also forced to pay the longer-term cost of wasted resources and engineering inefficiencies.
Guest Commentary from Greeley Tribune:
Before we get too excited about so-called renewable energy sources, I think it should behoove us to consider a few facts about these sources, which the greenhouse gas/global warming/renewable energy crows (Al Gore being the grand pooh-bah) find irrelevant.
Since ethanol is derived from a renewable energy source and is very much in Weld County’s future, let’s consider a few facts and some history about ethanol.
Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is made by the fermentation of a mixture of corn and yeast — hill-billy mash. It is also made with sugar cane, which is a superior energy crop by comparison and big business in Brazil.
The Clean Air Act of 1977 got the U.S. government involved once again with ethyl alcohol. Only this time, instead of smashing stills that produced grain alcohol, the government started peddling the stuff as a fuel oxygenate to improve the combustibility of gasoline. However, the original top pick to oxygenate gasoline was MTBE — methyl tertiary butyl ether), but it was soon discovered (as the story goes) that MTBE contaminated ground water.
Although carburetors were being rapidly replaced by advanced computer-operated air-fuel systems in American motor vehicles, the U.S. government barged ahead with ethanol as the oxygenate of choice. But first, in order to make the stuff competitive, the U.S. government (U.S. taxpayer) provided a subsidy (makes the consumer pay twice) of 51 cents to producers for every gallon of ethanol used as an oxygenate or to produce “gasohol,” which is a blend of ethanol and gasoline ranging from 5 percent to 85 percent. To top it off, the U.S. government slapped a 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol in order to stifle foreign competitors with a superior product like Brazil.
There is an old, common-sense maxim that says, “It takes energy to make energy.” In this case, it takes more energy to produce a gallon of ethanol than a gallon of ethanol can deliver in an internal combustion engine. Now, depending on who does the figuring (our scientific community has some skillful liars), the net energy balance of a gallon of ethanol is either a positive 20,400 Btus (British thermal unit) or a negative 53,600 Btus.
How does ethanol stack up against the energy content of other fuels?
«10 pounds of coal: 120,000 Btus
«10 pounds of dried oak: 80,000 Btus
«1 gallon of diesel oil: 130,000 Btus
«1 gallon of gasoline: 115,000 Btus
«1 gallon of ethanol: 76,000 Btus.
However, even when using the positive net energy balance of 20,400 Btus per gallon for ethanol, it still takes more than 5 gallons of ethanol to equal 1 gallon of gasoline.
Then there is the problem of growing the raw materials to produce ethanol — corn. Just how much acreage should be devoted to an energy source that is very inefficient (output/input) and has a low-power density? That is, it takes a lot of land, a scarce resource itself, to provide 1 gallon of ethanol.
In political economy, this kind of arrangement between government and business is called fascism. That is, the demand for ethanol didn’t arise legitimately on the open market. The demand for an oxygenated fuel originated in the halls of government where a mandate could be passed to ensure such a demand. Furthermore, the taxpayer or end consumer is not only coerced to pay for the scam through subsidies and tariff enforcement but is also forced to pay the longer-term cost of wasted resources and engineering inefficiencies.
Renewable energy is more than a taxpayer scam. It is, in fact, a giant technological stride backward buttressed with unproven, and in some instances absurd, environmental protection pseudo-science. And, being a part of the larger “green” agenda, renewable energy is also clothed in one-world, neopagan, natural balance sophistry.
The fact is, the production of ethanol is a tragic waste of resources that benefits only a few shortsighted green-driven businesses.
Make no mistake: Our beloved country is headed down the path of deindustrialization that ultimately leads to Third World status.
Government’s Push to Use Ethanol is Merely a Fascist Ruse by R.P. Adamson, Jr.
R.P. Adamson, Jr. was born, raised and educated in Greeley. He is in the drywall business. His commentary was originally published on April 10, 2007 in the Greeley Tribune The Greeley Publishing Co. – P.O. Box 1690 – Greeley, CO 80632
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