published Monday, February 28th, 2011

Ethanol and high food prices

A recent headline in the Times Free Press read, “Low corn supply, ethanol usage to boost food bills.”

The story told how the diversion of so much corn to ethanol production is diminishing U.S. corn supplies, meaning it will be more expensive to make corn-based foods. Also increasing will be the cost of meat from animals that are fed corn.

Why is corn being diverted to ethanol? Is ethanol especially efficient? Hardly. It reduces gas mileage in cars and damages small engines, such as those on lawnmowers. But in a giveaway to the farm lobby, Congress is requiring that higher and higher percentages of ethanol be used in our gasoline supply. And our taxes subsidize each gallon of ethanol.

So we get not only lower mileage, damaged engines and higher food prices, but bigger deficits.

Does that make any sense?

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EaTn said...

To our Senators Alexander and Corker: please help rescind the ethanol support in Congress. You want to do something to reduce tax waste while uplifting the economic status on a vast majority of Tennesseans at the pump and grocery, then get some backbone and help get rid of this ethanol sham.

February 28, 2011 at 6:12 a.m.
nucanuck said...

The US will end corn based ethanol in the same legislation than authorizes the conversion to the metric system.

Why is it that simple obvious changes aren't addressed while the country and our Congress focus on gays,guns,and,gods.

February 28, 2011 at 1 p.m.

You don't need corn to make ethanol. All you need is yeast and sugar. You can use sugar cane, sugar beets, molasses, or left over cakes, pies, and sweets. The Russians have been making it from potatoes for years.

A down side of ethanol production is the large amount of carbon dioxide produced during the fermentation process.

February 28, 2011 at 4:33 p.m.
nucanuck said...

Ethanol made from sugar cane has a positive energy return on energy invested,but I'm not aware of any other source that does.

February 28, 2011 at 5:28 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

Are you all not missing the point? Devoting land to fuel production while food prices spiral upward is criminal. Who cares if you can make a net energy gain with sugar cane if that same land could be producing food?

Find a liquid fuel source that comes from a waste stream like sewage or landfill materials and you will get my attention.

End the STUPID ethanol subsidies!

February 28, 2011 at 6:13 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Ethanol can only be made up to about 10-12% (the yeast die if it gets higher). Then it has to be distilled to 95%, which takes, um... energy. Ooops. In fact, because of the azeotrope formation, a lot of ethanol distillate must be reprocessed, as more and more water is distilled with it. Now, there may be another process, but from my bench it seems that making ethanol requires more energy than you get from using it.

February 28, 2011 at 6:13 p.m.

My point is that ethanol subsidies are a ruse for the uptick in corn prices. I do not believe ethanol is a viable energy source, unless we distilled it using geothermal or solar or some other "green" method.

February 28, 2011 at 6:36 p.m.
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