Grassroots Commentary

Food for Fuel and Federal Foolishness: The Consequences of Ethanol Policy

Murray T. Bass · Sep. 1, 2011

In a studied response to the prospect of world famine, the Environmental folks in Washington have faced the problem directly. They have opted for world famine. Their mandate? Put more of the world’s food supply into our fuel tanks. 50% more. They have been successful in their attempt to reach a new pinnacle of stupidity.

This stupidity is only possible with people who are so short sighted they simply cannot see beyond the end of their noses. They cannot see or don’t care to see the consequences of their brainless directives. Flatulence fees, poisonous light bulbs – the list could go on and on. But today I want to look at the ethanol debacle. Ethanol in America is a fuel made from ethyl alcohol distilled from otherwise edible corn. “Corn likker” so to speak. Some studies have shown that there is so much less energy in ethyl alcohol that mileage from 10% ethanol fuel results in a decrease in mileage of 1.7% to 25%, depending on whose study you look at. For the majority of American cars which have relatively low compression engines, the higher figure is more appropriate. When the energy used to convert the corn to alcohol is taken into account, some studies have shown that there is no net energy benefit to ethanol use. As a matter of fact, It uses more energy than it adds. A negative “benefit.” Ethanol advocates will debate that point.

More important and not debatable are other consequences. Consequences obvious but unseen or ignored by the shortsighted environmental people.

We are no longer the “Breadbasket of the world.” We are the stupidity basket of the world. As a result of the artificial demand for corn, we are growing more corn at the expense of acreage planted in wheat, sorghum, barley alfalfa and other minor grains. The cost of all of them has increased because of now shorter supplies. Less is available for export to hungry nations. Corn prices have almost doubled in the past 5 years. Corn has been the traditional food for farm animals along with silage fermented green plants (primarily corn stalks). Silage is now also being converted into alcohol. The cost to raise animals for food has skyrocketed along with the price to consumers. To you and me.

The volume of grains available for export has diminished and will fall even more. The new mandate to increase ethanol content of fuels from 10% to 15% will guarantee that result.

American consumers wind up paying for the ethanol fantasy. Our food prices double with no real benefit to anyone. That is except for those involved in the ethanol chain. Sugar, once a surplus commodity, is now in short supply. Brazil and other countries are converting their cane to ethanol rather than sugar. The price of sugar has tripled.

If they think of something to do with beans (like converting to methane), we’ll be rioting, too. Beans are a great potential source of methane.

But we aren’t the only ones paying for this fantasy. The real losers are the people in the world who need our grains to survive. That is one of the reasons some are predicting worldwide famine riots in 2013. And, it’s true, you can’t eat stupidity.

What can we do?

First reject the phony “Global Warming” arguments . They have been fabricated to justify dumb things like ethanol.

Look for the real solutions to our energy problems. Solutions are there. America has hundreds of years of accessible energy resources. All we have to do is develop them. At one time the excuse given for not doing so was that oil was cheaper. No longer true. The last estimate I saw was that we could produce a barrel of fuel from coal for less than $45.00. Half the going price of imported oil. If we use nuclear energy as the source of heat for the gasification process the cost is substantially lower. In addition there are byproducts such as electricity that reduce the final cost even more. It would be an environmentally clean operation.

Perhaps we can ultimately replace fossil fuel in automobiles if we plan it correctly.

We don’t have to subsidize the development of resources. Just guarantee a market for the product.

In the meantime we should access as many of our known petroleum reserves as possible.

The benefits are great. We can again become the breadbasket of the world providing affordable food to the world’s hungry masses.

And, we can help ourselves at the food store by providing affordable grains for feed and for flours and other ingredients that make up food for our tables. There isn’t much we can do about countries like Brazil who are taking the world sugar supplies and converting them into alcohol – ethanol.

Added benefits to developing our energy resources are many. But the principal ones are enhanced security by not funding our enemies abroad. Any additional oil we need we can buy from our friendly neighbor Canada. It will no longer be necessary for us to kiss rings and backsides. We will have returned to a position of world power.

We will keep our money at home and in the process create millions of jobs I can’t think of any reason we shouldn’t move ahead. End the ethanol no benefit program. Develop our energy resources. Become a world economic power again. Help feed the world’s hungry. Make living for all Americans more affordable. Nothing but wins.

Our representatives in Washington have done nothing but make matters worse over the past 10 years. We can’t expect them to change. We must have new representatives who reject political correctness and who will authorize real solutions. I guess that’s where we have to start.

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