[permaculture] The Food Crunch

Marimike6 at cs.com Marimike6 at cs.com
Thu Apr 24 17:19:32 EDT 2008


"See -- that's just more of the disinformation campaign being waged
against ethanol. The truth is just exactly the opposite -- ethanol is a
much superior fuel to gasoline, in every way. It burns much cooler and
cleaner, so that engines running on ethanol can run 3x as long before
needing a rebuild. It is much higher octane and contains it's own
oxygenators so you can run a much higher compression ratio and get far
more power and efficiency."

I don't know, Harmon... what I'm hearing is that it's more expensive (both in 
dollars and in the energy required to produce it) and the mileage is worse. 
If grain alcohol is cleaner, that's very nice. But I think we should weigh both 
sides of the coin.

First, I would challenge your assumption that unsubsidised gasoline would 
cost us $15 a gallon. I used to think Big Oil was getting a lot of breaks-- until 
I looked into it. But look at their financial statements. They're paying 
taxes at about the same proportion as Joe Paycheck. The only serious break I can 
think of is the forgiveness of royalties in Gulf drilling operations.

However, you can educate me by offering specifics.

Both fuels have some externals to consider. Corn ethanol, for example, has 
the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico. I think the following article offers some 
useful analysis:

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=7308

The plain fact is, you have to evaluate a fuel by how many therms are 
required to produce it. And also by how much prime farmland and fertilizer are 
required to grow it. On a level playing field today, corn liquor still has a few 
problems. Maybe in the future, if things crash and we have fewer people competing 
for our crops,  it will become more attractive.

Just my opinion, based on everything I'm reading now.   



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