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To eat ... or to drive? Draconian concept, yes, but that's the choice many Americans may be...

To eat ... or to drive? Draconian concept, yes, but that's the choice many Americans may be faced with soon as the worst drought in decades pits meat producers against the ethanol starved oil companies. The issue of food versus fuel and surging corn prices crosses both economic as well as ethical borders, and is growing louder in Washington, D.C. as ripe fodder for an election cycle. In the end, it's likely big oil will win out, because as long as it is more profitable to produce a gallon of ethanol from corn than selling it for animal feed, not much will change.
Comments (15)
  • jerrycalpha
    , contributor
    Comments (59) | Send Message
     
    Ethanol is fine; we race cars on it; it's an OK fuel. Making ethanol from corn if the most f'd up concept dumbo's in Washington have ever come up with. Producing ethanol from sugar is about 8 times more efficient than corn, but we have crazy high tariffs on sugar to protect our looser boy sugar producers. I guess that makes us more secure in the event we go to war with Brazil. My apologies to ADM.
    24 Aug 2012, 08:24 PM Reply Like
  • curreyr
    , contributor
    Comments (737) | Send Message
     
    Just thank Iowa ... ya know that first "caucus" in election cycles.
    24 Aug 2012, 08:39 PM Reply Like
  • Herr Hansa
    , contributor
    Comments (3085) | Send Message
     
    Exactly. My research went along the same direction when looking into ethanol production.

     

    http://seekingalpha.co...

     

    It makes more sense to use sugar, because there is still a way to keep getting sugar from the process. There are other alternatives for ethanol production. Bottom line, if corn is more profitable going to ethanol production, even if the ethanol is exported, then that is what the farmers will do.
    24 Aug 2012, 08:48 PM Reply Like
  • Brian27
    , contributor
    Comments (76) | Send Message
     
    Thank Al Gore.
    25 Aug 2012, 12:33 PM Reply Like
  • Canary Cash
    , contributor
    Comments (471) | Send Message
     
    bullish
    24 Aug 2012, 08:29 PM Reply Like
  • Uncle Pie
    , contributor
    Comments (3801) | Send Message
     
    According to the Financial Times, the United Nations asked the United States to suspend the ethanol mandates (requiring particular amounts of ethanol in gasoline) because of the drought. The fact that this story never appeared in the press in the US testifies to the power and influence of the ethanol lobby. Life in the Superpac-ocracy!
    24 Aug 2012, 08:37 PM Reply Like
  • davidingeorgia
    , contributor
    Comments (2713) | Send Message
     
    But it makes environuts feel so much better about themselves! And it keeps the corporate agriculture lobbyists happy so the campaign contributions keep flowing! Isn't that well worth screwing over the consumer (yet again)? Well, of course it is! Just ask the president or any EPA bureaucrat or Congress Critter you happen to see; they'll tell you.
    25 Aug 2012, 06:39 AM Reply Like
  • Ron Myers
    , contributor
    Comments (256) | Send Message
     
    Solution is to stop doing both and using the corn to actually feed people (or make corn syrup and other derivatives), one is unnecessary and the other is a total waste.
    25 Aug 2012, 09:14 AM Reply Like
  • Brian27
    , contributor
    Comments (76) | Send Message
     
    "In the end, it's likely big oil will win out, because as long as it is more profitable to produce a gallon of ethanol from corn than selling it for animal feed, not much will change."

     

    How does big oil profit from ethanol if it is a replacement for oil? Either the statement is stupid or I am ignorant.
    25 Aug 2012, 12:35 PM Reply Like
  • Herr Hansa
    , contributor
    Comments (3085) | Send Message
     
    The direct benefit is in refining, because ethanol is used in blending to increase octane. While not all the major oil companies operate refineries, those that do benefit by using less oil in refining to get to a higher octane level. So I don't see it as an oil replacement in the U.S. In Brazil it is different, because there are vehicles available that run on 100% ethanol.
    25 Aug 2012, 01:36 PM Reply Like
  • Brian27
    , contributor
    Comments (76) | Send Message
     
    How does an oil company benefit from using less oil? After all they are in the business of selling oil. Refining does not drive profits.
    27 Aug 2012, 08:18 AM Reply Like
  • Herr Hansa
    , contributor
    Comments (3085) | Send Message
     
    Pure play oil companies, without refining, do not benefit from ethanol. Oil companies that run refining operations can get a greater yield from using less oil by blending ethanol. So the barrel of oil goes farther than if there was no ethanol blending. Refining is lower margins, but it is the use that oil is put to. If it was only about selling barrels of oil, then ethanol is competition.
    27 Aug 2012, 05:04 PM Reply Like
  • Whitehawk
    , contributor
    Comments (3129) | Send Message
     
    Eating and driving less may be a good prescription for some.
    25 Aug 2012, 02:34 PM Reply Like
  • 1980XLS-2.0
    , contributor
    Comments (525) | Send Message
     
    Race Cars do not sit in your driveway.

     

    The engines are discarded and/or thrown away after each race.

     

    The US does not (and never will) produce enough sugar to produce the amount of ethanol for the current mandates.
    26 Aug 2012, 11:21 AM Reply Like
  • headlocal
    , contributor
    Comments (104) | Send Message
     
    so, dump the mandates!

     

    Let ethanol find its natural market price.

     

    I know, moonshiners have been doing this for centuries, without any mandates...and there is even a NASCAR heritage element involved, except Junior Johnson et al weren't dumb enough to burn the ethanol they made.
    27 Aug 2012, 03:24 AM Reply Like
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