Thursday, March 30, 2006

Ethanol

Today's print edition of the Detroit News carried an op-ed by University of Michigan professor of economics Mark J. Perry that I was glad to see. It is titled "Subsidizing ethanol guzzles consumers' gas and money."

Mr. Perry correctly points out: "...it takes 29 percent more fossil fuel energy to make ethanol from corn than the fuel produced, according to a recent study at Cornell University and the University of California-Berkeley."

The American people need to know that ethanol is not an energy saving fuel and whatever polution that doesn't get into the air by using ethanol will get there anyway, and then some, in the production of it.

Of course the moral arguement is the government has no right trying to tell the oil companies how to run their businesses. The proper function of government is to protect peoples' rights including property rights.

If the oil companies were left alone, they would be able to produce an abundance of oil at reasonable prices. Chances are good I think, we would not be dependent on Saudi oil to the extent we are.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do some checking on those figures - I do not believe them.
Alcohol, is actually a form/partially of solar energy. The sun works on the plants by photosynthesis.
New studies that I have read actually show that alcohol is a net postive fuel. Of course we have always known that gasloine is a net negative fuel.
What they may have been indicating is that alcohol is not as energy dense as gasoline so more is needed to do the same work. Still, the advantages are there!!

Gary

Mike N said...

Anon, I've seen three different numbers, the 29% loss in the article, a 25% loss and 50/50 meaning ethanol had no gain or loss.
You're right about alcohol needing more to do the same work. I think that's what they meant when they say it gets less milage.
Anyway, I still don't see how it can compete with gasoline in light of the fact that ethanol will require huge government subsidies.
Without those subsidies, where would the price be? Too high I think. But I will do more research on it.

Anonymous said...

Those arguments - about price and feasibility were before gas was so expensive. Now it is the other way around. Now they can make alcohol from cellulose, cattails is an excellent feed stock, wood waste etc.. We need to start growing industrial Hemp!! (for more reasons than I could list here)
The thing about oil/gas, and what got us into the problem paradigm, was that there was so much of it - and it was easy to get. Not so true anymore, and with the rising demand - it must be alternated!
Gary