Monday, May 01, 2006

The Case Against Ethanol

I saw this article in Businessweek looking at ethanol.

The author makes the case that ethanol is not only not cost effective, but actually causes more pollution. I have not heard that before, I had always heard it was 'cleaner burning'.

More smog, infinitely worse gas mileage, huge problems in distribution, and skyrocketing prices for gasoline. Maybe now that we're witnessing the third act in America's ethanol play, the upcoming epilogue will close this show forever. Even great advertising works only if the product does.

As I have said before, I don't know where the truth lies in the alternative fuel debate. This article definitely makes me more skeptical of the viability of corn based ethanol.


Blogger Germanicu$ said...

"...numerous studies have found that ethanol creates less energy than is required to make it. Other studies have found that ethanol creates "slightly" more energy than is used in its production. Yet not one of these studies takes into account that when E85 is used, the vehicle's fuel efficiency drops by at least 25% -- and possibly by as much as 40%. Using any of the accredited studies as a baseline in an energy-efficiency equation, ethanol when used as a fuel is a net energy waste."

I believe it. The problem with the so-called "alternative fuels debate" is that it starts off from the wrong place: we are looking for some magical substance that will power our machines, not damage the environment, be renewable, and cost very little. If that wasn't hard enough, we want an unlimited supply of it, to guarantee our unlimited consumption.

Since providing an unlimited supply of fuel to meet our unlimited demand is proving difficult, if not impossible, the logical conclusion would be to focus on the demand side. Too bad this isn't coming up at all in the "alternative fuels debate."

1:28 PM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

I certainly agree that we need to use less oil/coal/etc, through public transit and more efficient cars. At the same time, someone sideswiped my Aveo and I know that if it were a hummer the damage to the tard and the car would be less.

I think a consumption tax is in order. The more gas you use, the more you should pay so that those not using gas benefit.

So, perhaps, a tax on cars getting under 15 miles to the gallon, all of which goes into public transportation. Given my accident (sympathy, please, thank you), I am far more amenable to people who want to drive these moble earth destroyers, I just think they should have to pay for those of us who don't, but nevertheless need to pay more at the pump for the gas we do use, whether directly into an Aveo or indirectly on a bus.

6:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So, perhaps, a tax on cars getting under 15 miles to the gallon"

That's basically already what happens since registration costs are directly tied to vehicle weight and each gallon of gas is taxed.

10:23 AM  
Blogger hurtleg said...

"The more gas you use, the more you should pay so that those not using gas benefit."

Wow, this is one of the scariest sentiments I can think of. I don't drink coffee, but everyone who does should be punitively taxed and pay me because I don't like it. I'm sure rainforests are being chopped down to plant more coffee beans.

I fundamentally don't want the government to have the power to decide what is good and what is not. What happened to personal freedom?

11:42 AM  
Blogger sexyretard said...


I am not suggesting you lose your freedom to buy the moble earth destroyer or the sports car that gets 13 miles to the gallon but will take you from 0 to 90 two seconds ago; however, I am saying that since that behavior makes eveyrone else's life more difficult (including the government's) due to our dependence on oil, those who are acting more responsibly should pay less (and truly less) than they are and those who are not should pay more. This is why I disagree with the Democrats' idea of just raising the gas tax so it costs more and we use less. That would affect the waitress driving to Des Moines as much or more than the bourgeois driving to the cabin in Michigan City.

At the same time, overconsumption by the wealthy also makes it difficult for the waitress to make it to work in her 15 year old Civic, so they should pay towards rectifying that reality.

3:40 PM  
Blogger hurtleg said...

"the moble earth destroyer or the sports car that gets 13 miles to the gallon but will take you from 0 to 90 two seconds ago"

While it is an easy populist stance to attack the mobile earth destroyers gas represents only a small portion of the total use of petroleum in this country. Far more is used for industrial uses, and the chemical industry.

I believe in free markets. If the price is prohibitively high people will stop buying the mobile earth destroyers and buy Priuses.

While it is a noble sentiment to help the waitress in the 15 year old Civic, how exactly would you transfer the money from the yuppie too the waitress. This is exactly the kind of socialist micromanagement that has good intentions but destroys an economy (think France).

10:01 PM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

No, because I am not advocating the overtaxation of wealth, but rather of consumption.

7:12 AM  

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