Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The U.S. is Drunk on Ethanol: Where's the Outrage?

From a Scientific American article "Intoxicated on Independence: Is Domestically Produced Ethanol Worth the Cost?" (emphasis added):

"Ethanol remains more expensive than petroleum-derived gasoline.  And that means subsidies: $7 billion in 2010 alone, once tax credits, tariffs and other incentives are added together. In fact, between 1980 and 2000 the U.S. government has devoted some $19 billion in tax breaks alone to the ethanol-from-corn effort, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, and ethanol subsidies per liter of the biofuel have often been larger than the total cost of a liter of gas the biofuel replaced. A significant portion of the profits made by agribusiness giants like Poet or Archer Daniels Midland—which, along with oil company Valero, are responsible for the bulk of ethanol produced in the U.S.—can be attributed to this government largesse with taxpayer dollars.

As the USDA noted in a report on gasohol in 1986: ethanol "cannot be justified on economic grounds" and "had no long-term prospect for survival without massive new government assistance." More recently, the Congressional Research Service noted in a report last October that if the entire all-time record U.S. corn crop of 2009 was used to make ethanol—it would only replace roughly 18 percent of national gasoline use. "Expanding corn-based ethanol to significantly promote U.S. energy security is likely to be infeasible," the researchers wrote."

MP: Given all of the attention and scrutiny that oil companies like ExxonMobil get, where's the equivalent outrage about the windfall/obscene/excessive profits, taxpayer subsidies, and tax breaks for ethanol producers like ADM?

29 Comments:

At 8/03/2011 9:35 AM, Blogger James said...

Our government will try anything to achieve energy independence as long as it is guaranteed to cost a lot more than oil AND not to work.

 
At 8/03/2011 9:53 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

ADM is widely disliked among environmentalists, and not just because of ethanol. there is plenty of outge out there.

It makes no sense to replace gas with ethanol if the ethanol is more expensive, especially when the ethanol also contains less energy, so ou have to use more to the get the same work accomplished.

Some people will claim that ethanol produces less net GHG emission, and that is worth something. We just don't have a way to decide what that value is.

Energy independence may have some unknown value too, but it would not make any sense to pay more to achieve it than we can simply buy energy for. Unless you think you are buying from future (or current) enemies nad therefor funding your own incipient problems.

Whether it is energy independence or greenhouse gas, there are somethings our system of markets fail to consider.

 
At 8/03/2011 11:04 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"ADM is widely disliked among environmentalists, and not just because of ethanol ..."

Every large private company is disliked by "environmentalists". They have also protested and lobbied against every form of energy generation including wind and solar. In fact, it was, in part, their anti-drilling efforts that moved the country toward ethanol.

 
At 8/03/2011 11:21 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

There is no outrage about ethanol as it is typical right-wing socialist rural pink coprolite.

More dole and subsidies for rural Americans, who evidently will never be able to stand on their own two feet, economically speaking.

Everything in rural pinkville is subsidized, from the roads, to power systems, to postal facilities, to water systems, to crops, to telephone service ($8 bil a year there too). Man, they ought give farmers pink phones.

This flood of federal lard started under pink-town heroes FDR and LBJ, back in the 1930s. It has grown ever since--LBJ started placing defense and military installations in TX, and now defense is our largest rural social welfare program going.

As rural areas became politically conservative, the rural pink-lard flood became a GOP tradition, enlarged every year.

A fascinating story to learn about, btw.

 
At 8/03/2011 12:08 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Benji/Idiot,

"As rural areas became politically conservative, the rural pink-lard flood became a GOP tradition, enlarged every year."

And as befits a senator from Illinois, the country’s second largest corn-producing state, he delivered a ringing endorsement of ethanol as an alternative fuel.

~NY Times 6/23/2008

No peeking now, can you identify this mystery Senator from Illinois? Hint: his lifetime American Conservative Union score is the equivalent of an "F." Also, he's your boyfriend.

 
At 8/03/2011 1:00 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Paul-

There are some rural D-Partiers left, and they show as much pink as the GOP.

Actually, my newest boyfriend is GOP'er Ron Paul, although his take on monetary policy could get him tossed in the looneybin.

You must be very sad. Your boyfriend, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) evidently cannot run for national office, as he has real boyfriends in real life.

God-damn, they always said Perry looks like Rock Hudson.

 
At 8/03/2011 1:11 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Well it seems that the only real winner in the ethanol scam is the taxman...

 
At 8/03/2011 1:21 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"Actually, my newest boyfriend is GOP'er Ron Paul, although his take on monetary policy could get him tossed in the looneybin. "

Man, you flit from radical to radical. Only common denominator is neither really cares for America. But Ron Paul is just a fling, Benji boy. You'll be back in the socialist arms of your one true love by November of next year.

 
At 8/03/2011 1:55 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Paul-

If I wanted to vote pinko-sissy-socialist, I would vote for the GOP.

 
At 8/03/2011 2:08 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Benji,

"If I wanted to vote pinko-sissy-socialist, I would vote for the GOP."

You voted for Obama, an actual socialist.

 
At 8/03/2011 2:53 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Every large private company is disliked by "environmentalists".

Not quite true, though it seems that way.

I agree with the rest of the post however. Some of them will never be happy until everything is manufactured pollution free out of nothing and leaves no waste behind.

 
At 8/03/2011 3:04 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Paul-

About the only non-socialist I see in the House or Senate is Ron Paul.

I would vote for him if I have a chance.

The GOP prezzy candidate in 2008 was a pinko-socialist John NcCain, 3rd generation on the federal dole, all military.

McCain's idea of a budget was something you got increased every year from Congress, and his idea of a foreign policy to to enjoin every foreign entanglement possible.

As for Obama, he has been a failure. He has boosted our futile and expensive efforts in Afopiumistan, and maintained the Bush levels of deficit spending at $1.2 trillion a year. Defense spending is still double in real terms what it was just 10 years ago.

Obama has joined the Bush mantra of "deficits don't matter" and left in place Bush tax rates on the wealthy, which are lower than those of GOP hero Ronald Reagan--and low ax rates would be fine if you cut spending. But Obama hasn't, and neither has the GOP.

The real question is, "Why would you not vote for Ron Paul?"

 
At 8/03/2011 3:11 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"But Ron Paul is just a fling, Benji boy. You'll be back in the socialist arms of your one true love by November of next year"...

LMAO! Oh man! Now that's funny!

In a country awash in parasitic sissies we know that someone like a real conservative won't ever be elected to the Oval Office...

 
At 8/03/2011 3:48 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Benji,

"About the only non-socialist I see in the House or Senate is Ron Paul."

That's only because you are an ignoramus. There are scores of excellent GOP Congressmen/Senators like Allen West, Pat Toomey, Ron Paul's son Rand,Jim Demint,Paul Ryan,Quico Canseco,John Kyl,etc. etc. etc...
Democrats, not so much.

"The GOP prezzy candidate in 2008 was a pinko-socialist John NcCain, 3rd generation on the federal dole, all military."

So people who protect your worthless ass are "pinko-socialists." He spent years in the Hanoi Hilton. What have you done for your country, nitwit?

"McCain's idea of a budget was something you got increased every year from Congress.."

More Benji blather with zero evidence. Although he's a douchebag, McCain scored above average with vote ratings groups like Citizens Against Government Waste, and the ACU. Your boyfriend got all F's equivalents. Yet you pulled the lever for him anyway.

"..his idea of a foreign policy to to enjoin every foreign entanglement possible."

Like Libya?

 
At 8/03/2011 4:00 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"Obama has joined the Bush mantra of "deficits don't matter" and left in place Bush tax rates on the wealthy, which are lower than those of GOP hero Ronald Reagan--"

So much blather, so little in the way of facts. A) Obama's deficits make Bush's deficits look incosequential by comparison. B)Bush tax rates are still higher than Reagan's after the '86 tax reform. C) You're an idiot.

 
At 8/03/2011 4:04 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

McCain in fat has suggested even more-agreesive action in Libya.

I ahve state, Obama is a failure for ghis inability to reduce defeicts--McCain might have been even worse, as he would have gotten us into additional military commitments.

As to the military, I share the view of our Founding Fathers that standing militaries are loathsome and detestable, and I share the view of Milton Friedman that they are parasitic.

GOP-er Ron Paul wants to shut down all foreign US military bases, and I concur.

The GOP'ers you cite (Kyl, etc) are just trenchermen in the confederacy of strumpets, warmongers, grifters and poltroons that make up today's GOP.

Aside from Ron Paul, really are not nearly all GOP'ers just catamites for plutocrats?

 
At 8/03/2011 4:28 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Benji,

"I ahve state, Obama is a failure for ghis inability to reduce defeicts--"

Uh, you were grading him with a "C" just the other day. You were praising his economic team you said he brought in from the Clinton administration. You'll be shouting his name with joy the moment you think you can credit him with some actual positive economic news.

"I share the view of our Founding Fathers that standing militaries are loathsome and detestable.."

I doubt any founding father used that vernacular. However, the fact that you spit on the people who die for your freedom does make YOU loathesome and detestable.

"McCain might have been even worse, as he would have gotten us into additional military commitments,,,"

That's such crap you tell yourself, perhaps out of a sense of guilt for helping saddle our country with the socialist Obama.

"The GOP'ers you cite (Kyl, etc) are just trenchermen in the confederacy of strumpets, warmongers, grifters and poltroons that make up today's GOP."

God, you think you are such a talented worsmith, don't you? I guarantee you know next-to-nothing about any of the people I named.

All your gibberish doesn't change the fact that you, like so many other mindless millions, fell in love in 2008 with a socialist community organizer who went on to become the worst president in the history of the United States.

 
At 8/03/2011 4:41 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Paul-

You may be surprised about our Founding Fathers.

One, George Mason, after which the right-wing George Mason University is named, refused to sign the Constitution as it did not contain an explicit ban on standing militaries.

In his first term as US President, the US Congress refused to give George Washington any Army, standing or otherwise. In his second term, the Congress authorized 1500 men to fight Indians.

I honor deeply those ordinary soldiers who fought in WWII, or other wars.

However, the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan follies have proven US leadership is not to be trusted with standing militaries, and the permanent military-homeland security-VA complex has become parasitic and coprolitic.

 
At 8/03/2011 5:12 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Benji,

I know about the suspicions of the founding fathers regarding standing armies. I have yet to hear they, like you, found the military "loathesome and detestable."

"I honor deeply those ordinary soldiers who fought in WWII, or other wars."

You mean the guys you just called "pinko socialists?" Gosh, what an honorable man you are.

So when did you downgrade your boyfriend's performance from a "C"? Must have been in the past couple weeks. What changed? Also, what other fancy words would you like to share with us?

 
At 8/03/2011 5:24 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"I ahve state, Obama is a failure for ghis inability to reduce defeicts--" -- "Benji"

"Benji" are you inventing words again?

 
At 8/03/2011 5:28 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Che-
Sorry for the tie-poes. I mean typos.

 
At 8/03/2011 5:31 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Paul-

Well, I have not used "cozen" in a while. I always thought Karl Rove was cozen.

And that Dick "Sure Shot" Cheney was "implacable." Even when shooting a hunting partner.

 
At 8/03/2011 5:33 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Thanks, Benji. It's always so impressive when you plunk down those fancy words. It really makes you look smart...

 
At 8/03/2011 6:06 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I have a dictionary here.

 
At 8/03/2011 7:56 PM, Blogger Sean said...

That such subsidies should survive a deficit hunt is insane.

 
At 8/04/2011 2:40 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"That such subsidies should survive a deficit hunt is insane."

A sure sign that politics trumps economics every time.

 
At 8/04/2011 10:15 AM, Blogger Innovation rules said...

Corn is a catalyst, not a source of energy, since it arguably takes almost as much oil to produce a gallon of ethanol as it does to produce real gasoline. It also drives up the price of grains which is horrific for the poor, and it destroys engines.

Brazil makes ethanol from sugar cane which needs no subsidy to compete with gasoline, but tariffs preclude its import.

After all, it is OK to import gasoline from Chavez but not ethanol from Brazil. The reason is obvious; what began as a pet green initiative quickly became a political fundraiser for incumbents.

 
At 8/04/2011 12:40 PM, Blogger skh.pcola said...

"Cozen" is a verb, not a noun. Rove can no more be a cozen than he can be a write or a run. Your dictionary is broken.

 
At 8/04/2011 5:05 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

skh.pcola:

You are correct. I mis-used the word. It is still one of my favorite words.

Sometimes, even I become coprolite. Or crapulent.

 

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