Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Fuel: Expense and Conservation

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  • Do some reading on ethanol. It will blow your mind. It is mixed with gas now (between 6-10% in most cases), can be made from corn, & I’ve also read, potatoes, & everything I’ve read insists it can be mixed w/ gas at much higher quantities than it is now. Not only would it stretch the supply of crude oil & gasoline, it would alleviate some of the costs, & is better for the environment, & no, you do not have to purchase a special car, nor is it bad for your vehicle. The only “politicians” discussing it are in California.

    Posted by deminizer  on  10/04  at  01:35 PM
  • http://www.mises.org/story/1886 is an explanation that shows that ethanol actually makes the problem worse across the entire economy because it is more expensive overall than gasoline itself.

    The reason it costs less to the consumer is because ethanol production is subsidized, which means instead of the heavy gas users paying extra, everyone who pays taxes (or, really, everyone who accepts US dollars for their work since subsidies weaken the dollar) pays a little to those drivers for replacing a bit of their gas with ethanol.

    When ethanol is less expensive to produce than gasoline, there will be plenty of private corn farmers ready and willing to replace OPEC.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/04  at  01:50 PM
  • This is from an article knocking ethanol. http://www.showmenews.com/2004/Sep/20040928Busi001.asp. Read the last paragraph & do some reaerch on Iogen. Their blend is almost 20% more efficient, according to studies, & besides, the money would go to American farmers & not Venezuela or OPEC. Also, like it or not, the entire world is a capitalist society, less demand means less price, & I know China’s vehicle population is growing, but if there was more money invested in ethanol based farms (the farmers own ethanol farms) the cost of making ethanol would go down below $2.00 a gallon.

    Some critics contend ethanol is a bad deal for the public. It is most commonly made from corn through energy-intensive processing, and cars fueled by corn ethanol blends get worse mileage because it takes 1.5 gallons of ethanol to get the energy equivalent of 1 gallon of gasoline.

    The Renewable Fuels Association has cited on its Web site studies showing that, even though a 10 percent ethanol blend would contain about 3.4 percent less energy, it reduced gas mileage in cars fueled by it by only 2 percent.

    Groshen, of Minnesota’s agriculture department, said people don’t realize that gasoline is a combination of components, some of which have a very low energy level as well. For instance, gas sold in the winter generally contains 7 percent to 8 percent less energy than summer gas, he said.

    A study by David Pimentel of Cornell University found the cost of producing the amount of ethanol that would match the energy in a gallon of gasoline exceeds $2. The study also found 29 percent more energy goes into the production of ethanol than is released by its combustion.

    Other experts say the findings are questionable. Fruin of the University of Minnesota said the bottom line looks more positive after taking into account that a byproduct of ethanol production can be used as cattle feed. “The best studies show that you get from 1.3 to 1.7 times as much energy as goes into it,” Fruin said.

    Despite some of ethanol’s disadvantages, the federal government counts on it to become a major energy source in the coming decades.

    There is one small detail: The ethanol of the future would be made from agricultural plant waste, such as stalks, husks and grasses, not corn kernels. Radich said the so-called cellulosic ethanol is much more energy efficient than the corn type, and a Canadian firm called Iogen has already developed technology for its production.

    Posted by deminizer  on  10/04  at  02:07 PM
  • I guess the problem is that as long as it’s subsidized, there’s no easy way to tell whether or not it’s a good idea.  von Mises calls this the “calculation problem.”  Generally, subsidies are put in place because some part of the public thinks that forcing the other part to help pay for something is a good idea.  I can understand that position, although it is one I would never hold.

    Once the subsidy is in place, even when the industry it helps would survive without it (and grow healthier and stronger, having been freed from its crutch), the subsidy remains because it enriches most of the people who “have expert knowledge” and they claim it is required (whether the weak and healing leg needs the crutch or not, it will always be more comfortable with it).

    At that point, dividing out the effects of the subsidy (which transfers money from taxpayers and dollar users to those in the industry) from the effects of the industry itself is very difficult until the subsidy is removed.

    I guess that kind of explains why I would never hold the position that it’s a good idea to force anyone else to pay for something I think is good.  Force hides the truth about whether or not something is good.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/04  at  02:58 PM
  • Fuel has always been a problem. But history shows that man has a way of overcoming the problem. If petrol runs out, there will be something else to serve as fuel. But that does nto mean we should not conserve fuel. Your writing has a timely message.

    Posted by Dr George Karimalil  on  12/17  at  12:44 AM
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