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  1. #1

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    Default Ethanol subsidies are over! YAY!

    http://www.autoblog.com/2011/06/17/s...nol-subsidies/

    I'm all for alternative fuels but not at the cost of our food supply. Especially when the alternative fuel is actually worse than the fuel it's replacing.

    Hopefully that E15 and E85 nonsense will end now too.
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    does anyone know what this will mean for the price of gas at the pump?
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    I just want them to go back to selling good old fashioned gasoline. Tired of paying retarded high prices for gas only to get lower MPG because of the ethanol content.
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    Didn't seem to really make a dent in the food supply. There's corn in everything and farmers are still barely making it without their own subsidies. I thought farm subsidies were to keep farmers afloat when they would otherwise not be able to make it because there's far less demand then supply. If that's the case, wouldn't corn EtOH be a good thing? Aside from the negative effects on a engine not made for it...
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    agreed.

    Cellulosic ethanol has always been a terrible idea that has only been perpetuated by lobbyists. Unless the crop is within 50 miles of the processing plant, it takes more energy to make the fuel than is available from it. After transport to a dispensary (gas station or otherwise), there is almost always a net energy loss.

    In the last 30 years the energy crisis has been solved several times over (in research). The reason they're not wholly implemented is multifaceted. The most troubling reasons, in my opinion, are: one, that they aren't conducive to current profit structures, and two, they aren't pollitical leverage. If the method is going to benefit a corporate bottom line or a politicians career, then it's just not going to happen.

    The state of both political lobbying and governmental regulation (namely the EPA) are the biggest obstructionists in the progression of energy development.
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    Maybe the subsidies are over because the govt. will require x % of ethanol in fuel so they no longer will need to help suport ethanol. Garuntee business instead of just paying for it and letting the american consumer decide.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Airplay355 View Post
    Didn't seem to really make a dent in the food supply. There's corn in everything and farmers are still barely making it without their own subsidies. I thought farm subsidies were to keep farmers afloat when they would otherwise not be able to make it because there's far less demand then supply. If that's the case, wouldn't corn EtOH be a good thing? Aside from the negative effects on a engine not made for it...
    There was a "dent" in the food supply. Corn prices shot up drastically when a good amount of the farmers who grow corn cashed in on the government subsidies and diverted their crops to fuel production.

    And no, corn based ethanol is not a good thing. The food is food, it can go to feed hungry people anywhere in the world. I would rather see excess grains be bought by the government for humanitarian relief than to see it turned in to ethyl-alcohol to fill up a car. On top of that, ethanol is a dirtier burning fuel than gasoline and you need more of it to do the same work as gasoline.

    About the only positive thing out of ethanol is that it helps reduce dependency on foreign oil. The cost is far too high to make that viable. And I'm not talking about financial costs either.
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    Plus, you have competition from sugar cane ethanol... so why subsidize it?

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    subsidies are implemented to do several things. Ultimately they are there to control/stabilize commodity prices, especially when talking about corn. We are the world's supplier of corn so we have a vested interest (in the Cranoan sense) in it's success. Corn is big business - nearly every bit as big as oil - and as such, there are very powerful people that are very interested in ensuring the the profitability of the product.
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    I still buy E85 if I'm close to the place that sells it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kuntasensei View Post
    I just want them to go back to selling good old fashioned gasoline. Tired of paying retarded high prices for gas only to get lower MPG because of the ethanol content.
    Yep!!!

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    I honestly didn't notice a change in corn prices because I always get it from a local farm where it's usually 3 ears for $1.

    Does that mean E10 is leaving too or are we still stuck with that?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuntasensei View Post
    Plus, you have competition from sugar cane ethanol... so why subsidize it?
    not in the US. You burn 3x as much much energy getting it here than you would have in the ethanol. Brazil is able to do this successfully due the ability to grow the plant close to numerous processing plants that are also very close to dispensaries. If I'm not mistaken theystill have to subsidize a bit of the opperation to control prices, but they are energy independent (virtually). They however are not strangling they're ability to extract and process crude oil, either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Airplay355 View Post
    I honestly didn't notice a change in corn prices because I always get it from a local farm where it's usually 3 ears for $1.

    Does that mean E10 is leaving too or are we still stuck with that?
    You honestly think the only corn a farmer sells is sweet corn to eat from his corner stand? I'll take it that you were making a joke.

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    Blame it on NASCAR they started using it to appear green, they use more in one race than most small towns use in a week. But, if it keeps my boys racin' I support it!!
    Huh? Wot?? Dig it :tongue:

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    No, I was saying I hadn't noticed a price increase because when I go to buy corn it's from the little farm stand where the only corn sold is from the farm stand. How do I know? Well, you can't really grow THAT much corn on an acre or two anyway. I recognize that corn goes into a lot of products and will increase their prices, I was just admitting my own ignorance about the subject.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Airplay355 View Post
    I honestly didn't notice a change in corn prices because I always get it from a local farm where it's usually 3 ears for $1.
    Dang price of corn has gone up that much? I remember when you could get a bakers dozen for $1.00

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    The other part of the bill passed related to killing the tariff on Brazilian ethanol imports. It was 47 cents a gallon or something. You'll still see E90 and E85. Actually the change could help our food exports to trim the imbalance. Why do you think the Man went to Brazil?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Airplay355 View Post
    No, I was saying I hadn't noticed a price increase because when I go to buy corn it's from the little farm stand where the only corn sold is from the farm stand. How do I know? Well, you can't really grow THAT much corn on an acre or two anyway. I recognize that corn goes into a lot of products and will increase their prices, I was just admitting my own ignorance about the subject.

    Field corn isn't for people to eat. It's ground up for cattle.
    The path to the food supply is via meat. It's also used for
    bio-degradable plastics.
    The price is too high, but it most likely won't stay that way.
    An acre or two? Ever been to Iowa?
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  20. #20

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    Nope, never been to Iowa lol. I'm in southern Maine right now and originally from southern NY. I'm willing to bet some of you have seen more corn on one field than I've seen in my entire life.
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    They never could get the process down to ratio out right. It costs more energy to produce it than it could output.

    It actually degrades performance, as ethanol absorbs water that retards combustion and cuts into the efficeincy of the process.

    I don't think this will be the end of ethanol, though...
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    I may have misread the article, but I read
    "The ethanol-related amendment that passed on Thursday will be tacked on to an economic development bill, which will likely face a tough battle in the Senate."

    So, if the bill doesn't pass, business as usual
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  23. #23

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    Now if we can just get rid of the oil subsidies. I mean, when the oil companies are making 10s of billions in profits, I'm pretty sure they don't need help from US taxpayers, despite what their multi-million dollar lobyists say.
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  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by amulford View Post
    They never could get the process down to ratio out right. It costs more energy to produce it than it could output.

    It actually degrades performance, as ethanol absorbs water that retards combustion and cuts into the efficeincy of the process.

    I don't think this will be the end of ethanol, though...
    No, probably not but at least we won't be using tax dollars to prop up the market anymore. If they want to sell ethanol and be competitive, they have to find a way.

    Besides, as a fuel, ethanol sucks.

    We should be sinking money in to hydrogen either as a direct combustion fuel or a fuel cell fuel. It's about as clean as clean gets. Spits out water and minuscule amounts of other stuff, has as similar power to gasoline and it's far more abundant than any oil reserves, any where.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevhed72 View Post
    I may have misread the article, but I read
    "The ethanol-related amendment that passed on Thursday will be tacked on to an economic development bill, which will likely face a tough battle in the Senate."

    So, if the bill doesn't pass, business as usual
    Um...you read it wrong.

    "On Thursday, the Senate approved an amendment that could wipe out billions of dollars earmarked for the ethanol industry by voting 73-in-favor, 27-against. The amendment, if passed into law, will eliminate the 45-cent-a-gallon subsidy that the U.S. government hands out to producers of the corn-based fuel. The ethanol-related amendment that passed on Thursday will be tacked on to an economic development bill, which will likely face a tough battle in the Senate.

    Turning our attention back to that failed amendment on Tuesday, though similar, it's not identical to amendment that passed through the Senate on Thursday.

    On a related note, the House of Representatives voted 283-in favor, 128-against to ban the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) from dishing out funds to support the installation of E85 pumps at gas stations across the U.S.
    [Source: The New York Times | Images: Jan Tik via CC 2.0]"

    Two different amendments passed with overwhelming majority.

    Yes, there is still more stuff to do to end the subsidies completely but with a majority like that, it appears that it's now only a matter of time and the lobbyists are ineffective.

    I'm all for supporting alternative fuels. But I'm not willing to pay to make things cheaper and I certainly don't want to pay for the infrastructure for a fuel that fails so miserably at what it's supposed to be good at.

    If somebody wants money to fund research to find out how far we can go with Ethanol, I'm all for it. Give 'em every penny they need. Otherwise, if you think ethanol is the way of the future and you think you can make a profit then you need to find tech that works cheaply, make the product, raise the capital to sell and distribute and then make a profit. That means, go buy your raw materials at market value like everyone else and stop stickin' your hand out for a slice of gubment cheese.

    If you're desperate for cash, might I suggest:

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    Just open the doors to Brazilian ethanol. They have been threatening to take the US to the world court about this.

    Watch the price of orange juice and sugar go up as Brazilian agricultural production swings back to making ethanol.

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    Over?

    As it stands today they're unlikely to pass this in the House of Representatives and the CiF would likely veto it if it ever got to his desk.

    Calling victory when the pro-ethanol crowd (on both sides) is still winning is a bit of a premature ejaculation.

    The good news is that the desire to end this garbage fuel subsidy where nearly every nickel of a gallon of gas is paid for by the U.S. taxpayer is a largely bipartisan one, granted for two totally different reasons.

    It's going to take more politicians losing their jobs and being replaced by those who wish to reign in spending before stuff like this truly goes away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jstas View Post
    No, probably not but at least we won't be using tax dollars to prop up the market anymore. If they want to sell ethanol and be competitive, they have to find a way.

    Besides, as a fuel, ethanol sucks.

    We should be sinking money in to hydrogen either as a direct combustion fuel or a fuel cell fuel. It's about as clean as clean gets. Spits out water and minuscule amounts of other stuff, has as similar power to gasoline and it's far more abundant than any oil reserves, any where.
    Except that producing hydrogen takes a lot of energy, and you still have to transport and store it. It's the transport and storing that are really tough. Creating hydrogen isn't easy either, though. Most methods either need a *lot* of electricity (electrolysis), or by steam reforming of hydrocarbons. Because it's the smallest atom there is, hydrogen will leak out of almost anything you put it in like crazy. Storing it in fuel cells is easier because the hydrogen bonds to the electrolyte, which prevents it from just leaking out. So we're a long way from anything like a hydrogen economy. And that was the advantage of ethanol. After production issues, the same transport and storage network that's currently used for petrochemical based fules could be used for ethanol. Nearly every gasoline engine can burn ethanol as well, just by adjusting the fuel/air mix.

    So the catch-22 we're back to with ethanol is that, while we could probably get an ethanol and biodiesal economy up and running a lot faster than a hydrogen economy, currently, there's not much money in ethanol without the subsidies. Because there's not a lot of money in it currently, no one is willing to make the inventments that need to be made. But the same time, we give the poor, but wildly profitable, oil companies billions in subsidies every year because, you know, otherwise they wouldn't bother to look for more oil. Because it wouldn't be profitable. Or so they say.

    The best current option would be the end the oil company subsidies and start setting the price based on the real cost of using hydrocarbons for energy, which would include a carbon tax. If a realistic level was set, a lot of other forms of energy would suddenly become much more competitive. But intead, we choose to hold the costs of hydrocarbon based energy sources artificially low. For, I don't know, great freedom and justice... or is that it tastes like freedom? I can't keep the story straight any more.
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    Quote Originally Posted by quadzilla View Post
    But the same time, we give the poor, but wildly profitable, oil companies billions in subsidies every year ...
    Can you tell me exactly and precisely what these subsides are?

    You do realize more energy goes into ethanol than comes out of it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Demiurge View Post
    It's going to take more politicians losing their jobs and being replaced by those who wish to reign in spending before stuff like this truly goes away.
    The grasp of macro-economics is not your strong suit. But don't feel bad. It's not the strong suit of an entire political party so you have a lot of company.

    Cutting government investment and spending during a slow period is about the dumbest thing you can do. After all, if private spending is down, then someone needs to be spending to get things moving. Not to mention that doing things like creating public-works projects causes money to go to *private* companies, which then hire people to do the work, who then spend the money, thus providing a stimulative effect. It's also a good time to invest in education and research in order to get people with the skills needed for the next wave of innovation, which will provide further stimulative effects down the road to keep things rolling.

    After all, right now, borrowing by issuing debt for the US GOV is really cheap right now. Yes, the deficit will be a problem. Yes, we need to spend carefully and make smart decisions. But taking the path of ZOMGTEHDEBTZISHUGINORMORZ is not the smart play, since the deficit is not our *biggest* problem right now. This is especially true when all the proposals being thrown out by a certain US political party are fairly transparently obviously designed to further concentrate wealth into the hands of the top 5% of eaners while further reducing the share of wealth held by the middle and lower 95% of the rest of us.
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