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Corn Ethanol, good news or boondogle?

28 Jun

I started reading what I thought might be an interesting study published by the US Ag Department in 1995, the title of which is Estimating the Net Energy Balance of Corn Ethanol.  Unfortunately, I got stuck on the Summary with the statement “Each gallon of ethanol produced domestically displaces 7 gallons of imported oil.”  I could only find one result on a Google search for “How much oil does it take to make one gallon of gas?” and admittedly I prefer not to use a Wiki response, but what can I say.  According to, it takes 2 gallons of oil to produce one gallon of gas. 

So, it appears that one gallon of ethanol replaces 3.5 gallons of gasoline.  This makes ethanol 350% more effecient that gasoline, right?  And yet, the same study concludes (and disagrees with Pimental’s 1991 study) that one gallon of ethanol has 125% of the btu’s that gas has. 

I don’t get it.  Is the study contradicting itself? 

Interestingly, there is a link prominent in the study to Governor’s Ethanol Coalition Homepage that appears 15 times, once after each section of the study.  What is the Governor’s Ethanol Coalistion?  “In September 1991, Nebraska’s governor asked other governors interested in creating a group devoted to the promotion and increased use of ethanol to join him in Lincoln, Nebraska. From that meeting, the Governors’ Ethanol Coalition emerged.”  The 2008 Coalition Chair is Rod Blagojevich, D-Illinios Governer since 2002.  Here is his record on Energy Independence and Security.

So, what are we to make of this?  Another boondogle and the expense of the tax-payer, in my humble opinion.

America’s untapped oil

28 Jun

In a recent article at, Steven Hargreaves indicates that congressional democrats want to block additional oil leases in the gulf until oil companies have tapped out the existing leases.  However, and correct me if I am wrong, it is this same congress that does not want to remove the oil drilling embargo that has existed since the early 80’s to allow oil companies the ability to drill existing leases.  If I am wrong on this, I am willing to be corrected.

However, if I am not wrong, this is like saying to a child “No, you may not have ice cream until you have finished your cake.  What?  No you can’t have any cake, it’s not good for you!” 

Besides, and this is just my opinion, the gulf oil drilling issue is just a strawman to direct attention away from the oil shale that would fuel this country for 240 years.  Set up gulf shore oil drilling as a strawman, then knock it down by saying we should drill offshore so we must find alternative fuels, wind and solar power, bugs that poop oil, and corn ethanol that costs 1.29 gallons of gas for every one gallon of ethanol produced. 

I have been saying it for some time now- “Drill and Mine US Oil–Buy and Refine US Oil!”  This is how we will gain energy independence and security.