Monday, March 9, 2009

Vilsack recommends more pixie fairy dust to solve our problems

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack - the former Governor of Iowa has a great idea - the government should move quickly to increase the amount of ethanol allowed in gasoline.

Ah yes. The Ethanol Fallacy - most popular in heavy corn producing states - say for example... Iowa. Friggin Hawkeyes. Of course they grow a little corn down in Champaign-Urbana too. My father in law is from "downstate" and has given me a pretty good view on how much ethanol has meant to corn farmers in the midwest. Hint... "a lot". And who is from downstate Illinois? Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. Double Ethanol Whammy.

But it's not doing us any good. It feels good, but it's not.

Key quotes from the Popular Mechanics Op-Ed linked to above...

"Let’s start with the math. Corn doesn’t grow like a weed. Modern corn farming involves heavy inputs of nitrogen fertilizer (made with natural gas), applications of herbicides and other chemicals (made mostly from oil), heavy machinery (which runs on diesel) and transportation (diesel again). Converting the corn into fuel requires still more energy."

“Today, 1 Btu of fossil energy consumed in producing and delivering corn ethanol results in 1.3 Btu of usable energy in your fuel tank. Even that modest payback may be overstated. Skeptics cite the research of Cornell Uni¬versity professor David Pimentel, who estimates that it takes approximately 1.3 gal. of oil to produce a single gallon of ethanol."

"If the benefits are in doubt, the costs are not. It would take 450 pounds of corn to yield enough ethanol to fill the tank of an SUV. Producing enough ethanol to replace America’s imported oil alone would require putting nearly 900 million acres under cultivation—or roughly 95 percent of the active farmland in the country. Once we’ve turned our farms into filling stations, where will the food come from?"

Before I really get on my high horse about my former brethren in the midwest... the AP article continues... "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she also supports raising the cap after a separate speech to the group."


If the Obama administration allows us to go further down this dead end I'll be very disappointed and will await Vilsack to use his moxie to keep the Ag Subsidies afloat as well. Ugh.

1 comment:

velocycling said...

The more we feed our Cars (corn), the more we starve the world.