The Last Capitalist

A site dedicated to restoring individualism in the United States of America

Let’s Be Clear On Ethanol

Posted by jemartynowski on July 9, 2008

It has come to my attention that the American people need a little education when it comes to alternative fuel sources.  During recent debates I’ve had with friends and colleagues, I noticed a strange misconception from most everyone:  They all believe that corn ethanol is a great alternative to oil and is being blocked by big oil and Republicans.

The fact that this is the basis for all of the expensive gas debates that are going on means you cannot have a good debate about the situation.  See, there are assumptions here that are completely off the mark, thereby ruining a logical discussion.  Let’s take both of these points and break them down with thinking and logic.

1.  Ethanol is a great alternative to gasoline. 
Well, it could be, depending on the details. The first problem with this assumption is that everyone buys into Barack Obama and friends with their corn-based ethanol.  (Let’s get this out of the way:  Obama has friends in the Corn-based, domestic ethanol industry who give him much, including advice.  Don’t listen to one thing he says about it.)  Corn-based ethanol is not as cheap as we’d like to think.  Corn prices have basically been rising in conjunction with oil prices because of the ethanol craze causing our food costs to go up.  Plus, the only way these corporations can create ethanol at all is the multibillion-dollar annual government subsidies they receive.  Obama, who favors more of these subsidies for his friends’ companies, doesn’t tell you that much of that money goes right back into the pockets of those oil companies he claims to oppose.  McCain, on the other hand, favors free markets which means eliminating the subsidies and the $.54/gallon tariffs on foreign ethanol made from sugar.  Which brings us to…

2.  Ethanol is being blocked by big oil and Republicans who are in their pocket.
As previously mentioned, McCain is actually pushing for the sugar-based ethanol, mostly imported from Brazil, to be more easily available here in the United States.  The first of two main reasons for this is that it would be cheaper.  Eliminating the tariffs would drop the price of this fuel source by $.54/gallon for us.  Plus, the subsidies for corn-based ethanol would no longer have to be funded by us, the taxpayers.  The second reason is that ethanol made from sugar is much more efficient than it’s corn-based counterpart.  Ethanol from corn produces less than two units of energy for every one unit put into making it, whereas the energy ratio for sugar cane is more than eight to one.  Imagine the drop in energy costs if we were able to import this cheaper fuel source on a large scale.

Remember these main points when ignorant Socialists try to argue the energy issue with you.  There is no logical argument against facts.  As a matter of fact, the only point Obama has made is that he wants to get Midwesterners to develop a new source for ethanol, switchgrass.  However, since corn is so expensive, farmers won’t change what they’re growing for something less profitable.  Unless Obama wants the government to start telling us what we can and can’t plant and sell…

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