Ethanol: Why We Are Screwed!

Have you ever wondered why you are getting fewer miles to the gallon; why your weed eater died three months out of the package; or why your new lawn mower engine is varnished to the point of no repair?  One word:  Ethanol (E10).  Tree hugging fantasies aside, ethanol is one of the worst nightmares ever shoved down the property preservationist’s throat!

Mileage.  We weren’t too sure about the statistics so I decided to try a tank of each.   On pure gas (18 gallons) we drove 383 miles.  On a tank of ethanol we drove 242 miles.   So, on pure gas we get 21.7 miles to the gallon.  On ethanol we get 13.4 miles to the gallon.  Sans the crap about controlled studies, weight differentials, and such  this test was conducted under real world conditions that a contractor faces everyday.

Cost at the Pump.  Pure gas runs $3.08 a gallon at Spring Hill Market in Knoxville, Tennessee.  E10 runs $3.05 at most Pilot stores.  So, we save a whopping 54 cents per tank.  The price is lower because of a 51 cent per gallon subsidy.  That, though, does not reflect the embeded price that you and I pay.  Doug Koplow, founder of the energy consulting firm Earth Track in Cambridge, MA, has calculated that the combination of tax credits, mandates, and tariffs will cost taxpayers $400 billion from 2008 through 2022, assuming that the mandated targets can be met. Eventually, 16 billion gallons are to come from cellulosic biofuels–yet not a drop of such fuels is now being commercially produced. If President Obama’s target becomes fact, the cumulative taxpayer cost of subsidizing biofuels will exceed $1 trillion by 2030.

Cost of Repairs.  This is up in the air as we NEVER run E10 in our equipment.

Cost at the Dinner Table.   In 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a record corn harvest of 13.2 billion bushels, 9 percent larger than the harvest of 2008. Ethanol production consumed more than a quarter of that crop–enough to feed 330 million people for a year, according to the Earth Policy Institute, an environmental organization in Washington, DC.

Why Force E10.  Money.  Yup, our illustrious government, Democrat and Republican alike, felt that the common man was not getting the shaft deep enough.  Take a read through of what  Henry Groppe, founder of Groppe, Long & Littell, an energy consulting firm in Houston had to say:

The big problem with ethanol is in the chemistry.  It takes more energy to make ethanol than the ethanol produces, he said.  Corn must be grown, fertilized and harvested, which takes oil-powered machinery.  It must be processed, refined and then shipped, which takes more oil.  You’re having to use as much oil to produce that gallon of ethanol as the energy that you produce from it.  If it weren’t for the subsidies, we wouldn’t be producing a gallon of ethanol in the U.S. today.

Either way, gasoline is far more efficient.  It is far more cost effective.  At the end of the day, Ethanol (E10) is simply yet another way for Beltway miscreants to force an out-of-touch reality upon the Average Joe!


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