Imperfect Weather: Ethanol Industry to Stay Propped Up by Renewable Fuels Standard?

June 27, 2008 at 4:21 pm 3 comments

Michelle Perez, senior agriculture analyst with the Environmental Working Group in Washington claims “Our ethanol policy requires perfect weather, and not surprisingly, we aren’t getting it.”

Corn prices closed at $7.91 per bushel on June 13, 2008.

The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) mandates 9 billion gallons of ethanol production this year, boosted to 10.5 billion gallons in 2009 and increasing to 15 billion gallons by 2015.
Corn Chart

On June 30, the U.S.D.A. will release a corn crop assessment for 2008.

What do you think of the RFS?

Is corn ethanol all that?

Two studies released recently show that federal ethanol mandates have placed significant pressure on food prices, while any effect on gasoline prices has been “almost too small to measure.”

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Phil Waste  |  June 27, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    E85 ethanol ready cars have been produced in the US for years now but we still have no E85 pumps at our services stations. Where they do have the E85 pumps ethanol runs about $2.35 per gallon.

    Ethanol made from sugar cane and sugar beets is 7 times more efficient than ethanol made from corn and won’t affect the food supply. Sugar beets can be grown damn near everywhere while sugar cane can be grown in the southern states.

    You have got to stop listening to the oil companies as they have screwed everything up for years now…… The oil companies own the White House and Congress. Who in the hell do you think choose ‘CORN’ to make ethanol out of which was doomed to failure even before they began. Who do you think put a tariff on imported ethanol?

    Oil companies have no solutions but to drill more, true energy independence will not involve oil companies. You have got to stop listening to the oil companies as they have screwed everything up……

    The solution to energy independence is ethanol and E85 fuel which our cars can burn right now! It is renewable, Right Now!!!! If something comes up later fine but right now the answer is E85 ethanol.

    Removing the tariff from imported ethanol would give us access to cheap ethanol.

    You have got to stop listening to the oil companies as they have screwed everything up……

    The truth is available in Brazil; they have been using E85. Check it out for yourself….

    Don’t you find it ironic that the White House and Congress along with the oil companies still want to send more and more of our cash over to the Middle East to support our sworn enemies, the terrorists? What the hell is that all about?

    Ford and Chevy are taking a beating so why don’t they use their heads and put E85 fuel pumps at their dealerships and push that their cars will run on 85% ethanol.

    How about importing small Ford and Chevy cars from Europe that get much more mileage than our local huge pieces of steel.

  • 2. Joe Lovshe  |  June 28, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    There is a hidden proponent of Ethanol in the form of the car companies. The auto industry has to meet CAFÉ standards which require that all cars meet an average fuel economy of 27 mpg. As you know the big 3 have a love for the gas guzzler SUV. Rather than be dragged down by a 10 mpg Escalade they are able to use an E85 loophole. As the law reads an E85 vehicle (regardless of whether it ever uses it) is only counted for the amount of gasoline used (15%). If you divide 100% E85 by 15 you get a multiplier of 6.66 meaning that the 10 mpg Escalade is given credit for 66.6 mpg. If 5 out of every six auto companies vehicles averaged 20 mpg and 1 out of six were the escalade they would be credited as averaging 27.66 mpg while not one of the vehicles met the standard.

  • 3. iowan  |  June 29, 2008 at 11:49 am

    So do we relax the RFS as it applies to corn?

    Phil says Big Oil is to blame, Joe sees Big 3 Auto as the problem.

    Did Big oil really choose corn as the ethanol production mode?
    Do you have any citations for that Phil?

    Would Joe favor ethanol if it used algae or sugar beets (or, in the future, cellulose)?


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