End of the line for ethanol?

posted at 2:15 pm on November 30, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Has the federal government’s appetite for ethanol ended?  A bipartisan group of Senators signed a letter today calling for an end to subsidies and tariffs designed to protect and enhance domestic production of ethanol, which has been until recently the darling of the alternative-energy movement.  In a sign of how far ethanol subsidies have fallen from favor, the letter addressed to both Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell has the signatures of such liberal luminaries as Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, and the newly-elected Chris Coons:

In a clear sign of momentum against ethanol subsidies, a bipartisan group of more than a dozen senators has signed onto a letter urging Senate leaders to let the subsidies expire during this Congress, a move that could put many officials in a tricky political spot and could even have ramifications for the 2012 presidential race.

The letter, which I obtained from a source, was authored by senators Dianne Feinstein and Jon Kyl, and includes a number of Democrats and Republicans, including John McCain, Susan Collins, Richard Burr, and Mike Enzi. This is key, because the question of whether the subsidies should expire is emerging as a key test — just like earmarks — of whether Republicans are serious about reining in spending and the deficit.

While this issue could divide Dems along regional lines, it’s more directly relevant to the GOP. With leading GOP senators now coming out for letting the subsidies expire, this could up the pressure on Republican senators who backed the subsidies in the past, such as Chuck Grassley and Orrin Hatch, putting them on the wrong side of what may emerge as a key litmus test for the Tea Party and potentially dividing the GOP caucus.

Greg Sargent misses the significance of Boxer’s name on this list.  Boxer has a cap-and-trade bill stalled in the Senate, earlier versions of which relied on ethanol to meet its goals.  The ethanol subsidies allowed Midwest farmers to have some buy-in for a bill that would otherwise levy some significant costs on agriculture.  This more or less puts an end to that support, which means that Boxer has acknowledged the death of cap-and-trade.

Will this divide the GOP?  It will make for some contentious discussions on agricultural policy, no doubt, especially in the House where the GOP picked up a number of seats.  But it’s just as likely to hurt Democrats in the Senate, especially those running for 2012 re-elections from ag-heavy states.  Ben Nelson of Nebraska is the obvious incumbent for the hot seat, but Jon Tester in Montana and Mark Pryor in Arkansas also will have to answer for it.

It may, however, have some impact on the 2012 presidential nomination race, which starts in Iowa — the heart of corn country.  It’s not necessary for a GOP candidate to win Iowa in order to win the nomination — Mike Huckabee won it last year and finished a distant third — but it’s usually necessary for a candidate to do well in the caucuses.  Tea Party activists will see an end to subsidies as a success, but will GOP presidential candidates start pandering to corn farmers in Iowa to gain an advantage in the first round of the nominating process?  That may well be a good test for the sincerity of those candidates running as small-government conservatives.

The letter makes clear just how much the government has intervened to coddle ethanol production:

Historically, our government has helped a product compete in one of three ways: subsidize it, protect it from competition, or require its use.  We understand that ethanol may be the only product receiving all three forms of support from the US government at this time.

It’s long past time for those efforts to cease.  Converting food to fuel not only doesn’t work as a replacement for gasoline, it expands starvation by artificially inflating corn prices and making it more difficult to purchase.  This letter might be the first step in dismantling an expensive and ongoing failure.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3 5

Good thing they don’t grow much corn in Alaska.

forest on November 30, 2010 at 2:19 PM

The GOP will have to stand on principles – “global warming” is a hoax, subsidizing ethanol in the age of the impending bankruptcy of the republic is unsustainable.

Rebar on November 30, 2010 at 2:20 PM

God I hope so, it’s just plain stupid to use food for fuel.

If the government would free our own abundant resources we could even stop buying foreign oil.

darwin on November 30, 2010 at 2:22 PM

Geez, that only took them… *years* to figure out.

Midas on November 30, 2010 at 2:22 PM

It’s about time!

I’m not against ethanol, or some form of it at least, and understandably the technology and process will become more efficient over time. But it should stand or fall on its own merits, not because some vote-buying pols decide to pick it as the winner.

JamesLee on November 30, 2010 at 2:22 PM

PLEASE!
I am tired of the govt’s manipulation of the cattle prices.
I am also tired of tax dollars going to a wasteful practice to make a bunch of farmers happy.
Also-does anyone realize that ethanol is harmful to some engines?
Small engines suffer from blends higher than 15% I believe.
Where is the research on effects of long term use in modern auto engines from the use of ethanol?
Ethanol cannot support itself.
This is why the ethanol plant in Richardton ND will probably close.
They have been receiving tax dollars to prop themselves up!

Badger40 on November 30, 2010 at 2:22 PM

Has Palin or Romney taken a position on this?

Mark1971 on November 30, 2010 at 2:22 PM

It’ll be a tough sell for candidates moving through the Iowa caucus process. It’s the right thing to do though.

IronDioPriest on November 30, 2010 at 2:22 PM

Awesome. Corn is meant to be eaten, not to fuel my Camry.

OmahaConservative on November 30, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Ed,

how about a post on S 510. you know the entire freaking federal takeover of the agro business in the USA. s 510 makes Obamacare appear sane. Yuo don’t need helthcare daily but you need food every day. ehtanol will be the least of our problems with food prices after S 510 is signed into law.

unseen on November 30, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Food for Fuel. What’s the sense in driving a car when you’re starving. Ethanol also screws up small engines, like boats, lawn and garden equipment.

The only ethanol I like comes in a mason jar for sipping.

Kini on November 30, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Converting food to fuel not only doesn’t work as a replacement for gasoline, it expands starvation by artificially inflating corn prices and making it more difficult to purchase

Will you please stop spouting “food to fuel” nonsense?

This is not Africa, Americans are not starving because some of our bounteous harvests of corn are being turned into ethanol.

Dark-Star on November 30, 2010 at 2:23 PM

I wonder if the senators are starting to actually read the scientific reports on the scam of ethanol as an alternate fuel source.

belad on November 30, 2010 at 2:24 PM

What, no more subsidizing turning our food into fuel? Has a breath of common sense wafted across DC?

As for the Iowa farmers, just tell them we appreciate all the corn, we just want it used for fuel for our bodies, not fuel for our cars.

rbj on November 30, 2010 at 2:25 PM

s 510 will put the small farmer out if business, food and food production will be controlled from DC. what could go wrong? Why is starvation always the end result of liberalism/marxism?

unseen on November 30, 2010 at 2:26 PM

ehtanol will be the least of our problems with food prices after S 510 is signed into law.

unseen on November 30, 2010 at 2:23 PM

I have to second that. Another good intentions bill that makes Monsanto richer, while the bureaucracy created will increase food prices.

We’re an island of small farms, this will kill local farm markets.

Kini on November 30, 2010 at 2:26 PM

Waiting for Warren Buffet to weigh in…

Otis B on November 30, 2010 at 2:26 PM

Will 15% ethanol gasoline go down at the same time?
My tiny outboard motor and old cars really want a “yes”!

tomg51 on November 30, 2010 at 2:27 PM

“expensive and ongoing failure”?

Yes, but this is only ONE of many.

Opposite Day on November 30, 2010 at 2:27 PM

If they were serious about ethanol, they would be using sugarcane or switchgrass to produce it.

Corn is for people and animals, not cars.

Dominion on November 30, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Go Algae!

fourdeucer on November 30, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Awesome. Corn is meant to be eaten, not to fuel my Camry.

OmahaConservative on November 30, 2010 at 2:23 PM

eaten by cows so I can enjoy more delicious red meat!

WashJeff on November 30, 2010 at 2:28 PM

The federal government should not have a ‘farming policy’: the Dept. of Agriculture encouraged inappropriate farming techniques in the 19th century that gave us the Dustbowl. Then they got lots more money to ‘improve’ things to solve the problem they encouraged.

Congresscritters tried to ‘save’ the family farm by the Dept. of Agriculture, and yet it now hands out huge subsidies to Big Agribusiness and the family farm is nearly extinct.

Such great policies!

Can we get the federal government out of this because farmers may just figure out how to farm at a profit a bit better than graft-ridden politicians?

ajacksonian on November 30, 2010 at 2:29 PM

Ah, we’ve now saved the rain forests(old definition:jungle) from being cut down to eco-crap ethanol products, no more stealing potential crops to feed people, more corn means more pork, cheaper protein for the poor.

Don L on November 30, 2010 at 2:29 PM

Well crap, and here I was looking forward to vandalizing my own boat by replacing its fiberglass fuel tank with something else.

Bishop on November 30, 2010 at 2:30 PM

From the article;

In it, the then US ambassador to Brazil, Clifford Sobel, informed Washington that the police often arrested individuals with links to terrorism but charged them with drugs or customs offences so as not attract media attention.

Profiles in courage.

Didn’t want media attention… riiiiight.

reaganaut on November 30, 2010 at 2:31 PM

Will you please stop spouting “food to fuel” nonsense?

This is not Africa, Americans are not starving because some of our bounteous harvests of corn are being turned into ethanol.

Dark-Star on November 30, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Are you nuts? Feed for cattle has gone up because of ethanol. In turn meat prices have risen. All corn based food products have gone up in price. We sell much of our corn to feed nations such as Africa and if growers make more money making ethanol who do you thinks gets screwed?

darwin on November 30, 2010 at 2:31 PM

There are 13 ethanol plants here in Indiana. What’s going to happen to all those people who depend on the clean, green energy? Oh Well, We still have all those windmills.

Tommy_G on November 30, 2010 at 2:31 PM

Good thing they don’t grow much corn in Alaska.

forest on November 30, 2010 at 2:19 PM

I really wish people would think before they speak.

BTW, we have had ethonal in out gasoline for decades. And that corn was grown in Fairbanks.

upinak on November 30, 2010 at 2:32 PM

reaganaut on November 30, 2010 at 2:31 PM

What the? How did that end up here?

…….

reaganaut on November 30, 2010 at 2:32 PM

We’re an island of small farms, this will kill local farm markets.

Kini on November 30, 2010 at 2:26 PM

All top level control tries to destroy the small farmer. Once they control the food supply they control you. Next up collective farms. Stock up on food guys within 5 year we will have famines.

unseen on November 30, 2010 at 2:32 PM

Go Algae!

fourdeucer on November 30, 2010 at 2:28 PM

try again. Algae only works in warm areas. So north of maybe Kentuky may be able to use it year round.

upinak on November 30, 2010 at 2:34 PM

Even Gore isn’t an idiot on this issue any longer:

“It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol.” – Al Gore

theperfecteconomist on November 30, 2010 at 2:34 PM

Will you please stop spouting “food to fuel” nonsense?

This is not Africa, Americans are not starving because some of our bounteous harvests of corn are being turned into ethanol.

Dark-Star on November 30, 2010 at 2:23 PM

What part of artificial market manipulation don’t you understand?

a capella on November 30, 2010 at 2:34 PM

This South Dakota native will believe this when he sees it, especially since at least two potential GOP nominees hail from neighboring SD and MN. And maybe not even then.

IDK if Sarah Palin can do this, but someone needs to ask those Iowegians a tough question: Are you really that well off economically with corn going to ethanol? Good grief, there’s enough markets for corn globally to avoid such waste.

BradSchwartze on November 30, 2010 at 2:34 PM

Someone needs to figure out a way to make fuel from Soylent Green. Imagine the nice intersection of ObamaCare with the alternative fuel industry: The government could build retirement homes attached to refineries. Win-win.

Bishop on November 30, 2010 at 2:36 PM

Kini@2:26,
Speaking of monsanto, guess who has gobs of stock shares in that company?

Here is the Link to Monsanto -
http://www.monsanto.com/investors/Pages/ownership-profile.aspx

Soros Fund Management, L.L.C. Shares owned= 6,522,804

This really really nasty dude has his slimy fingers in everything in our Republic.
L

letget on November 30, 2010 at 2:36 PM

What part of artificial market manipulation don’t you understand?

a capella on November 30, 2010 at 2:34 PM

If you want to make economic arguments against the subsidies for corn-based ethanol, be my guest. There are PLENTY of valid reasons to end it. For example, as Dominion already said, sugarcane or switchgrass would be a far better way to make the stuff.

darwin on November 30, 2010 at 2:31 PM

In a nation that has a problem with it’s poor getting too fat, I think I can safely say there is no shortage of food.

If you want to talk about exports to foreign nations (such as the resource black hole of Africa), that’s a whole different ballgame.

Dark-Star on November 30, 2010 at 2:38 PM

I have to second that. Another good intentions bill that makes Monsanto richer, while the bureaucracy created will increase food prices.

We’re an island of small farms, this will kill local farm markets.

Kini on November 30, 2010 at 2:26 PM

I thought the senate tacked on an amendment that would exempt farmers markets, etc. This of course will require a new vote in the House.

Mini-14 on November 30, 2010 at 2:38 PM

Is HA acting up or is it just me?

upinak on November 30, 2010 at 2:38 PM

I have family that farms, and never take subsidies. Farmers who do take them, tend to live beyond their means, and when that well dries up…then what?

Fair market prices are right, and just, but subsidizing farmers to grow something, at the expense of tax payers, is wrong.

capejasmine on November 30, 2010 at 2:39 PM

Total loss to the US economy of wasted work, time, energy, water, other resources, plus contaminated run-off, and lost opportunity to have done something better of the ethanol debacle – priceless. Send the bill to AlGore anyway.
Algae is tremendously worse, btw.
Sugar cane runs into trade agreement problems (Brazil, I think)

tomg51 on November 30, 2010 at 2:39 PM

Good litmus test for the candidates in the Iowa primary. A simple yes/no type question.

a capella on November 30, 2010 at 2:40 PM

All top level control tries to destroy the small farmer. Once they control the food supply they control you. Next up collective farms. Stock up on food guys within 5 year we will have famines.

unseen on November 30, 2010 at 2:32 PM

guns are next.. not seeds. Executives need to eat too.

upinak on November 30, 2010 at 2:40 PM

WashJeff on November 30, 2010 at 2:28 PM

yep…

OmahaConservative on November 30, 2010 at 2:41 PM

Farmers continue to grow too much corn because the Corn Lobby continues to find markets for it.

A large part of our health care problem comes from too much consumption of sweet grains, chiefly corn.

But as a conservative, I believe a farmer has a right to grow, and a consumer has a right to eat, whatever they want, so long as they don’t stick me with the bill for it later. But neither should we fund pork programs encouraging farmers to grow a crop that is not nearly as beneficial as some others may be.

In a localized economy, if the people of a town demonstrate a demand for more less-fattening grains and more leafy vegetables, growers would respond by growing those. However, those are far more labor-intensive, would require significant capital re-investment, and would therefore command far higher food prices at the retail end because of it.

Ending ethanol subsidies is a great first step back from going down the wrong road both with our energy policy and our market interventions that prevent alternative grain production.

rwenger43 on November 30, 2010 at 2:41 PM

The cold will finish it off. Food crops don’t like cold.

tarpon on November 30, 2010 at 2:41 PM

Is HA acting up or is it just me?

upinak on November 30, 2010 at 2:38 PM

None of us has really good behavior.

pedestrian on November 30, 2010 at 2:41 PM

Wonder what Sen. Mike Johanns thinks about this?

OmahaConservative on November 30, 2010 at 2:42 PM

guns are next.. not seeds. Executives need to eat too.

upinak on November 30, 2010 at 2:40 PM

Also, it’s much cheaper and easier to control a fat and happy populace than a desperate and starving one.

Dark-Star on November 30, 2010 at 2:43 PM

I wonder if the senators are starting to actually read the scientific reports on the scam of ethanol as an alternate fuel source.
belad on November 30, 2010 at 2:24 PM

They’ve beaten all they can get out of that horse. It’s a dead hoax. They’re moving on to newer scams.

Feedie on November 30, 2010 at 2:43 PM

Farmers continue to grow too much corn because the Corn Lobby continues to find markets for it.
rwenger43 on November 30, 2010 at 2:41 PM

well since corn is in just about everything, besides gasoline, it would be prudent to over produce…

upinak on November 30, 2010 at 2:44 PM

Will you please stop spouting “food to fuel” nonsense?

This is not Africa, Americans are not starving because some of our bounteous harvests of corn are being turned into ethanol.

Dark-Star on November 30, 2010 at 2:23 PM
Are you nuts? Feed for cattle has gone up because of ethanol. In turn meat prices have risen. All corn based food products have gone up in price. We sell much of our corn to feed nations such as Africa and if growers make more money making ethanol who do you thinks gets screwed?

darwin on November 30, 2010 at 2:31 PM

And in turn, feeders have a tighter profit margin, which in turn, means they pay less for my calves.
So my husband & I have been getting screwed by this.
I want it to stop.

how about a post on S 510. you know the entire freaking federal takeover of the agro business in the USA. s 510 makes Obamacare appear sane. Yuo don’t need helthcare daily but you need food every day. ehtanol will be the least of our problems with food prices after S 510 is signed into law.

unseen on November 30, 2010 at 2:23 PM

If the USDA can’t do it’s job NOW, there is no way this will be good.

Badger40 on November 30, 2010 at 2:45 PM

Also, it’s much cheaper and easier to control a fat and happy populace than a desperate and starving one.

Dark-Star on November 30, 2010 at 2:43 PM

exactly … this isn’t Russia, yet. You make emm fat.. they don’t have a desire to do anything. Than you starve them into submission.

Russia has been doing that since Ivan the Terrible, and before him.

upinak on November 30, 2010 at 2:46 PM

Are you nuts? Feed for cattle has gone up because of ethanol. In turn meat prices have risen. All corn based food products have gone up in price. We sell much of our corn to feed nations such as Africa and if growers make more money making ethanol who do you thinks gets screwed?

darwin on November 30, 2010 at 2:31 PM

And in turn, feeders have a tighter profit margin, which in turn, means they pay less for my calves.
So my husband & I have been getting screwed by this.
I want it to stop.

Please notice that I already said:

If you want to make economic arguments against the subsidies for corn-based ethanol, be my guest. There are PLENTY of valid reasons to end it.

Dark-Star on November 30, 2010 at 2:38 PM

Dark-Star on November 30, 2010 at 2:48 PM

If the USDA can’t do it’s job NOW, there is no way this will be good.

Badger40 on November 30, 2010 at 2:45 PM

they never really did do the job. Anytime they checked a cow or meat animal for testing via blood, it was sent to the FDA.

And now with the overhauling of FDA and whatever food safety plans… it is going to be interesting to see what is going to be “banned” or watched. Time to grow and make your own food again.

upinak on November 30, 2010 at 2:49 PM

Will you please stop spouting “food to fuel” nonsense?

This is not Africa, Americans are not starving because some of our bounteous harvests of corn are being turned into ethanol.

Dark-Star on November 30, 2010 at 2:23 PM

You are correct. Americans are not starving due to this subsidy – just people in third world countries.

Vashta.Nerada on November 30, 2010 at 2:50 PM

Don’t burn food… ever…

see Maslow’s hierarchy of needs…

phreshone on November 30, 2010 at 2:51 PM

I really wish people would think before they speak.

BTW, we have had ethonal in out gasoline for decades. And that corn was grown in Fairbanks.

upinak on November 30, 2010 at 2:32 PM

Is that you, upinak?

By the way, I’ve got several mysterious pop-ups floating around, today only. If that’s what you mean by ‘HA acting up’, mine is, too.

rwenger43 on November 30, 2010 at 2:52 PM

you know… this is kind of like Hubble Telescope.

If you don’t know how they grease the inside for the mechanical parts… just ask Japan about the whale oil they send. Even though whale oil was banned for decades.

upinak on November 30, 2010 at 2:54 PM

Iowa grows corn, but it also raises hogs. (I had a load of construction materials to be delivered in northwest Iowa–smelled like pig poop money everywhere. There were more combines than trucks at the truck stop.)

Hog producers will welcome the relief. And with bacon at $5-6.00 a lb, so will I.

It’s a small crack in the welare mentality, but it’s is a start.

davidk on November 30, 2010 at 2:55 PM

You are correct. Americans are not starving due to this subsidy – just people in third world countries.

Vashta.Nerada on November 30, 2010 at 2:50 PM

The poor we shall always have with us.

Dark-Star on November 30, 2010 at 2:55 PM

I am an Iowan.
I own ethanol stock, by inheritance.
I was against ethanol subsidies from day one, even wrote editorials on it in my local paper.
This is what happens when Gov’t meddles.
People act upon gov’t meddling and then gov’t changes the rules and people get hurt.
Ethanol should not be made from YELLOW corn or beans rather if it is to be made should be from switch grasses or corn stocks.
Gov’t should not have to subsidize anything, and I betcha Sarah would agree that the free market needs to rule without govt mandates.
Shut down the Ag. dept.., shut down Fannie and Freddie, shut down EPA the NEA, stop subsidies to NPR, repeal Obamacare, and stop s510.
The Feds by promoting Big banks, Big Auto, Big corporate Farms, Big Investment firms over the small businesses will consolidate their control of above the entities and finish their march to socialism when they nationalize the few Corporations left standing!
Gov’t should not pick winners and losers the market should be free to promote free and fair competition and prices.

dhunter on November 30, 2010 at 2:55 PM

rwenger43 on November 30, 2010 at 2:52 PM

I am using Firefox with AdBlockerPlus and am not having any problems. What browser are you using?

OmahaConservative on November 30, 2010 at 2:56 PM

Is that you, upinak?
rwenger43 on November 30, 2010 at 2:52 PM

yeah.

I think the popup’s are screwing up the site. For me anyways.

upinak on November 30, 2010 at 2:56 PM

Dark-Star on November 30, 2010 at 2:43 PM

upinak on November 30, 2010 at 2:40 PM

You both might want to look at S 510 that passed today. They just took over the “seeds” kind of hard to fight when you are dying from starvation.

unseen on November 30, 2010 at 2:56 PM

Will you please stop spouting “food to fuel” nonsense?

This is not Africa, Americans are not starving because some of our bounteous harvests of corn are being turned into ethanol.

Dark-Star on November 30, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Oh. Okay, then. We’ll just keep our 600-lb feeder-calf prices up around $1.30/lb. Maybe bump ‘em up even higher, seeing as how you don’t seem to mind.

Of course, the fact that we’re paying dang-near $7.00 for a lousy 50-lb. bag of cow-feed, which is made from CORN, doesn’t have any effect on our sale prices, which have risen nearly 50-cents A POUND since the corn guys got all wee-wee’d up about ethanol.

And, of course, the MARKET won’t DARE pass on the decrease in beef prices brought about by a decrease in feed prices, oh, NOOO.

ESPECIALLY after S 510 passes. If THAT happens, we can do whatever the gummint dang-well pleases, and YOU’ll just have to like it, won’t you?

‘Cause there won’t BE any markets after that happens. There’ll just be the collective farms……or…..nothing.

Do be a good fellow and explain your logic to me as to why this is all such a good idea, won’t you?

Farmer on November 30, 2010 at 2:56 PM

Will you please stop spouting “food to fuel” nonsense?

This is not Africa, Americans are not starving because some of our bounteous harvests of corn are being turned into ethanol.

Dark-Star on November 30, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Corn should be used to feed living organisms. You’re right this is not Africa, but we can ship it there and it becomes a valuable export. At one time we fed the world, and although we have many more competitors, we still have a place on the stage if we turn corn back towards it’s intended purpose.

itsspideyman on November 30, 2010 at 2:57 PM

How about ending the mandated addition of ethanol to gasoline while they’re at it?

cool breeze on November 30, 2010 at 2:57 PM

Time to grow and make your own food again.

upinak on November 30, 2010 at 2:49 PM

If I read the bill right that will be impossible.

unseen on November 30, 2010 at 2:58 PM

We need to start rotating the caucus into other states.

jhffmn on November 30, 2010 at 2:59 PM

Great! Now how am I supposed to power my Flux Capacitor?

Rovin on November 30, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Algae only works in warm areas. So north of maybe Kentuky may be able to use it year round.

upinak on November 30, 2010 at 2:34 PM

Maybe some. Can give you a link if interested.

Solazyme’s Algae-Derived BioDiesel Passes Defense Departments Cold Weather Testing

In a recent news release from Solazyme and as reported at this years Worldwide Energy and Trade Show yesterday, their algae-derived biodiesel has passed its Department of Defense cold weather testing. To demonstrate the performance and readiness of their product an unmodified Ford F-450 diesel was driven by former Director of the CIA, James Woolsey, to the conference fueled by Solazyme’s biodiesel.

Testing of Solazyme’s biodiesel was ordered by the Department of Defense and performed by the Southwest Research Institute (SWRI). Their conclusion proved that Solazyme’s product performed much better than any other biodiesel that has been tested in cold climates. That is good news for a military force with bases all over the world in all climates who is under a directive to substantially decrease its own dependency on foreign petroleum. Not only is the Algae BioDiesel usable in the F-450, but also in all military diesel fueled engines and can also be converted into Jet Fuel.

fourdeucer on November 30, 2010 at 3:01 PM

Ethanol is fine but get rid of the subsidies.

While you are at it, get rid of all supposed ‘green’ subsidies!

cntrlfrk on November 30, 2010 at 3:01 PM

Someone needs to figure out a way to make fuel from Soylent Green. Imagine the nice intersection of ObamaCare with the alternative fuel industry: The government could build retirement homes attached to refineries. Win-win.

Bishop on November 30, 2010 at 2:36 PM

I’m glad to see at least someone has thought this thing through.

(Charlton really shoulda had some more guns.)

hillbillyjim on November 30, 2010 at 3:01 PM

Today, the end of ethanol!

Tomorrow, the end of High Fructose Corn Syrup!

Corn is no longer King!

pilamaye on November 30, 2010 at 3:02 PM

Boxer and Feinstein against ethanol subsides?

Seems Cal-i-forn-i doesn’t raise corn. Do it with grapes and they will be backing subsides.

Caststeel on November 30, 2010 at 3:03 PM

If the government would free our own abundant resources we could even stop buying foreign oil.

darwin on November 30, 2010 at 2:22 PM

But..But that will take at least 10 years…Didnt they use that ‘argument’ 20 years ago? And since when is time such a factor to see if we can do it or not?

TheVer on November 30, 2010 at 3:03 PM

Ethanol, is a crap fuel. It’s not as efficient as gasoline, so it takes more of it to go the same distance as traveled on pure gasoline.

A unit of ethanol simply doesn’t contain the power a unit of gasoline does.

Oddly enough, it DOES make an economic racing fuel, as the octane is higher than gasoline. You get around the power issue by simply using more of it. Volume, volume, volume.

Plus, ethanol is highly corrosive and causing a lot of issues as cars get older.

What’s so ignorant about this entire deal is Henry Ford experimented with this nonsense nearly 100 years ago, and understood it was insanity squared.

When you count the effort it takes to grow the corn, the amount of energy used to produce a unit of ethanol is almost 3 times the amount of energy that unit of ethanol will generate.

Corn is for eating, gasoline is for driving.

Past that, we have more than enough oil:

… untapped reserves are estimated at about 2.3 trillion barrels, nearly three times more than the reserves held by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties (OPEC) and sufficient to meet 300 years of demand-at today’s levels-for auto, aircraft, heating and industrial fuel, without importing a single barrel of oil.

gary4205 on November 30, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Good thing they don’t grow much corn in Alaska.

forest on November 30, 2010 at 2:19 PM

I really wish people would think before they speak.

BTW, we have had ethonal in out gasoline for decades. And that corn was grown in Fairbanks.

upinak on November 30, 2010 at 2:32 PM

Alaska doesn’t produce alot of corn, like I said. I didn’t say it produces no corn.

I kinda anticipated you would jump in to “correct” me anyway, but you’re wrong on this one. Alaska produces a fraction of a percent of the US corn crop and it doesn’t even register on most state by state lists of corn production because the amount is so small.

The know-it-all routine on Alaska is getting old. At least get it right if you want to be rude about how you “correct” people.

forest on November 30, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Caststeel on November 30, 2010 at 3:03 PM

switch blade grass is a weed out there. It would work fine.

OmahaConservative on November 30, 2010 at 3:06 PM

Converting food to fuel not only doesn’t work as a replacement for gasoline, it expands starvation by artificially inflating corn prices and making it more difficult to purchase. This letter might be the first step in dismantling an expensive and ongoing failure.
Don’t worry, I’m sure the eco nuts will find a replacement if ethanol is every defunded. They’re still trying to save the planet especially in Great Britain where the poor are freezing to death this winter.

Kissmygrits on November 30, 2010 at 3:07 PM

I’m from Iowa and I agree that ethanol doesn’t make economic, nor energy sense.

ted c on November 30, 2010 at 3:08 PM

This is not Africa, Americans are not starving because some of our bounteous harvests of corn are being turned into ethanol.

Dark-Star on November 30, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Hey, dumb-ass.

Cows eat corn. People eat corn. People eat corn products.

If more corn is diverted to ethanol, prices go UP for all of the derivative products dependent on corn, if you can keep up.

If more corn is burned in automobiles, prices go up for food.

Simple as that.

Poor folks hurt worst, BTW, if you can’t get from point A to point B by yourself.

Yes, we have a shitload of folks here at home sleeping on streets and scavenging for food.

Ethanol subsidies suck the life out of the poorest of the poor.

Common sense.

hillbillyjim on November 30, 2010 at 3:08 PM

If I read the bill right that will be impossible.

unseen on November 30, 2010 at 2:58 PM

D#mn near impossible as it is, unless you have enough arable land. Even if my family converted every usable square foot of yard to growing food it wouldn’t be enough.

If we have to go back to that, many cities will have to be greatly dispersed or even completely abandoned. And we’ve long since run up against the dilemma of too many people and too little farmland…

Dark-Star on November 30, 2010 at 3:08 PM

Tomorrow, the end of High Fructose Corn Syrup!

Corn is no longer King!

pilamaye on November 30, 2010 at 3:02 PM

I’ve heard mean stuff about that HFCS. It has absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever and it is a closely guarded secret for some reason.

ted c on November 30, 2010 at 3:09 PM

“Wonder what Sen. Mike Johanns thinks about this?”

– OmahaConservative

OC,

Don’t know, but I do know he voted for SB510

Gothguy on November 30, 2010 at 3:09 PM

I have been involved in the construction of over 100 corn based ethanol plants all across the country, mostly in the mid-west, most of them in Red states, and I can say with 100% certainty, not a one of them uses corn that was meant for human food consumption.

Do you have any idea how much corn we just throw away?

xRos on November 30, 2010 at 3:11 PM

The poor we shall always have with us.

Dark-Star on November 30, 2010 at 2:55 PM

And you are apparently ok with them starving due to increased costs for grain.

Vashta.Nerada on November 30, 2010 at 3:12 PM

I’m from Iowa and I agree that ethanol doesn’t make economic, nor energy sense.

ted c on November 30, 2010 at 3:08 PM

I’m from next door and agree.

Don’t know, but I do know he voted for SB510

Gothguy on November 30, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Yep, I saw that. I have already registered my displeasure with his office. Wonder if I’ll get my usual Christmas card from him?

OmahaConservative on November 30, 2010 at 3:13 PM

I’ve heard mean stuff about that HFCS. It has absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever and it is a closely guarded secret for some reason.

ted c on November 30, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Don’t tell nobody or nothin’, but, on the down-low, you know, I’ve heard it’s LIKE SUGAR OR SOMETHING.

What’s next? :>)

hillbillyjim on November 30, 2010 at 3:14 PM

Solazyme founder Harrison Dillon: Why the U.S. Navy wants our green jet fuel

http://www.smartplanet.com/people/blog/pure-genius/solazyme-founder-harrison-dillon-why-the-us-navy-wants-our-green-jet-fuel/4244/

Lots of info on algae fuel.

fourdeucer on November 30, 2010 at 3:15 PM

xRos on November 30, 2010 at 3:11 PM

Bullshit.

Links, please.

hillbillyjim on November 30, 2010 at 3:16 PM

dhunter on November 30, 2010 at 2:55 PM

This could be a quote from my father-in-law, who is a farmer in Iowa also.

Yet he continues to vote Democrat.

I don’t understand that guy.

Otis B on November 30, 2010 at 3:17 PM

at 3 dollars per bushel, there is about 5.35 cents worth of corn in a one pound box of corn flakes. If the price of corn doubles, the cost of a box of corn flakes should not go up much more than 5.35 cents. If the price goes up a lot more than that, the consumer needs to find something to blame other than ethanol.

It takes about three pounds of corn to produce a pound of lean meat. If the price of corn goes up from three dollars to six dollars, the cost to produce the lean meat will go up a little over 15 cents per pound. And the DDG’s, the stuff cattle use comes as a by-product to ethanol production.

Ethanol is currently about 10% of the fuel we use. Ask him if we cut our fuel supply by 10%, how much do you think gas at the pump would go up? The last figure I saw was $.54 / gal. If you put that fuel cost onto all the freight costs in the country, he will be begging for ethonal to come back.

…the same people will be on here beotching twice as much for having to pay more for gas……..vrs an extra 5cents for a box of corn flakes…

sbark on November 30, 2010 at 3:17 PM

Dark-Star on November 30, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Yup, fertilizer isn’t a scarce resourse, no sir. And the Chinese and Indians haven’t been gobbling up shipments of Urea like they were candy, either.

Not too long ago there was a barge full of urea headed up the Mississippi River that was turned around and sent back. That fertilizer was loaded on a ship and sent to China. $$$. So if you think that burning natural gas to produce urea only to apply it to corn to make the corn into ethanol, which then reduces the efficiency of the vehicle that burns it is a good idea…

turfmann on November 30, 2010 at 3:19 PM

And you are apparently ok with them starving due to increased costs for grain.

Vashta.Nerada on November 30, 2010 at 3:12 PM

Apparently you are dandy with the massive amounts of corn and other grains used to raise food animals instead of feeding that to people.

Gosh, just think, we could do so much by going vegetarian as a nation and shipping it to the perpetual resource sinks…

Dark-Star on November 30, 2010 at 3:19 PM

sbark on November 30, 2010 at 3:17 PM

Its good to see someone who knows what he is talking about.

xRos on November 30, 2010 at 3:20 PM

Ethanol is currently about 10% of the fuel we use. Ask him if we cut our fuel supply by 10%, how much do you think gas at the pump would go up?

sbark on November 30, 2010 at 3:17 PM

No one is talking about cutting the amount of available fuel. By reducing the subsidies to porkahol, the amount of fuel used to produce it will go down by more that the amount porkahol produced.

pedestrian on November 30, 2010 at 3:21 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3 5