Saturday, March 1, 2008


I decided to do a post on this after I went to WAL-MART to fill up with gas today.  While I was filling up, I looked down, and attached to the hose was this big ear of corn shaped sign that read “Ethanol Enhanced”.  The notice said that up to ten percent of what I was getting was moonshine liquor, er, sorry, “ethanol.”  I thought, “great, just what I needed, less gas mileage and some engine damage.”  So, I thought I would put the facts about ethanol out there, because there is a lot that many do not realize.that makes it not so great, other than the fact we tried it in the 1970’s and it didn’t work.  No reason to believe it will work now.


The first thing that you hear about the so-called “benefits” of ethanol is that it’s purpose is to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  To understand that this will not work, there’s a point that needs to be made here.  First is that we’ve already tried this in the 1970’s.  Have you heard the saying,”Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it?”  Needless to say, we have never had any historians in Congress, the White House, or anywhere else in Washington.  Back in the ‘70’s, ethanol was known as “gasohol.”  Then, as now, about a ten percent mixture of alcohol produce mainly from corn is mixed with the gasoline.  The idea is to make what gasoline is available go farther, thereby theoretically cutting oil imports.  The flaw with this idea is that ethanol produces lower fuel mileage than 100% gas.  This means you burn MORE fuel, and thereby actually INCREASE the demand.  A test run by the American Coalition for Ethanol, obviously pro-ethanol, showed an average loss of 1.5% in fuel economy with the ten percent mixture.  One of the vehicles, a Ford Taurus, logged a whopping 4% drop in fuel mileage.  That translates to more out of your wallet and even more record profits for the oil companies.  Any wonder the oil companies are all for it?


Here’s the next hit taken on the chin by John Q. Consumer.  Did you know that if you own a vehicle that is more than about ten years old, ethanol will damage your engine?  That’s right.  Unless you make a number of costly modifications, the repairs will begin.  Ethanol starts eating away at all the rubber seals in your engine and fuel system.  But, THE MOTHER EARTH NEWS published a list of what you would need to do to keep your older vehicle.  The list is long if you have a carbureted engine.  It’s not so long with a fuel injected vehicle.  All you need are larger control jets – that’s all.. You can click on The Mother Earth News above and view the entire list.  Vehicles older than 1996 are susceptible to damage from ethanol use.


There’s still more fallout from ethanol.  Higher prices at the grocery store.  You may wonder how that can be.  Corn is the major ingredient used in making ethanol.  Beef is one of the items that has gone up because of ethanol.  Cattle ranchers have to pay more for feed containing corn, so the cost is passed on right on down the line – TO YOU!  According to a June 15, 2007 article in the WASHINGTON POST, milk, cereal, eggs, and pork prices have gone up also.  The higher corn prices (that doubled in a year’s time) are also driving up the prices of ketchup and soft drinks according to a March 2007 article on the KIPLINGER BUSINESS RESOURCE CENTER website.  How?  Because high fructose corn syrup is used to sweeten them.


The ethanol idea is a bad one.  For one, it’s just another method of trying to force people out of their older cars.  This affects many Americans.  A study conducted by the FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION shows that as of 2001, the average vehicle age in the U. S. was nearly nine years.  That means there are many, many people out there driving cars more than a decade old that cannot handle the ethanol fuel.  The use of ethanol was a miserable failure in the 1970’s and did not make even so much as a dent in our dependence on foreign oil.  It won’t this time either.  The only thing that can cut our dependence on foreign oil is increasing production here, but we won’t do it.  We’re sitting on a lot of oil, and won’t go get it.  The OPEC nations are laughing all the way to the bank on this one.


History here is definitely repeating itself.  If it didn’t work before, why is there ANY reason to believe that it will work now.


Final note:  As far as I know, BP is the only company now that does not sell ethanol.  I’ve been told that’s soon to change, though, because the Federal government is giving big tax incentives to the oil companies to produce it – at OUR expense of course.


bhbner2him said...

What's really scary is how many times are we fueling with a mixture that is not clearly labeled?  -  Barbara

stargazer2052 said...

                          Glad you pointed that out Dirk. I also don't think people knoe it still takes Petrolium products (Oil) to make ethenol. Lets see the by product of ethenol is higher prices on Corn, Milk, Beef and, fuel, is this a Good thing?

                          You have all these Hollywood Celbrities Promoting the Global Warming idea but, how many do you know that are investing in Hydrogen fuel points? Hydrogen is the true alternate fuel that does not rely on foriegn oil to keep us going in the future.

        Oil Companies and, Government is what is keeping the Big Oil Companies in business.
                            Thanks Dirk, Star

pharmolo said...

I think they've made a bit of a mess of this Dirk. As far as I understand, you can fuel cars with ethanol, PROVIDED they convert the engines. You can't just pour ethanol (or an ethanol-containing mixture) in your average petrol-fuelled car. It's not a bad idea, but they've put the cart in front of the horse with this. Pity.

tschuckman said...

Great Info, Dirk !   I will share this with my friends.
Tom S

wipforever said...

I don't remember much about the 70's Dirk.  I was in elementary school at the time.  However, I do remember getting "Dynamite!" magazine in school and articles talking about how to save energy.

I'm not sure how I feel about the whole ethanol thing.  I think you do present several good points, but one question I have is, are the newer hybrid vehicles designed to use the ethanol as efficiently as they say?  I would consider a hybrid if it were better on gas mileage and I could get it with 4WD.

As always, thank you for giving us something to think about.


PS  Hope you are feeling better!

jckfrstross said...

i know here every winter that add that crap to the gas and we get awful gas mileage! now i know why idiots in washington thanks for sharing


lifesabench6 said...

Hi Dirk- I agree completely about your whole post.  In fact, here's a few other things about this rush to failure that I don't think anyone thought about- or maybe they did but they don't care- the world's wheat supplies are running dangerously short.  They blame this mostly on the economic growth of China, there is higher consumption, but the fact that so many farms are switching to corn crops means that the US is producing less wheat.  The US is already considering ways to cut back on the shipment of wheat to poor countries which we usually send food aid.  And will mean that the cost for wheat based products will sky rocket. So- we pay more for gas that won't get us as far, we pay more for corn and produce (the price of my chicken feed has gone throuh the roof- I'm glad I only have 4 chickens now, and they are on grain scratch rations!) we will be paying more for bread and any other wheat products,  as with the control of tobacco crops- there will probably be the same kind of deal with corn crops so we may not be able to grow our own- and thanks to the environmental wackos in our government, we will be paying more for light bulbs which are hazardous to our health- and which we won't be able to simply toss out in our trash- we will have to take them to a hazardous waste depot! Oh- and us poor slobs who own older homes and vehicles will have to pay to buy newer more expensive vehicles or like you said, upgrade our old ones- and we will have to pay for new electrical sockets for all of our old incandescent bulbs!  I have a few curly bulbs- but most of the light sockets in my old house won't take them.  Now that I know the mercury risk in the new ones, I don't want them anymore!  God Bless you Dirk- I am looking to the Biblical famine prophecy coming to pass very soon!  Carolyn

queeniemart said... newer car dies due to substandard frame and it is worthless and due to other life altering issues i can only buy a car that is OLD and now i read this. My DH believes the government purposely makes cars today to fall apart or die in less than 10 yrs so you are forced to buy newer and newer. Well, not everyone can afford that.
I did not know this about ethanol. In fact, i thought it was a good thing. Goes to show what i know.


stargazer2052 said...

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gehi6 said...

All people with cars would benefit from reading ths, as I am sure all these facts are not known by most.  Thanks for a thorough job of research. You are good at this!  I ws interested to know since my kids are all still driving if I am not!   Gerry

wwfbison said...

I am so glad you put this entry up and I do hope people read it.  I can tell you first hand how much corn (grain) products have increased since this demand has become so high.  Our feed bills for the livestock have almost doubled and it changes by the week depending on the commodity price.  The other thing is this, the feed mills are now using animal by products & chocolate products in their feed in order to make up for the high corn prices.  What does this mean?  It means animals like buffalo - who cannot have animal by products in their diet - are going to suffer the consequences if the herd manager isn't careful.  The trickle down theory on this ethanol nonsense is so vast it would take me multiple pages to write it.

stargazer2052 said...

        On the subject of Hydrogen. I have found out the answer to my quetion about why ethenol instead of Hydrogen.

        The government has restricted the auto makers to a fuel cell instead of a hydrogen fuel tank, because if a vehicle with a hydrogen fuel tank has a accident with another car it will not only explode but, it will take out the other car and,  half a city block. In other words Auto Makers has to make them safer.