Paul Krugman weighs in on ethanol in the NY Times:

"Where the effects of bad policy are clearest, however, is in the rise of demon ethanol and other biofuels. The subsidized conversion of crops into fuel was supposed to promote energy independence and help limit global warming. But this promise was, as Time magazine bluntly put it, a “scam.”

This is especially true of corn ethanol: even on optimistic estimates, producing a gallon of ethanol from corn uses most of the energy the gallon contains. But it turns out that even seemingly “good” biofuel policies, like Brazil’s use of ethanol from sugar cane, accelerate the pace of climate change by promoting deforestation.

And meanwhile, land used to grow biofuel feedstock is land not available to grow food, so subsidies to biofuels are a major factor in the food crisis. You might put it this way: people are starving in Africa so that American politicians can court votes in farm states."

George Dagnino, PhD Editor,
The Peter Dag Portfolio.
Since 1977
2009 Market Timer of the Year by Timer Digest
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Stock said...

yep ethanol a massive boondoogle.

I just bought your books "Profiting in bull or bear markets" and look forward to a little sun tan reading.

skutney said...

You may be interested in the information below.

This article is about a company called Celanese. They have a process to convert natural gas into ethanol. The process is not allowed for fueling cars because of the 2007 Renewable Fuel Standard Law. Ethanol is less energy dense than gasoline. Using alternative fuels will reduce our trade deficit. Our trade deficit is about the same as Federal Government Revenue.

Natural gas can also be converted to methanol. Methanol is less energy dense than ethanol. It's also less expensive at $1.35 per gallon. The link below is to an article by Robert Zubrin. He takes a 2007 Chevy Cobalt and converts it to run on methanol. He has the timing advanced to take advantage of the high octane that methanol has. The result is more miles per gallon. This can all be done on software. Flex Fuel cars can run on any combination of methanol-ethanol-gasoline.

Below are some articles from the Open Fuel Standards website. The Open Fuels Standards Act would allow gas stations to sell gas/methanol/ethanol in several combinations. Flex Fuel vehicles can deal with all of these fuels.

Robert Zubrin has another article on using methanol.

Below is an article by T. Boone Pickens and R. James Woolsey on OPEC control of global transportation.

If you want to understand more about the subject of using fuels other than gasoline you will find this website by Robert Zubrin informative.
The four videos covers the contents of his book.