Filed under: Biofuels, cars, ethanol, Farm, food, Minnesota, Politicians, Politics, travel, wood heat | Tags: car, cars, ethanol, farm, Food, machines, Minnesota, politics, transportation, travel
I’ve made no bones about it, I’m in favor of ethanol. The fact that I’m part owner of a small ethanol plant here in Minnesota does color my perception. That ethanol is cleaner burning than gas or diesel is a given. Bio-fuels are a renewable resource, being produced new again every year.
I’ve alway been one who hates to pay any more money to Big Oil than I have to. The main heat source for my home and shop are dead trees harvested from my farm. I have air to air solar collectors on my house and shop. I try to keep the house tight and all equipment operating at peak efficiency. I limit my trips as much as possible and will use public transportation when practical.
Big Oil does not like my little ethanol plant. They also do not like conservation practices that use less fuel, they want you to keep paying them for ever. In fact they don’t seem to like anyone who gets between them and their fat profits, and they are very, very fat profits.
Big Oil is worried. They have to be to keep saying the bad things about ethanol that they have been for so long. They try to tell us that ethanol is bad for our cars when the same cars we use are on the road in Brazil and in some cases are using 100% ethanol and have been for many years. They try to tell us that using more ethanol is causing our food prices to go up when more of your food dollar goes to oil related costs than to the farmer. They push a message of the carbon foot print of farming when they blow much, much more carbon into the air than any other industry. Big Oil has convinced our politicians that agriculture does not need any financial help so that they can protect the much larger tax breaks and hand outs that they take in.
This is nothing more than a coordinated effort by oil companies and refiners who will stop at nothing to hold their near monopoly on the liquid fuels market in the long quest to blame others for their absurd profits and never-ending increasing gasoline prices at the pump. I find it very interesting that the states with the largest ethanol industries have some of the lowest gas prices in the nation.
All we hear about is a domestic energy boom; more drilling and new oil and gas reserves. But nothing changes; gas prices still increase and every time it’s the other guys fault, not the oil companies. Let’s be honest here. The oil industry is experiencing record profits on the backs of the American consumers. And their industry sees renewable fuels such as ethanol that can be produced far less expensive than gasoline as a threat and they will go to great lengths to discredit any competition through misinformation and smear tactics. Enough is enough – it is time to call this what it is – an orchestrated sham by the oil companies to manipulate markets, cause panic and attempt to use false data to blame an industry that has grown to be a threat to their record profits and bottom lines.
Ethanol is a win-win for America, creating jobs and revitalizing rural economies, it is better for our environment and it is reducing our dependence on foreign oil, all while providing consumers a choice and savings at the pump. It is time for Americans to hear from someone other than oil companies, which are holding American consumers hostage to excessive prices and a dangerous dependence on a finite resource.
Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, Animal care, Biofuels, ethanol, Farm, farm animals, Farm Bureau, food, food safety, genetic modification, Minnesota, Politicians, Politics, travel | Tags: Agriculture education, biofuels, ethanol, farm, Farm Bureau, farm bureau members, Food, food safety, government, Minnesota, minnesota farm bureau federation, politics, travel
Filed under: Biofuels, cars, ethanol | Tags: big oil, biofuels, Brazil, car, cars, ethanol, ethanol blends, machines, politics, transportation
Big Oil’s best kept secret from the American consumer is Brazil’s fuel ethanol mandate, which started during the 1970s as a result of the OPEC oil embargoes. In Brazil, where ethanol is made from sugar cane, all gasoline contains 20 percent to 25 percent ethanol (E20-E25). At retail stations, consumers can choose to fuel up on 100 percent ethanol (E100) or with E20 to E25.
For decades, conventional unmodified automobiles in Brazil ran on E20-E25 with no engine problems whatsoever. By 2003, the Brazilian government incentivized the sale of flex-fuel automobiles which can run on any blend of ethanol up to E100. As of December 2010, Brazil had more than 12 million flex-fuel vehicles and 500,000 motorcycles regularly using E100 fuel. Even small engines for lawn equipment have successfully used E20-E25 in Brazil.
Yet here in the United States, Big Oil and the American Petroleum Institute have launched an all-out war against ethanol via a massive advertising smear campaign in an attempt to quash the U.S. ethanol industry. In fact, the API has publicly announced it is seeking a congressional repeal of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS-2), which mandates our country use 36 billion gallons per year of biofuel, mainly ethanol, by 2022. “
Across the country Big Oil is spending the profits from todays high gasoline prices and the hand outs that our government gives them to give ethanol blended fuels a black eye. The truth hurts if you are Big Oil.
Filed under: Biofuels, cars, ethanol, Farm, food, history | Tags: Agriculture education, biofuels, cars, climate, ethanol, farm, Food, fuel, horses, machines, science, transportation
Now stop and think about it. You are concerned that foods you eat may be diverted to use for fuel. You consider that this is a new phenomenon. The truth is that only in the last century or so has the earths surface not provided the world with fuel. Only when we dug down for coal, oil and nuclear energy did man move away from the fuels provided by the forests and fields of agriculture.
How did the horses and oxen of our great grandfathers generation move? They ate plant materials and turned them into energy. Before WWII most of the production of a farm went to feeding the horses and oxen that pulled the plows, wagons and buggies. Very little of the food produced on a farm actually made it into town.
When the train and the automobile were first introduced they was powered by ethanol, from fermented grains or other food crops, or steam, produced mostly from coal or wood, not oil, thus powering early trains and autos on the produce of farms and forests. Early oil discoveries were used in medicines and as lubricants. Then some oil man figured out how to make a motor fuel cheaper than ethanol and we moved into the modern era with our addiction to oil.
When Germany went to war it had very little for oil reserves and initially powered its war machine on potato alcohol. When bootleggers needed a fuel to outrun government pursuit they fueled their boats and cars with alcohol and ethanol. It is only since WWII that man has depended almost solely on oil for his motor fuels.
So you see, except for a brief part of history, man has relied on farms and forests to provide him with food and fuel. It is only in the “modern” era, an era of smog, pollution and global warming, has man relied on the fossil fuels of coal, oil and natural gas. Perhaps it’s time we got back to the farm to fuel our world. I’m not such a fan of pollution and global warming.
Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, Biofuels, ethanol, Farm, Farm Bureau, science | Tags: Agriculture education, car, cars, compressed natural gas, diesel, diesel fuel, ethanol, ethanol producers, farm, Farm Bureau, gas, gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas, machines, transportation
One of the sessions I attended at the AFBF meeting in Nashville was a General Motors seminar on the future of motor vehicles. Since they were talking to a farm audience they mostly talked about light trucks, but automotive and heavy truck technology was also touched on. One of the items that they made plain was that the gasoline technology was not going away just yet, but they were gearing up for the future.
The biggest driver in the future of motoring was the higher mpg demands of both the public and government in this era if higher fuel prices. The problem with most of the new technologies is getting the fueling stations out for use. Although Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) are available for larger fleets where they can come to a base station every night, long distance motoring is still going to require a liquid motor fuel. The same is true of hydrogen and electric vehicles, we know how to make them, we just cannot keep them on the road once they get away from fast refueling connections. To bridge the gap until we get refueling stations set up for these fuels we are still going to have to rely on liquid fuels like diesel, gasoline and ethanol.
Despite where you stand on ethanol, the automotive industry is planning on using greater amounts of it in fuels for the foreseeable future. If they are to meet the government mpg guidelines they have no choice. Understandably the growers of ethanol feedstocks are all in favor of this increase.
While today we in agriculture are fighting a battle to keep E-15 approval, automotive manufacturers are gearing up for E-30. They are telling the ethanol producers that it will happen. Automobile manufacturers need the higher octane that ethanol gives to produce the higher performance engines of the future.
I don’t expect Big Oil to give up this battle without a fight. They want to keep us dependent on gasoline and diesel for as long as possible. They are already breaking down the gunkier oils that they used to throw away to meet demand. This costs more money, money they are getting from government subsidies and from us in higher prices. In the mean time, automotive manufacturers are planning for a future that uses less gasoline. They can already see a future of less oil usage, and it is something that I have waited for for a long time.
Filed under: Biofuels, cars, ethanol, Minnesota, Politicians, Politics, travel | Tags: big oil, biofuels, car, cars, gasoline prices, gasoline usage, machines, Minnesota, NASCAR, politics
Why is it that while Americans are now using 8% less gasoline, gasoline prices are going up? Who stands to profit by higher gasoline prices? Big Oil that’s who.
Why is it that while American ethanol producers are producing ethanol at $1 per gallon less than gasoline, oil company blenders do not choose to buy ethanol to help hold the price of gasoline down? We are currently shipping ethanol to other countries, including Brazil which used to be a net ethanol exporter. Who stands to profit by using less ethanol and more gasoline? Big Oil that’s who.
I’m lucky to have a blender pump in my area so that I can buy 20%, 30% or even 50% ethanol if I choose to lower my price of transportation fuel. Many areas have to search to find 85% ethanol, which is the most available alternative fuel. I use 20% ethanol in my car whenever I fill up, no engine problems. I’ve even used 30% ethanol for short periods with no problem. E20 and E30 give you more power at less cost.
Tests by universities here in Minnesota show no adverse effects on automotive engines for using 20% ethanol blends. NASCAR is has completed 1.5 million miles with no engine issues using 15% ethanol. Despite all of this testing, Big Oil supporters are calling for more testing. They do not want to miss out on one of your dollars making it to their pocket.
It’s time to tell the money guzzlers at Big Oil to back off. They don’t need any more help from our government, they are already making record profits.
Reduce your consumption of gasoline, and increase you consumption of home-grown biofuels like ethanol. Drive less. Car pool or use pubic transport whenever possible. Reduce your speed on the highway. Do everything you can to cut gasoline usage. Stop sending your money to Big Oil.
Filed under: Biofuels, ethanol, Politicians, Politics | Tags: biofuels, dependence on foreign oil, ethanol, politics, renewable fuel
Tuesday, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) filed an amendment to the Senate’s Highway Bill to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). We all know this amendment is misguided. And we all know it has nothing to do building roads and bridges. It does have something to do with protecting the income of big oil companies. Big oil is concerned about losing 10 to 15% of their income. They are calling in all their markers in government to remove RFS. So here are some things I believe about why we should support the RFS.
- The RFS is a foundation for energy independence and economic stability.
- The RFS has reduced our dependence on foreign oil, strengthened our national security, created American jobs than can’t be outsourced, and reduced greenhouse gases.
- The RFS has reduced smog in major cities.
- Since President Nixon first called for American energy independence forty years ago, the RFS has been the only effective way to limit foreign oil imports.
- The RFS has reduced gas prices by as much as 50 cents before VEETEC, sometimes referred to as the “blender’s credit,” a tax credit of 45 cents for every gallon of pure ethanol blended, was allowed to expire.
Those who seek to have the RFS removed cannot be interested in the future of our country. Why do we need to continue paying oil companies huge amounts of money to bring in oil from other countries when we can produce jobs and fuel here in the U.S. I just do not understand it. Let’s buy American people.
Filed under: Biofuels, Corn, ethanol, Farm | Tags: biofuels, Corn, corn market, corn prices, farm, marketing, weather
The market lately has been quite good for corn, perhaps better than many would guess, but it is not good enough for farmers, and so far they seem to have the upper hand.
I stopped in at our local ethanol plant today and had a talk with their corn buyer. He is having trouble getting farmers to cut loose and sell corn. The ethanol plant is not running out of corn, but he is not buying as much as he expected. At this time of year he would like to have most of the corn he needs for next October under contract, for quite a few years he has been able to do just that, but not this year. As of now he only has 10% of his October needs under contract.
Near by months are also contracted below where he would like to see. At the moment they are emptying bins that they had hoped would not be needed until spring. Why the trouble buying corn? They have the best price in the area, there should be no trouble getting all the corn they need. Farm storage is full and just waiting for sales to be made.
Today a little of that corn was purchased. The corn market passed a phycological level. His bid was over $6 at market close. The phone started ringing with people wanting to sell corn.
The phycology of the market is huge as far as farm folks are concerned. Yes, they realize that demand is down. Yes, they know that corn is selling at higher levels than it used to in the years before 2010. Farm folks have read all of those articles by farm price prognosticators saying that corn prices must go down. They understand that selling corn at a price so close to that of wheat cannot continue. The fact is, that corn is not selling at prices that were received last year at this time. Farm folks want those higher corn prices, and are willing to hold corn for now to get them.
It is a high stakes game of chicken. Many farm folks have penciled in $7 corn on their budget for the coming year and promised a premium price to rent or buy farm land, a price that must have $7 corn to be profitable. Now that $7 corn looks like it will not come back, they are holding on to the corn they now own in hopes of a better price. What if that day does not come.
Currently, end users of corn are bidding up in hopes of shaking some of that corn loose. As long as the corn market continues in its present sideways trend they will continue to do so. What is going to happen when we break out of that trend?
I have to admit it, there is a slim possibility that prices will go up again. Corn demand could return to the levels it was a year ago and we could see $7 or higher corn prices return. The drought in the central parts of the U.S. could reassert itself, or floods could return with the spring, and lower crop yields again in 2012. As long as the market sees some possibility of crop failures in other parts of the world, the market will continue to trend sideways, or even go up. But you have to feed the bull everyday, without daily bad news, the market will go down.
There is more potential for the corn market to go down. When corn and wheat prices stay too close together, livestock feeders turn to wheat as a cheaper substitute, thus raising wheat prices and lowering corn prices. Local corn is coming out of the bin at higher than average test weight and it will not take as many bushels to provide consumer needs. Some of the factors that have propped up the ethanol market for so long are soon to expire, and higher cost ethanol producers could go out of business, thus reducing corn demand. With higher meat prices, many families are reducing their meat consumption, this lowers the demand even further for corn. Year to year trends suggest that corn prices should be going down soon as speculators shift their focus to planting intentions and away from crop conditions in other parts of the world.
When will this game of chicken end? Who knows? I really am expecting a drop in the market soon, maybe even starting before the new year. If prices start to drop, I’m afraid they will continue down for some time.
For my part, I am taking advantage of the recent increase in prices to sell more of my 2011 crop. I have not yet priced any of my 2012 crop, but that is usual for me. I may just sell some corn under a minimum price contract to hedge against a price drop. Then, I’m going to sit back and watch for a while. I have enough corn and soybeans sold to cover my needs for planting. Any further sales are not needed today, I can afford to speculate on the future.
Let the game of chicken begin. I get to watch.
Filed under: Biofuels, cars, ethanol, Farm, food, travel | Tags: biofuels, car, cars, diesel, diesel fuel. transportation, farm, Food, machines
To most people the current decline in fuel prices is a relief, but to those who use diesel fuel to move, the news has not been so good. Why should you care?
I admit, I have been relieved to see gasoline prices drop, but I have been perplexed that for quite a few months now the price of diesel fuel has not gone down, indeed it has gone up. When I recently filled my gas tank near Chaska for $3.13 I was quite pleased, since that was down a lot from the $3.27 that I had seen on the pumps when I left home. What did not please me was to realize that diesel prices had again gone up and were now at $4.17. Only a year ago the two fuels were at nearly the same price. That increase in diesel fuel prices verses gasoline prices affects everyone.
There is very little in our life here in the U.S. that is not dependent on the price of diesel fuel. The trucks that bring all of the things we need and want are powered by diesel. Buses and trains, ships and tractors all are dependent on diesel fuel. More than any other fuel source, diesel is the power that moves us. The food you eat, the clothing you wear, the car you drive, the fuel that moves our machinery, all arrive at the store on the power of diesel fuel.
Our nation’s farmers depend on diesel fuel as a powerful, economical, source of power for their machinery. Without diesel fuel there would be no ground preparation, no planting, no fertilizing, no weeding, no harvesting. Food moves from the farm to the store on diesel powered wheels. It is a large part of the price we pay for everything we eat.
For most of my life I have seen diesel fuel as the lower priced, higher powered, source of energy for transportation. It has become the fuel of choice for many in the rest of the world. But unlike gasoline, the demand for diesel fuel is inelastic. The demand for diesel is always there.
Consumers look at the price of gas as too high and they stop traveling, trips are cancelled or consolidated, more efficient cars are purchased and the big, gas guzzling vehicles are mothballed. Diesel fuel use does not change so easily, the trucks that move everything we need must keep going. The buses and trains we use when gas prices are high are filled to the brim, and new routes are put into use.
Then there is the new competition for gasoline, ethanol. Whenever gas prices get too high, gas wholesalers add more ethanol to the mix. The current price of ethanol to gasoline is such that adding a little more ethanol to the mix can increase profits for gasoline sales, diesel fuel has no such lower priced alternative.
Usually when fuel prices go down the price of many of the goods we buy goes down also, but this time I wouldn’t look for decreasing prices at the grocery store. Because of the rising prices at the pump for diesel fuel, I expect the price of many of our goods to continue to go up. That will take an ever increasing amount of money out of the pockets of all of us. Not at all a comforting thought.
Filed under: Biofuels, Corn, ethanol, Farm, food | Tags: big oil, Corn, corn flakes, ethanol, Food, food prices, oil
There were a couple of interesting items in todays news about ethanol.
(FABRI) With the loss of the 45-cent-a-gallon excise tax credit, FAPRI says output would fall, rebound after a year and then grow more slowly in the future. The ethanol market is highly sensitive to prices, and high oil prices have ethanol sales running far above the federal mandate for use of biofuels.
The last sentence is the most interesting to me. High oil prices have increased ethanol use. That means that oil companies are not as afraid of ethanol as they claim. They will use ethanol when ever they can make a buck from its use. It all comes down to making the most dollars for big oil.
Then there was this.
(Bloomberg) — General Mills Inc. Chief Executive Officer Ken Powell said U.S. ethanol fuel subsidies were causing higher food prices, in turn increasing inflation.
Obviously Mr. Powell has not checked recently to see just how much corn is in the products he sells. The answer is not much. Yes, the largest corn user is now the ethanol industry, and yes, corn is a major agricultural commodity, but higher corn prices will only change the price of that box of Corn Flakes a fraction of a cent. Even at todays higher corn prices, there is still only about 7 cents worth of corn in that box.
The rising corn prices have affected not the price of products in the store, but the bottom line of the livestock farmer. With rising corn prices the profit moves from the livestock farmer to the crop farmer (sometimes these are the same person). Livestock producers have seen their profit decrease lately. You can expect that meat prices will go up when livestock producers start to cut back on flocks and herds. For now the livestock man is getting squeezed as Mr. Powell and his pals use rising corn prices as a cover to add more money to their own pockets. Nice try.