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: Corn, Farm, Soybeans | Tags: Corn, ethanol, farm, marketing, Planting, selling corn, Soybeans
Here I am looking over the markets for the week, and it hits me, they really want my corn! How do you know? When end users are paying over Chicago Mercantile Exchange Futures Price, they need the corn NOW. I can get 16 cents over Chicago at the Co-op, which they will grind for livestock feed, and 25 cents over at the ethanol plant.
Looking back I find that the shift came about a month ago, that’s when our local co-op started paying Chicago price for corn. They were still paying 51 cents under Chicago for soybeans at that time. I had gotten so used to the Co-op paying 15 cents or more below Chicago that I had not even paid it any attention. This is big news. It means that someone needs corn now and is not getting it.
Are we running out of corn? Not likely, but it could be just a bit short, and farmers are planting, so their minds are elsewhere, thus some money must be paid to shake loose some corn. Now we will find out if there is corn to be purchased in the countryside. Me, I’ve rewarded the market for its higher price by selling some for June delivery, others could be also. I don’t have much left to sell, but this is too good of a price to miss.
Planting season is typically the last gasp of the market. Most likely prices will be down from here to harvest, unless we are really short of corn on the farm, then who knows. Still I’ll keep a sharp eye on the market. I still have a few bushels left to sell, just in case.
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, 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.
Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, Corn, Farm, food, harvest, hunger | Tags: Agriculture education, biofuels, Corn, ethanol, farm, Food, harvest, history
Food demand around the world is growing by 1.1 percent per year according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Fortunately, a Canadian study reveals that global grain production has increased by 1.5 percent per year over the past 20 years. With increasing resources now being directed to agricultural development in some of the world’s hungriest countries, especially in Africa, there is optimism that we will continue to grow the crops and increase production where the need is greatest.
Now producing and eating only grains is not going to get you a balanced diet, but it is a first step. It does tell you that there is indeed hope that we can continue to feed the worlds people. The increase of production over demand does tell you why we are using grains for ethanol production. We still have more of some grains than we need.
So despite all of the fear of the year folks out there, the worlds farmers are still doing their job of feeding the worlds population. Every year we produce more with less. The efficiency of farm folks should be an inspiration to all.
Filed under: Biofuels, cars, Corn, ethanol, Farm, Politicians, Politics | Tags: Agriculture education, biofuels, car, cars, Corn, ethanol, farm, NASCAR
I am constantly amazed at the number of negative comments I see about using ethanol as a fuel source. After all it is not only better for your lungs, it helps keep American Dollars here in America. Today I came across some information that answers the question of where those negative comments come from.
The dollar means everything in America, and no one seems to have more dollars to spend than our government. To help our politicians decide how to spend those dollars groups send lobbyists to Washington D.C. Of the 187 lobbying groups that comment on ethanol legislation, only 16 were pro ethanol. The largest lobbying group commenting on ethanol legislation is the oil companies who spent 170 million dollars to influence legislation last year. Only 4 million dollars were spent by pro ethanol groups.
Big oil was not the only one who was bashing ethanol in the last years. Grocery stores and food processors were also trying to cover their increasing costs by blaming ethanol. They also spent a healthy sum in D.C.
Now the NASCAR racing group has decided to weigh in on the side of ethanol. This year all cars at NASCAR will sport a green ring around their fuel port promoting ethanol and the 15% ethanol blend that is being used in all cars. These are some of the best engines and best drivers in the world, and having them on your side will help ethanol’s image a lot. Every time they wave the green flag you will see a pro ethanol message. They are starting with E15, but expect to increase that blend level, after all, ethanol was the fuel that started many of those good old boys driving fast cars in the prohibition era.
So why ethanol?
- Ethanol blended gasoline is better for your lungs. Most major cities would be under smog alerts for much of the year without the help of ethanol.
- Ethanol produces jobs here in the U.S. There have been no new oil refineries built in the U.S. for many years, but ethanol is now being produced from our fields to replace 12% of our gasoline. The refineries to produce it are in the middle of the country, far away from hurricanes and tsunamis.
- Ethanol reduces the price of fueling your car. Just compare the cost of diesel fuel with gas. They used to track within a few cents of each other. Now a price advantage of 30 to 50 cents in not uncommon.
- No military are needed to protect our ethanol shipments from other countries. The military spends billions every year in some of the most troubled areas of the world to protect our oil interests.
- Ethanol spills will never foul our beaches. In fact ethanol readily breaks down if spilled, and it doesn’t have to go near the beach.
- Ethanol production has raised the price of corn on the farm. This means that fewer dollars are needed to support crop production when price levels are below cost of production.
To me it’s obvious, Ethanol is the better fuel choice. Now it’s up to you to decide, who are you going to believe, big oil, or your farmer neighbor.