Minnesota Farmer

Big Oil vs. all of us

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-598x426

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.


2 Comments so far
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Hi Michael, I am less enthusiastic about the current product that is ethanol than you but I do agree with you that Big Oil preys on our fears to continue feeding the beast.

For me ethanol’s value will dramatically improve when it is a product of switch grass and comes from land that normally would not sustain food crops. I understand that the corn used for ethanol is not a food or feed product, but considering what farming is all about, the growing of food, it seems that making ethanol from farm produce is just so convoluted.

But if we can create ethanol from non-arable lands using plants clearly not meant for consumption, that too me would be a big win.

Please comment on this and I will use some of this in my blog at 21st Century Tech.



Comment by lenrosen4

Perhaps you missed an earlier post where I explained that farmers have always been about food and fuel. When my grandparents were farming with horses they raised all of the fuel for farming themselves. They raised oats to fuel the horses and used corn cobs from the hog lot to heat the house, those and other farm raised products were a renewable fuel source. Farm folks have a long history of raising fuel. It was only in the years of cheap oil products as fuel that we moved away from the idea that farms produced fuel for the world, and those were some of the worst years on the farm.
As for using non-arable land, that will only be a short term solution. Eventually that also will need fertilizer added, perhaps in as few as 3 to 5 years. They will not be a magic bullet, just another way that farm folks will provide fuel for the world.

Comment by Michael

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