Politicians and ethanol

In NJ, we are only too accustomed to our esteemed governor’s lies and obfuscations, but now Chris Christie is taking his habit of talking out of both sides of his mouth to the national level. The conservative Op-Ed columnist at The Star-Ledger has called Christie’s bluff regarding his TOTALLY different statements on ethanol, depending on whether he is addressing an audience in Iowa, or in New Hampshire, or in NJ–on one of the extremely rare occasions when he is actually in NJ.

I think that most of you will find this commentary interesting:

first from google

a person who is professionally involved in politics, especially as a holder of or a candidate for an elected office.
synonyms: legislator, elected official, statesman, stateswoman, public servant; More
a person who acts in a manipulative and devious way, typically to gain advancement within an organization.

Christie’s problem is that he isn’t very good at speaking out of both sides of his, um, mouth. He should take lessons from a virtuoso, like Bill Clinton. If it’s art, it’s tolerated.

I don’t have a problem with ethanol as fuel or a fuel enhancer. I have a problem with using corn. Cellulosic ethanol is becoming more prevalent. There are 3 factories that produce ethanol from cellulose, one from corn stalks and two from switch grass. I hope that those facilities are more successful than the corn ethanol plants and that any existing subsidies do not inhibit the move to cellulosic ethanol.

Another problem is not using ethanol properly. An outcome lie could use a straight or nearly straight ethanol fuel, but it should have a significantly higher compression ratio to use it most efficiently. Maybe as compression ratios increase to provide more power from small engines, blends like E85 or straight ethanol might be more efficient than they can be now.

I have a big problem with using corn for fuel as well. Bad policy. Cellulosic ethanol is OK since it is basically compost BUT all ethanol needs to be distilled with heat to create fuel. Too energy intensive to make auto fuel.

Bio-diesel is more efficient. Grow it from rapeseed (not a food product) and squeeze out the oils. Soybeans work, too, if you have an excess if you overplanted. There is processing involved to make it fuel but it take less energy than ethanol. Good cetane ratings, dandy fine diesel fuel mix and it doesn’t make you car or truck smell like french fries.

As for lying politicians, it is a rare one who doesn’t lie, on camera, weekly. With cell phone videos and 24-hour news, you can prove a liar moments after they’ve done it.

@Mustangman Rapeseed is also known as Canola and is definitely a foodstuff. A lot of cooking oil is made from it. In Canada some is grown for biodiesel but here is growing opposition to it.

I dont know if its the same plant,but Rape is good food for Deer ,in a food plot.
.Alcohol from sugarcane works well,checkout South Americas ethanol fuel.

“Alcohol from sugarcane works well,checkout South Americas ethanol fuel.”

Yeah…in tropical latitudes. Part of the ethanol push is national self-reliance, not just net energy gain: EtOH production may be energy-intensive, but all of the inputs are domestically sourced. Using (mostly imported) sugar cane ruins that aspect of it.

…and beisdes, you know who benefits from higher sugar cane prices? :wink:

@meanjoe75fan A few years ago I did some work in Brazil, and the fuel choices are mindboggling there. Our driver pulled up to tank gas and there were pumps for: 1) alcohol (methanol), 2) propane, 3) CNG, 3) 3 grades of gasoline and 4) diesel.

About a third of Brazilian cars run on ethanol, a completely local product.

Sugar cane needs no fertilizer or irrigation there, can be harvested by unskilled labor, and the residue form the distilling process is good cattle feed. In addition, the stalk waste itself (bagasse) provides the fuel for the boilers that power the distilling process.

Brazil got into the ethanol business in the 70s during the first oil crisis. The country believed it had little or no oil, which subsequently proved to be wrong. However, ethanol provided a secure local fuel, and the rest is history.

VW developed its ethanol burning engines in Brazil.

Not to give folks a headache, but there are LOTS of unintended consequences to the current ethanol mandates. There are all these billions of dollars in ethanol credits that have created a cottage industry in trading them. There was an article in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal about how it’s screwing up the market. The EPA just reduced the ethanol requirements, now the credits market is in turmoil. And it’s causing lots of problems for fuel buyers, Delta Airlines was mentioned. Sorry the article is behind a pay wall. Here’s another describing the issues:

All of this would have been avoided if there wasn’t the ethanol mandate in the first place.

Yeah, but the politicians that made hay with ethanol might not have been elected if they had behaved in the nation’s best interests. But it takes more than a few corn state legislators to get this legislation through congress. The rest of our representatives allowed it to happen.

There’s Ethanol (E-85) which last checked we hav a total of 4 stations in NH. Then there’s E-10 which is used as an oxygenate. The alternative is MTBE - which I’m not in favor of. Oxygenated gas is used to reduce certain types of pollutants. I’m all for that. Not really for E-85. Oxygenated gas has been around since the 70’s.

There are other, less polluting alternatives than MBTE. All cost more than ethanol and I’d rather not pay more than I have to. E10 is a reasonable alternative in Maryland.

Christie is a two-faced weasel but the same could be said for almost all politicians no matter if they’re Republican, Democrat, or Independent.

The current and prior Republican Govenor (Frank Keating) in OK are jokes. One of our prior Democrat Govenors went to Federal prison for racketeering and extortion. Another should have gone to prison but the DA (a Democrat political crony) stonewalled the felonies and allowed him to skate with a misdemeanor.

As far as I’m concerned our current Rep. Govenor Mary Fallin can move to New Joisey and pal around with Christie.
They’re two of a kind… :smiley:

Ethanol in fuel? It’s not about conservation of fossil fuels, the environment, or anything else other than money. Someone comes up with a niche, regulations appear, and the cash rolls in…

It’s fine to use ethanol for octane enhancement, and to eliminate MTBE. What I don’t want is a politically-driven ethanol mandate that does nothing but fuel the bureaucracy.

I’ve worked on several cellulose ethanol plant designs going back to the late '70s Carter synfuel push. One huge problem was always material handling. Corn stalks, switchgrass, wood waste; expensive to collect, ship, and store, and all a nightmare to move around and feed through a process dependably. A much more expensive process than corn, both to build and operate. (I’m NOT defending corn here.)

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the use of ethanol and politicians, not being chemist and relying on speechwriters to garner votes presents all sorts of contradictions. The bottom line is, early cars were made to run on alcohol and if properly prepared, do it quite easily now. Most cars, even if they aren’t labeled flex fuel are quite easly converted or just certified to run on ANY amount of ethanol. It’s more about politics then practicality. After all, if you found out tomorrow that your car was now certified to run on alcohol and could be sold at rediculouslty low prices, even with a slight performance disadvantage, everyone would drive by the gas stations. That’s why polititions beholding to all of their donors must do the “Texas side step” when talking about enegy sources. Throw in Nat gas and fracking measures to extract it, and you have another horror show as far pinning polititions down.

When science takes a back seat to politics when running for office, it’s every voter for himself.

I like what @Docnick has to say…it’s really that easy and simple to power cars with alcohol . And, if the car powering market were a truly free market with both gasoline and alchoholroducts competing side by side, the picture would not be nearly so confusing. The comsumer would make the choice.

Politics is so convoluted and fickle that oil and corn got in bed with each other and the offspring was ethanol which is a curse to most Americans but then most grand political schemes have unintended results that are far worse than the problems they were meant to address. And at this point ending ethanol will result in a downturn in midwestern agricultural regions and that in turn will spill over into tractor sales which will spill over into tire manufacturing, etc, ad nauseum. But then mention closing useless military bases to a member of congress and see his blood pressure jump.

Does anyone have a good handle on just how much of this country’s economy is based on useless “make work” debacles like ethanol in gasoline?

“Does anyone have a good handle on just how much of this country’s economy is based on useless “make work” debacles like ethanol in gasoline?”

How about farm subsidies for not growing certain crops?
This money was originally intended to go to struggling family farmers, but for at least the past 20 years, it has gone to mega-corporations that play the farm subsidy rules like a violin. And, we all pay for it–big time.

Its hard to comment without getting political but everyone needs a hair cut once in a while. I think its time for maybe a 50% hair cut at the EPA. Corn farmers wanted to increase their markets and ethanol was a way to do. They put the money up for a lot of the refineries too. That’s fine and they should be able to grow what they want and do what they want with it, but the government should stay out of it.

How about farm subsidies for not growing certain crops? This money was originally intended to go to struggling family farmers, but for at least the past 20 years, it has gone to mega-corporations that play the farm subsidy rules like a violin. And, we all pay for it--big time.

You could also make a case for we all benefit from it big time. We live in a country where food is so affordable that a major health problem of the poor is obesity.
Great big mega corporations don’t pay taxes, they collect taxes from their customers on behalf of the government. Every tax that farmers have to pay is included in the price of your food, whether it’s a family farm or a corporate farm.