The Government Scam Us All as Oil Companies Profit

by : Michael Cooper

You've heard the hype, the 'Flex Fuel Vehicles', the 'E85 Green Fuel', the 'Ethanol Blended Gas'. Oil companies are touting their embrace of Ethanol as them going green, but how green is Ethanol really?

What is Ethanol fuel?

Ethanol is a grain alcohol. It's also commonly known as Ethyl Alcohol or hydroxyethane. The Ethanol used in fuel for cars is denatured (you can't get drunk off of it) and is primarily made from corn. This is where one of the largest issues comes from. Growing corn for the Ethanol is not the most efficient use of energy or resources. It costs more to grow and harvest corn than many other fuels. The planting, fertilizing, harvesting, transportation and refining of the corn is actually a net-negative energy expense. Basically it uses more fuel to harvest and truck it around than we get from it.

All cars can burn a mild blend of Ethanol and Gasoline, usually 10% Ethanol and 90% Gasoline. Flex Fuel Vehicles can run regular gas, all the way up to 85% Ethanol and 15% gasoline.

Burning Ethanol made from corn is bad for the environment.

You're kidding, right? I get asked this a lot. Look it up, though. Don't take my word for it, check The Google. You'll find that the only people really promoting using Corn for Ethanol are lobbyists and farmers unions that need to give their farmers something to grow. Interestingly enough, the oil companies have no issues at all with Ethanol as an alternative fuel.

I really didn't have to look hard or long to find out why.

As it turns out, Ethanol fits nicely with the current refinement and distribution system that the oil companies have in place. Ethanol still takes big plants to refine and the distribution channels to gas stations remains the same. We're still all stuck burning a fuel that they deliver to us. Sure they don't have the oil revenue, but that's getting more and more expensive to obtain all the time. With the government subsidizing corn for Ethanol it's quite cheap to get. That explains why nearly all fuel at the pump is already E10 (10% Ethanol) or E6 in California.

Give that some thought. Your tax dollars are paying to subsidize the growing of corn that is being sold nice and cheap to the oil companies who are turning around and selling it to you at 40 cents a gallon. That's right; you are paying twice for 40 cents on the gallon. As the price of gas goes up that will soon hit $1. I can barely fathom a system where we pay the government to give fuel to the oil companies who then charge us for it.

It all goes one step further. The whole notion of using corn for fuel would be a lot more reasonable if the government hadn't stopped subsidizing the rail lines. Rail can haul cargo with unbelievable efficiency. A train can move a ton of cargo 413 miles on a gallon of diesel. That is compared to the average car which can move 2 tons (with passengers) 30 miles on a gallon of fuel. That's 680% more efficient, or the equivalent of getting about 204 miles per gallon from your car.

Yet the government has ceased supporting smaller cargo train lines and now millions of tons of cargo is hauled on the highways, wearing them down and consuming much, much more fuel than if it were hauled by train, and they subsidize the industry that does this, and not the one that is 680% more efficient and that is going away.

Completely Ridiculous.

There are some interesting possibilities out there, Soy being one of them. There is a possibility that soy could be used to make Ethanol and Biodiesel, but that is some time away. All the while other, valid fuels are being ignored, or under-researched. One being Hydrogen/HHO conversion from water, and another being advances in solar panels that could drastically increase their performance and our ability to have completely electrical cars.

Though we doubt you really ever believed them, don't drink in the Oil Company's kool-aid the next time you see one of their commercials touting how green they are. The diesel fuel it takes to haul that corn to the refinery they own is making them so much money that they are laughing all the way to the bank.