In this age of skyrocketing food prices and shortages, get rid of ethanol as a fuel!

I just checked the price of corn. It is $ 7.82 a bushel.
One bushel of corn makes 2.5 gallon of ethanol
That makes the feedstock price to make ethanol $3.13 a gallon. Add to that 50 cents to make the stuff and distribute it and the price per gallon is $ 3.63.
Since the heat content of ethanol is 70% of gasoline the gasoline equivalent price of ethanol is $ 5.11.
Over five bucks a gallon for ethanol! And that is before profit, blending, selling and taxes!
That’s the good news.
For the people that are worried about CO2 the bad news is:
To make corn you have to use 150 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer per acre. It takes the equivalent of 0.15 gallons of gasoline to produce one pound of nitrogen fertilizer. That comes to the equivalent of 22.5 gallons of gasoline to fertilize one acre. One acre of corn yields about 150 bushels of corn.
The fuel spent to produce one bushel of corn is therefore more than 0.15 gallons of gasoline. Since it also involves sowing, preparing the soil, cultivating, pesticides, phosphate fertilizer and harvesting it takes 0.25 gallons of fuel to produce one bushel of corn.
Here comes the kicker: When you ferment sugar into alcohol half the weight disappears as CO2! Let us examine the formula: C6H12O6 + Zymase → 2C2H5OH + 2CO2
The molecule weight of C2H5OH is 46 and the molecule weight of CO2 is 44.
Well almost half anyway.
Let us assume you have a car that gets 25 miles to the gallon and you drive 100 mile on pure gasoline. You have used 4 gallons of gasoline.
Now take the same car and drive 100 miles with a 10% ethanol mix, mandated by the EPA. Remember, they are concerned about CO2.
The ethanol has only 70% of the heat content of gasoline so the gas mileage will be lower. In addition the car’s computer was set at the stoichiometric point or leaner for pure gasoline so it will be a few percent less efficient. Add it all together and you will get 24 miles to the gallon at best.
So you consumed 3.75 gallons of gasoline and .375 gallons of ethanol, for a total of 4.125 gallons. We have all experienced this drop in gas mileage. And this is best case.
What about CO2 up in the air? In the gasoline case we produced 4 gallons worth of CO2.
In the ethanol mix case we produced 4.125 gallons worth of CO2.
Add to that another .375 gallons worth of CO2 from the fermentation, and another .0375 gallons worth of CO2 to produce the corn in the first place.
The sum total is 4.5375 gallons worth of CO2, or about 11.35% more than in the gasoline only case.
But corn does absorb CO2 when it grows! Doesn’t that count?
Corn is one of the worst crops for soil erosion and uses up other nourishments that will not be used if you make ethanol of it. Granted the cattle are happy for the cakes that are left when the sugar is removed.
In this age of looming food shortages nearly any other use of available tillable soil is to be preferred over ethanol production.
Oh, and one more thing. Assume that pure gasoline is 4 dollars a gallon at the pump.
Unsubsidized 10% ethanol blend should be $5.80 a gallon.
But we subsidize the ethanol production so the price is still 4 dollars a gallon at the pump.
If we used pure gasoline the hundred mile trip would cost sixteen dollars.
If we paid full price for the ethanol blend we would pay $ 17.75 for the trip and produce 11.35% more CO2.
We are really paying $ 16.50 for the trip, produce 11.35% more CO2 and leave a bill of $1.25 for our grandchildren to pay, plus accrued interest.
This is EPA legislation at work.



  1. David Wells
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    WOW! – as a graduate in Ag-Economics from the state university located in the number one gross dollar agricultural production county in the United States; – I can say, with veracity, that you are “spot on target” regarding your analysis!!! Other than the professional academic analysis done by the University of Minnesota, Ag-Economics department, this is the best most comprehensive analysis I’ve seen. Nuts to the emotional and political abstract arguments, give me scientific logical mathematics numbers any day! Congratulations! My hat is off to you in salute! Great Job! David_Wells_59 at Yahoo dot com in Fresno California

  2. Posted December 15, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    o Many people will be having a fish tank in their home,
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    But now, with the disastrous flooding going on in Pakistan, we have seen firsthand that too much water is equally
    a killer as drought and dryness. First, why should I buy a product to put something into
    my body when I could have just as easy left it in by filtering my water instead of using a pure water distiller.

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