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Author Topic: Politics and ethanol Back to Topics
Veteran Author

Joined:May 2013
Message Posted: May 31, 2013 2:52:05 PM

It seems that the ethanol industry benefits AND suffers from being in a really awkward position between the political extremes (in America).

What I mean is... the case for biorefining can be made by both liberals and conservatives, depending on the economic or environmental discussion at hand. At the same time, since either side can see ethanol as a waving stick for the "other side", neither side is 100% eager to speak for the industry.

I think the biorefining movement is truly an "independent" point between the political poles and while that's kind've awesome in its own way, that's not always the most energized place to be. The very fact that the industry is spurred by government regulations and agriculture (farmers) at the same time is a conundrum.

What can the industry do to rile up its most honest and energized supporters without kicking up political "dust"?
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All-Star Author Grand Rapids

Joined:May 2005
Message Posted: Jun 1, 2013 12:30:05 PM


IMHO, the industry needs to stop talking bout making fuel and START talking about making vehicles flex fuel capable. Then let the drivers make their choice.

IN ADDITION, the EPA needs to drop its ban on using methanol as an automotive fuel. There is no reason why we should be forbidden to mix methanol into our gasoline tanks with ethanol and gasoline.

Sadly, methanol challenges the market niche of the farmers and biorefiners. However, methanol is cheapest since it can be easily made from natural gas. Methanol can also be made from most any carbon-bearing compound, we can make it from yard waste, coal, sawdust, switch grass, recycled urban trash, and many other feedstocks.

Methanol doesn't quite pack the energy that ethanol has. However, it's clean and easy enough to make in large quantities. It is also safer than gasoline to transport over the road. It is water soluble and extinguishes with water.

Back to darwinfinch's question, I'll return to my original suggestion. Make all cars flex fuel and let consumers make their choices. On any given day, gasoline or ethanol will be cheaper so flexibility to adjust to changing market conditions is really the way to go.

C ya,

Champion Author Oakland

Joined:Aug 2012
Message Posted: Jun 1, 2013 8:35:19 AM

Some good discussion on this board.
What is unfortunate is that the word politics means seeking what is right.
We get the words policy and police from the word.
Definition of POLITICS
a : the art or science of government
b : the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy
c : the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government

Thus we get the governenet we deserve- Serving the interests of those with the power, which boils down to political power.
Therefore, we tend to emphasize control over guiding. We tend to want to force it the way we want for our own self interests. Our Constitution was IMHO very broad minded, and didn’t seek to serve anyone in particular’s special interest. The preamble is clearly non-biased as anything can be.
But our culture of self interests distorts our politics.

Such as “fake it until you make it”
Abe Lincoln said.” You can fool some of the people all of the
time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”
PT Barnum "There's a Sucker Born Every Minute"
Groucho Marx: The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.
Proverbs 11:3 - The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity
This integrity cannot be faked!
The oil industry, nor the ethanol industry is inspired by truth, but their own interests. This is where we are with modern politics.
Champion Author Lexington

Joined:May 2005
Message Posted: Jun 1, 2013 6:25:40 AM

The only thing I know for sure is that ethanol cuts down gas milage in most vehicles by 1-4 mpg as opposed to whole gas, to which we should have a choice in the matter.
Champion Author Houston

Joined:Mar 2011
Message Posted: May 31, 2013 10:21:03 PM

Unfortunately energy policy including renewables and all other forms of energy usually only get lip service around election time. There is no coherent policy concerning ethanol or any of the green fuels. Obama specifically stated more than once he wanted the price of gas to increase in order to push for more renewable fuels. The fact that the RFA was put into law under a Republican and continues to operate and grow under a Democratic administration proves that energy and partisan politics don't always differ.

As far as I can tell the underlying fundamental concern for any federal elected official is to make sure there is enough fuel (mostly petroleum based) to allow for economic growth without stalling the economy with to high of energy prices while continuing to support green initiatives and funding many of them (primarily wind, and solar) to advance them where they can but for the time being always ultimately relying on oil as the fallback position.

In other words what that long winded response means is politicians will do whatever the voters feel they want at any particular time and for the last 4 years it has been about price and that's what drives US fuel consummers.

[Edited by: brerrabbitTX at 5/31/2013 10:22:17 PM EST]
All-Star Author Appleton

Joined:Apr 2010
Message Posted: May 31, 2013 3:19:33 PM

darwinfinch, great topic. Great question. But I don't know the answer. I debate this stuff, am pro biorefining, and have been labeled by some to a political "slant". Those who have labeled me could not be farther from the truth, which is ironic.

The problem is that the issue of ethanol/biofuels has become political because of the nature of POLITICS, not the issue of energy. Politicians try to politicize everything. I am pro biofuels because I am of the belief that the best thing for just about everyone is abundant and clean energy that can support economic activity. I believe oil is old news and when compared to biofuels, very energy negative and dirty. By that statement alone it is impossible to make a conclusion about one's politics. It's about how I view petroleum, and how I view biofuels. Nothing else. Yet people think they they can determine my politics. CRAZY!

Going back to 2004 Presidential election (Bush vs. Kerry) I recall reading up on their stances, and seeing very little difference in regards to what they claim they supported. Same with 2008, and again in 2012. From the stance proclaimed on each party's "official candidate websites" it was the one thing they seemed to agree on. Energy security and independence are universal, but ignorance has allowed it to be politicized. Thank goodness science continues to drive the biofuels progress we are making.

To your last statement. I agree, this issue just isn't political. But every issue gets twisted and politicized somehow it seems.

[Edited by: Hannie59 at 5/31/2013 3:25:50 PM EST]
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