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Author Topic: Getting away from biofuels Back to Topics
Oredigger94

Champion Author
Dayton

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Message Posted: Sep 30, 2013 1:11:37 PM

Last week marked the end of the 2013 legislative session. Despite the annual ritual of political gamesmanship, party leaders actually came together in a rare act of solidarity to oppose a controversial energy policy being implemented by the Obama Administration.

As I testified to Congress last year, increasing levels of biofuels mandated in California have already harmed food prices, the environment, employment, vehicles and our economy.

Led by the efforts of Central Valley legislators Republican Kristin Olsen and Democrat Susan Eggman, the California State Legislature passed a joint resolution urging Congress to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program and to quickly transition away from biofuel sources that compete with food production, such as corn-ethanol.
Visit Stockton Record for full article
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lesndave
Champion Author Texas

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Message Posted: Oct 1, 2013 11:23:57 PM

Ok
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MAC48
Champion Author Dallas

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Message Posted: Oct 1, 2013 8:36:34 PM

One is hard pressed argue with the necessity to continue R&D into "drop-in biofuels" produced from algae or industrial/farming/home waste byproducts such as grass trimmings, sawdust, tree limbs, etcetera. One can logically be adamantly opposed to any biofuel be it "drop-in" or additive (think ethanol here) that is produced from any possible animal or human food crop. Three question concerning biofuels due come to mind.

The first question is whether or not US taxpayer dollars are being wasted on the operational use of "biofuels" as opposed to R&D testing. It is reasonable to think or hope that economically and operationally justified "drop-in biofuels" produced from algae or industrial/farming/home waste byproducts will be achievable in the future thus justifying taxpayer R&D grants. It is also reasonable to think that that US taxpayer dollars are being wasted subsidizing the commercial production of non-"drop-in biofuels" such as ethanol.

The second question is whether or not it was wise for the US Congress to create annual use mandates for biofuels in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 with the annual usage mandates being increased by law in 2007. The answer to this question is that it was very foolish for the US Congress to create the usage mandate, a.k.a. Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) in the first place and the obvious answer is to repeal the law that established the RFS usage mandates ASAP.

The third question is whether or not economically and operationally justified "drop-in biofuels" produced from algae or industrial/farming/home waste byproducts will be achieved in the 21st or the 22nd century or ever.
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pricewar
Champion Author Ogden

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Message Posted: Oct 1, 2013 1:50:06 AM

Ok
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goldrose1
Champion Author Cleveland

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Message Posted: Oct 1, 2013 12:50:00 AM

Why do we have to pay more for food before legislators realize foolishness?
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traffic cop
Champion Author Boston

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Message Posted: Sep 30, 2013 11:46:35 PM

Finally some sanity on the so-called sustainable energy mess. And to think it comes from California (!) and is bipartisan (!!!).
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Eugenian
Champion Author Oregon

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Message Posted: Sep 30, 2013 11:37:35 PM

The problem isn't biofuels per se, but rather the source material we use to make them in the USA. Make them from weeds (switchgrass, etc.) or from factory-grown algae, not from food crops.

[Edited by: Eugenian at 9/30/2013 11:38:53 PM EST]
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TomT2Lee
Champion Author Cincinnati

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Message Posted: Sep 30, 2013 9:52:19 PM

Not going to help long term if biofuels drop out completely.
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sarasotasingle
Champion Author Sarasota

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Message Posted: Sep 30, 2013 7:43:42 PM

I agree with my GB cgrey8

Again, some clarifications to an opinion piece from somebody getting their facts wrong or incomplete.

1. The EPA didn't "require" the use of E15. They approved it's use. E15 always was intended to be an option at the pump, not a replacement. Options are good things. That doesn't mean you should opt to use it if your gas-burning engine would be harmed by E15 or if it just doesn't make financial sense to use it. If E15 were to be available to you and you didn't want it, simply keep your finger off the that button same as you would mid-grade or premium if it was your intention to just get regular. How hard is that?

2. I do agree that the Renewable Fuels Act mandate requiring ever higher usage of ethanol is bad. What I don't think is going to solve this problem is simply saying the ethanol can't be from corn. That makes the problem worse actually. The only options available at that point are to import ethanol from places like Brazil or make it from even more expensive sources. The real answer is to no longer REQUIRE ethanol use. That doesn't mean ban it's use. It just means don't mandate it if the cost is higher than we want to pay or if people simply don't want it.

3. When the economy picks back up, I fully expect demand for gasoline to go back up. My hope is that fracking, Canadian oil sands, and off-shore domestic drilling will be able to supply that future demand. However if it can't, I think having ethanol as an available option to help fill the void won't be a bad thing. There are quite a number of FlexFuel vehicles that can burn it. And if the choice were $5/gal for gasoline or $3/gal for E85, you'd be far better to buy the ethanol even though it reduces your MPG. As long as the overall fuel economy (Mile/$) is better than gasoline, it's the better deal. And from a national standpoint, having vehicles that can safely use E85, burn it instead would relieve some demand off of gasoline. Again, choice is a good thing.

4. I don't like the food-for-fuel argument. It is true that using corn for fuel does raise the price of food because corn that might have gone to feed a cow now goes to make ethanol. So if a farmer wants to feed his cow, he's got to pay more for the corn or feed the cow something else. While that sounds bad, this is capitalism. From the farmer's standpoint, he should be allowed to sell his corn to whomever will pay the most for it. Whether that corn is sold for cow feed or to make ethanol should not be of concern to the farmer, nor should anybody dictate who he can and cannot sell his product to. We live in an open market and if a product that once was cheap and in abundance suddenly is valuable, we as consumers must learn to adjust and accept this. The problem with the food-for-fuel argument is there's no REAL demand for corn to be made into ethanol. It's an manufactured demand by our gov't thanks to the Renewable Fuels Act. Get rid of that mandate, and I guarantee you'll see corn prices drop to a "fair" price.

[Edited by: cgrey8 at 9/30/2013 2:04:19 PM EST]
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crep1291
Champion Author Ottawa

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Message Posted: Sep 30, 2013 5:26:32 PM

Refiners don't have to buy corn ethanol. They can use any other source of ethanol (like cellulosic ethanol or sugar cane ethanol). Heck, they don't even have to use ethanol; they could blend biodiesel or butanol.
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7SPEEDY7
Champion Author Flint

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Message Posted: Sep 30, 2013 2:37:36 PM

ineresting
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humblepie
Champion Author Toledo

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Message Posted: Sep 30, 2013 2:23:15 PM

time to repeal the rfs
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TripleHs
Champion Author Austin

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Message Posted: Sep 30, 2013 2:23:12 PM

i am against obtaining ethanol from corn but i have to say that biofuels doesn't necessarily mean to get energy from food
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cgrey8
Champion Author Atlanta

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Message Posted: Sep 30, 2013 1:56:31 PM

Again, some clarifications to an opinion piece from somebody getting their facts wrong or incomplete.

1. The EPA didn't "require" the use of E15. They approved it's use. E15 always was intended to be an option at the pump, not a replacement. Options are good things. That doesn't mean you should opt to use it if your gas-burning engine would be harmed by E15 or if it just doesn't make financial sense to use it. If E15 were to be available to you and you didn't want it, simply keep your finger off the that button same as you would mid-grade or premium if it was your intention to just get regular. How hard is that?

2. I do agree that the Renewable Fuels Act mandate requiring ever higher usage of ethanol is bad. What I don't think is going to solve this problem is simply saying the ethanol can't be from corn. That makes the problem worse actually. The only options available at that point are to import ethanol from places like Brazil or make it from even more expensive sources. The real answer is to no longer REQUIRE ethanol use. That doesn't mean ban it's use. It just means don't mandate it if the cost is higher than we want to pay or if people simply don't want it.

3. When the economy picks back up, I fully expect demand for gasoline to go back up. My hope is that fracking, Canadian oil sands, and off-shore domestic drilling will be able to supply that future demand. However if it can't, I think having ethanol as an available option to help fill the void won't be a bad thing. There are quite a number of FlexFuel vehicles that can burn it. And if the choice were $5/gal for gasoline or $3/gal for E85, you'd be far better to buy the ethanol even though it reduces your MPG. As long as the overall fuel economy (Mile/$) is better than gasoline, it's the better deal. And from a national standpoint, having vehicles that can safely use E85, burn it instead would relieve some demand off of gasoline. Again, choice is a good thing.

4. I don't like the food-for-fuel argument. It is true that using corn for fuel does raise the price of food because corn that might have gone to feed a cow now goes to make ethanol. So if a farmer wants to feed his cow, he's got to pay more for the corn or feed the cow something else. While that sounds bad, this is capitalism. From the farmer's standpoint, he should be allowed to sell his corn to whomever will pay the most for it. Whether that corn is sold for cow feed or to make ethanol should not be of concern to the farmer, nor should anybody dictate who he can and cannot sell his product to. We live in an open market and if a product that once was cheap and in abundance suddenly is valuable, we as consumers must learn to adjust and accept this. The problem with the food-for-fuel argument is there's no REAL demand for corn to be made into ethanol. It's an manufactured demand by our gov't thanks to the Renewable Fuels Act. Get rid of that mandate, and I guarantee you'll see corn prices drop to a "fair" price.

[Edited by: cgrey8 at 9/30/2013 2:04:19 PM EST]
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vjs3
Champion Author Denver

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Message Posted: Sep 30, 2013 1:27:50 PM

I'd be surprised if we truly got away from them.
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madison8359
Champion Author Cleveland

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Message Posted: Sep 30, 2013 1:17:58 PM

Not going to happen.

Biofuels are here to stay.
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