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The Race for Ethanol

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The Case Against Ethanol Opponents: They Are Simply Incorrect

August 29th 2016

new cars close up

I can't say for sure, since I haven't done a count and compared it to a calendar, but it seems to me that the American oil industry has been ramping up its attacks on ethanol and trying to gain ground by adding in more high-powered lapdogs to press their fallacious arguments. These minions come from universities and think-tanks (what I like to call stink-tanks).

Of course, it could just be my impression based upon my own current amped up attention to the attacks. And the reason my attention may be at a peak level is because of the events I've participated in over the past four months. I've just returned to the U.S. from a very exciting and informative trip to Australia. The purpose of my visit was to speak at the Australian National Biofuels Symposium, at which I'm very honored to say that I was one of the keynote speakers within a program that featured a many extremely knowledgeable professionals.

Prior to Australia, I was one of the speakers at a Congressional Briefing in Washington. I was one of four panel members at a morning session, and then I participated in several one-on-one personal meetings during the day. Prior to the Washington event, I was asked by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Grains Council to speak at an APEC (Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Biofuels conference in Taiwan.

One of the basic errors that the gasoline lapdogs make is that they act as if gasoline and petroleum diesel were some type of healthful elixir, and that in attempting to insert ethanol fuels into the market that the perfumed life-giving essence of fossil fuels are being polluted by greedy, evil farmers. This is evidenced in such recent works of deception as those articles written by John DeCicco, Research Professor at University of Michigan Energy Institute; Daniel De La Torre Ugarte, Research Professor, Department Of Agricultural And Resource Economics University Of Tennessee; and Carlisle Ford Runge, Professor of Applied Economics and Law at the University of Minnesota. These recent works of tragedy can be found by clicking on the above names.

The reality is that gasoline and petroleum diesel fuel, along with the various additives manufactured by the oil industry, are vile deadly substances. The only possible thing that could be more harmful to the public is if the oil industry just pumped large quantities of sarin into the atmosphere. And the use of the benign word "aromatics" to refer to such additives as benzene and toluene are as much of a cruel joke as that which awaited incoming prisoners at Nazi concentration camps when they were told they were just being given a cleansing shower. By the way, I didn't just reference the actions of the Nazis out of coincidence; please remember that Standard Oil did collaborate with the Nazis during World War II.

What's the bottom line difference between gasoline/aromatics and ethanol? Here's three videos that speak volumes:










Okay, so we have the three "distinguished" professors, who might have been right at home working alongside Josef Mengele, arguing that ethanol production produces more harmful gases than the production of gasoline and diesel fuel. And one of the ways that they arrive at this spurious position is by calculating in the harmful emissions given off by the various machines used in the crop growing and ethanol delivery process. Clearly no one explained to them that storks don't find and deliver finished fossil fuel products to filling stations around the world.

And I guess these three stooges don't know about all the CO2 and other harmful gases that are emitted in the process of defending oil around the world. I guess they think that all the planes, and ships, and armored vehicles, and personnel carriers run on magic non-polluting fairy dust. And then no one explained to them that the production of all the weapons and ammunition requires energy usage. Oh, and then there's the manufacture of all the uniforms for all the service personnel, as well as all the food and the housing. And then there are the pollutants given off every time a shell or bomb explodes, and every time an individual weapon is discharged. And then all emissions used by first-responder vehicles when they are called to the scene of a related terrorist attack. And then all the harmful emissions related to cleaning up oil disasters, not to mention the bodies of all the dead animals killed as a result of the oil disasters.

While I'm on the subject of dead bodies, do you think that the three schlemiels ever consider the millions of people killed in the wars waged over oil? I have a feeling they don't.

About a day after John DeCicco and the University of Michigan published their story, MichBio, the biosciences industry association in Michigan, issued a statement about DeCicco in which they wrote:

"It's unfortunate when scientists conduct research predicated on assumptions that lead to biased results, rather than conducting a truly independent analysis," said Stephen Rapundalo, PhD, President and CEO, MichBio. "Moreover, the Petroleum Institute’s direct funding of the research calls into question any impartiality on the part of the research team and hence the study’s conclusions."

"In sum, this study is an attempt by the oil industry to smear the biofuels industry and stifle competition in the fuels market. It ignores the benefits of Michigan's homegrown biofuels industry, and if its conclusions were to be valid stands to hinder a potential economic driver for Michigan and the U.S."

Moreover, Argonne National Laboratory has stated that ethanol reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by an average of 34 percent compared to gasoline, even when the highly controversial and disputed theory on Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) is factored into the modeling. Additionally, Argonne has found that without ILUC included, ethanol reduces GHG emissions by 57 percent compared to gasoline.

When Daniel De La Torre Ugarte issued his report this past May, The Auto Channel (along with several others) took him to task for his oil industry paid-for conclusions. Here is what we published: ARE ETHANOL OPPONENTS SNIFFING GLUE?.

As for C. Ford Runge, he tried hitting the whole litany of oil industry created lies about ethanol. And he even quoted Emily Cassidy from the Environmental Working Group as an informational resource. I don't think Ms. Cassidy and the entire EWG could find their way out of a paper bag that has opening at both ends. However, in reading Mr. Runge's article it's clear that all he did to collect his bounty from the oil industry was to restate the same old tired and well refuted oil industry lies.

Here's what I'd like to know: When C. Ford Runge is called a "distinguished professor," does that really mean that he's distinguished (apart) from those professors who actually know what they're talking about?

The oil industry's tutelage of professors makes a mockery of academia. But why should the oil industry care if they ultimately ruin the honor and prestige of the professors they're buying, after all they are perfectly willing to sacrifice the lives of millions of soldiers, sailors and airmen to protect their filthy empire.

But there's two very interesting things about all of the oil industry's machinations to defame ethanol. The first is that next generation automobile engines will require fuels with greater octane levels than E10 can provide. The engines will need E20, E30, E40, and so on. The only alternative is to increase the amount of benzene/toluene, which is too costly and too dangerous. So ultimately the oil industry will probably start buying up ethanol distilleries so that they can keep the profits. Won't it be funny to see how the oil industry changes its tune on ethanol?

The second thing is that many of the same cars and boats sold in America are also sold in countries like Brazil and Thailand, and they have significantly higher minimum ethanol blend mandates then the U.S. These cars and boats all work fine. This means that the warnings and warranty restrictions currently given by OEMs in America is nonsense.


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