ETHANOL -- The worst mandate ever gets even worse

When politicians get control of science and the inept or dishonest scientists, nothing good comes of it. There are many examples -- global warming (aka climate change) is the most prominent. The ethanol mandate, although a part of the climate change mania, stands on its own as arguably the most ridiculous mandate of all time. President Jimmy Carter, who was influenced by a misguided college professor, can be charged with the mistake of promulgating the ethanol mandate.  Of course, Al Gore is the politician who played the global warming issue like a drum and has benefited financially from it. Use of ethanol in motor fuel is not a net positive either in costs or in impact on the environment.... enormous hype to the contrary notwithstanding.

Ethanol does not have the positive effect on the environment as touted. It has only about 60% of the specific energy of petroleum fuel, which begs use of more fuel to achieve the same energy as petroleum fuel. And, so it does. I have my own experience over nearly a year using 100% pet fuel alternately with 10% ethanol fuel on 500-mile round trips in a full-sized Chrysler sedan with a 3.5 cubic inch V-6 engine. The 10% ethanol fuel consistently gave less gas mileage, averaging 11.5% less over the year. How positive is that? No way to justify the claim of emission of less pollutants either. Why? The fuel usage  is only part of the equation.

Ethanol also produces more oxides of nitrogen (which is never acknowledged!). Oxides of nitrogen are precursors to "acid rain." How many times have you heard that acknowledged?

From consuming water growing the corn to using water to produce the ethanol, it's been reported that up to 1700 gallons of water are necessary to produce one gallon of ethanol. I have the reports and will try to verify, but water usage is huge.

Ethanol destroys many engine components, and most vehicles with some age on them will simple fail. SMALL engines for boats, equipment etc. simply are ravaged by ethanol. Ask any boater!

Ethanol disrupts food production and adds substantially to the costs of some foods, clearly those using corn, when supply and demand are out of balance. I contracted in Mexico for 12 years (until 2008) during the ramp-up of ethanol usage. The price of corn tacos, the staple food of many poorer Mexicans, doubled and then increased 50% again before I left there. Food prices in the USA also increased, but most inflation data omits the cost of food. Individuals should know it, but do they? Apparently few do.

Only ethanol producers and the lobbyists for them as well as big agricultural firms benefit from ethanol in fuel. This is absolutely not right!!

Carter started it, the Bush administration increased the usage mandate, and now the Obama administration is trying to increase it 50% again with the false justification of decreasing auto fuel prices. How misguided and dishonest can our government be. Take your choice -- dishonest or stupid -- neither is acceptable. Somehow this nonsense must be stopped


  1. C. Misak19 May, 2012

    Very informative article. So well written, I feel like an instant expert on the subject. Thanks, Joe.

  2. Thank you, Chuck. When politicians use science to serve their prejudices, either ignorantly (Carter I believe) or through both ignorance and dishonesty or for commercial gains (Al Gore!!), all Americans lose. Ethanol in gasoline epitomizes this.

  3. Rosalita20 May, 2012

    Excellent article. There are far too many 'dishonest', untruthful, evil programs, policies, rules, regulations, etc. that are being exercised in the U.S. which are never reported OR published when written as well and concisely as yours. Furthermore, if the public hears the same things over and over and over they begin to BELIEVE ---that's called brainwashing!

  4. Anonymous20 May, 2012

    Great article Joe. However, the environmental extremists will continue to beat their drum on the benefits of this addative. More worrying is the fact that our kids are getting a steady dose of propaganda on ethanol.
    Michael Kirby

    1. Thanks, Michael. You're so correct. Even my 10-year old granddaughter has begun to notice the bias. Be well, my friend.

  5. Anonymous20 May, 2012

    Your comments on Ethanol have been echoed by my daughter who lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa for years. The only local cars that voluntary use Ethanol are police and other government owned vehicles.

    Donn Gorman
    CARMA Member

    1. Thank you, Donn. It's a travesty that real science is so ignored for the politics. Can your daughter access 100% petroleum fuel in Iowa? Of course, you know that Iowa is one state that lobbies for the mandate. You may know that I am a chemist and did R&D for years. This mandate is idiotic. Be well.

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