Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Why We Need U.S. Produced Ethanol (Part 1)

Currently a "War on Ethanol" is being conducted primarily by Tea Party Republicans to "Get big government out of America's gas tanks". Examples include: U.S. Rep. Goodlatte (R-Va.) to completely eliminate the National Renewable Fuel Standard, and State Representative Matt Gaetz (R) to eliminate ~10% ethanol blending with gasoline in Florida. Recently, a FOX TV station in Orlando reported that they asked people on the street, and found very little support for ethanol use in Florida.

Really, nobody can make a lucid argument anymore why U.S. produced ethanol is important? Are Fox News and Rush Limbaugh types right that its all about the Green, Global Warming Agenda by Obama to create a New World Order of Socialism? Are ethanol requirements all about Big Government trying to take away personal liberties? Is it about Government intervention into "Free Market Capitalism" to pick winners and losers?

Lets see if we can help out a little. Does anyone vaguely remember something that happened on 9/11/2001, where 15 of the 19 Terrorists were from (and funded by) Saudi Arabia? Anyone?, Anyone?

How about Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who are in a strategic anti-American alliance with the economic objective to create instability resulting in high oil prices. As Chavez said in a recent speech in Iran -- "If the U.S. empire succeeds in consolidating its dominance, then humankind has no future. Therefore, we have to save humankind and put an end to the U.S. empire".

What is so disconcerting is just how quickly America has lost focus on why National (enacted in 2005) and Florida (enacted in 2008) Renewable Fuel Standards were originally initiated in the first place. Current news headlines of Iran threatening to block oil shipments through through the Strait of Hormuz and the civil unrest in Nigeria should be a wake up call.

One must wonder how Tea Party types would have responded to a question of whether the U.S. should continue trade with Germany and Japan (funding their economies for their war effort) during World War II.


Funding Terrorism Through Our Gas
Purchases Isn't Supporting U.S. Troops.

In presenting why U.S. ethanol production is important, maybe the arguments just have not been entertaining as much as say, Rush Limbaugh. For those who need to be entertained, does the Jon Stewart (Daily Show) clip help on why oil purchases from places like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia is not in America's best interest?

Cold Hard Facts: We used to say "You're entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts". Listening to Conservative Media, one would conclude that U.S. ethanol policies (only enacted in 2005) have been an abysmal failure.

Let's spend a moment to look into some of the numbers of foreign oil imports and U.S. ethanol production. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in 2010 the U.S. imported about 63% of its crude oil requirements (the type of oil used to produce gasoline). Also according to the DOE, combined oil imports from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela would represent the single largest source of U.S. imported oil.

Again using U.S. Department of Energy information, the below chart compares the gasoline equivalent of U.S. produced ethanol to gasoline produced from Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Venezuela oil imports. Although many Republicans would disagree, the below chart sure looks encouraging as to efforts in developing domestic resources.

A common rebuttal to the above chart from Conservative Media and Republican Tea Party types is that "no one can PROVE that U.S. ethanol production reduces foreign oil imports from un-friendly places like Saudi Arabia or Venezuela". It is because of this common rebuttal that the above chart compares only the FACTS of current gasoline production.

Since oil is a world-wide commodity with extremely complex international pricing dynamics, no one can authoritatively state what any one specific event would result in. For example, using this Conservative "Think Tank" logic, one could also state that "no one can PROVE increased U.S. oil production would decrease oil imports from Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, or Venezuela". Maybe increased U.S. oil production would only decrease oil imports from friendly countries like Canada or Mexico. Also, no one can PROVE that building the Keystone project (high price oil from costly tar sands extraction) will result in lower oil imports from Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, or Venezuela.

Its time to stop playing silly ideological games and get to work in seriously developing all domestic energy resources for transportation fuels -- including oil, natural gas, and ethanol/bio-diesel.

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