From Pine View Farm

we have created a hell of conundrum for ourselves 14

Conundrum defines an intricate and difficult problem. This is in regard to use of ethynol as a automobile fuel. The price of a bushel of corn doubled last year, from 2 to 4 dollars a bushel, causing food prices to rise to record levels. This sets up a painful problem: even if oil prices fall it will cause us to use more ethynol because we will drive more. Since our gas is mixed with corn oil, food prices will rise even higher causing, real hardship for families especially. Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place. We finally get lucky, but we don’t save a dime.



  1. Bill

    February 5, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Ethanol is one of the biggest hoaxes to be perpetrated on the American public in years. It uses more energy to create a gallon of ethanol than the ethanol produces. Ethanol cannot be transported via pipelines and, therefore, consumes energy in its own transportation. If does not mix well with gasoline and any water that may enter the fuel system. It deteriorates rubber hoses, fitting, gaskets and other materials. In marine use, it destroys fiberglass fuel tanks. A gallon of ethanol contains only 73% of the BTUs of a gallon of gasoline and only 76% of a gallon of butanol. Butanol is a far better answer.

    The problem is ethanol has its own powerful lobby. Butanol does not.

  2. Frank

    February 5, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    (I would not have said “hoax.” I would have said “scam.”)

    Yeah, but it makes the voters farmers in Iowa happy.

  3. Ray

    February 5, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    amen bill but now how do we get it out of our gas tanks? any ideas?

  4. Opie

    February 6, 2008 at 7:16 am

    Well the thing is, Bill, a lot of this stuff you warn about doesn’t come true. Here in Illinois we use gasahol as often as not and at first we had the same warnings. In that period of time, we drove a Honda Accord 200,000 miles and never had to replace a single hose. I’m starting to think the rubber deterioration warning is kinda like the swine flu.

  5. Karen

    February 6, 2008 at 7:53 am

    I read a story once about a couple of men who invented a fuel cell that had the potential to put the oil industry out of business. Needless to say, 1 of the pair was killed outright, & the other made it look like he killed himself to go into hiding, to finish the work.

    I wonder if it really was fiction?

  6. Ray

    February 6, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    TO KAREN When big money is at stake nothing seems to far fetched. Take a look at mr. tucker and his super safe car in 1947.

  7. Bill

    February 6, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    Well, Opie, I can point you in the direction of BOAT/US for a description of some of the problems ethanol presents in the boating environment. They have ample proof of the damage ethanol does to boats including engine problems and damaged fuel tanks. Now I know most folks who do not own a boat could care less, but having replaced a 75-gallon aluminum fuel tank and my share of fuel lines on my boat, it is a big deal – at least to me. Ethanol is less of an issue in the auto industry because the carmakers have adapted faster than the marine industry. In addition, boats are used differently than cars. Cars generally do not sit with the same fuel in their tanks for long periods. Boats do. If a boat (or car) that sits for an appreciable length time, the fuel will separate into layers of water, gasoline, and ethanol. In aluminum fuel tanks (used in most boats), the water will cause the tank to corrode from the inside. In fiberglass fuel tanks, the ethanol does not have to separate from the blend. The mere presence of ethanol causes damage. The ethanol attacks the fiberglass resin causing it to breakdown. The tank will eventually fail. A boat with a bilge full of fuel (especially gasoline and ethanol) is a dangerous, messy, expensive thing. Trust me, I know.

    Farmers usually plant the crop that brings them the highest price. The demand for ethanol has resulted in increased corn production and more corn-after-corn crop rotations.

    Corn production is not the most environmentally friendly agricultural practice – especially in corn-after-corn rotations. Higher corn prices have resulted in more farmers using a corn-after-corn rotation where they used soybean-after-corn previously. Corn requires high levels of nitrogen fertilize because corn (unlike soybeans) is rather inefficient in nitrogen uptake. This results in higher amounts of nitrogen runoff into stream resulting in “over nitrification” and decreased water quality. Over nitrification is one of the problems (if not the “big” problem) in the Chesapeake Bay. Nitrogen will also infiltrate ground water supplies in areas with shallow water tables. Folks drinking water from shallow wells are at risk from that excess nitrogen.

    I am not some tree-hugging environmentalist. I have worked in the agricultural field (no pun intended) for 32 years. Frank likes to tell folks that I attended a “Cow College” (The University In Virginia) and I have a degree in agriculture.

    Butanol is a gallon-for-gallon direct replacement for gasoline in almost all engine applications. Ethanol is not. I could fill up my 1997 Mazda pickup with butanol, drive off and never know the difference. If I filled the tank with ethanol, my truck would not make it back on the street. To run on ethanol, my vehicle still requires a significant amount of the blend to be gasoline. Yes, ethanol blends save some gas, but why not use butanol and save a lot more? Butanol can be made by fermenting a variety of biomass products without increasing corn prices (good for us, bad for corn farmers and the Corn Growers Association). As Frank points out, rising corn prices results in rising food prices. Actually, rising corn prices cause many prices to increase other than food chain items. I would also enable us to make good use of biomass waste materials rather than dumping them in landfills. A gallon of butanol contains almost the same amount of energy as a gallon of gasoline and significantly more energy than a gallon of ethanol. It can be transported through our existing pipeline system so there is no need to waste more energy transporting it via rail or trucks. Butanol is a far better alternative than ethanol – that is not fiction.

  8. Ray

    February 7, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Well done bill giving us a look at the horrible drawbacks of using food for full from both the farmers and boaters view is very helpful. Interestingly enough ethanol is hated by wall street as well.If you google vidio The sugar rush you here Jim Cramer and Dennis Gartman, two of the most famous mavens on wall street going ballistic on food for fuel. It is now starting to drive the price of all farm products higher. Bad for our economy and world hunger. Yet nobody seems to be aware of the obvious.

  9. Bill

    February 7, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    People are looking for an easy way out our dependency on foreign oil. Ethanol “looks” like a good deal on the surface. Home-grown, good for farmers, not imported… It’s not until you consider the ramifications of converting our major food and feed grain to a high demand alternative use do you see why Wall Street (and others) think this is a bad idea. The good thing about Butanol is that it is produced through a fermentation process. Most any biomass would work – switch grass, waste wood, even crop residue – a good way to dispose of waste. That plus the gallon-for-gallon replacement property of butanol for gasoline makes it a viable alternative IF the politicians would get behind it. One of our Delaware senators is a proponent of butanol. I’m sure it’s not because DuPont is doing research into butanol…

    So why the big push by the Feds for ethanol? I wonder if the fact that Iowa has a caucus has anything to do with it?

  10. Ray

    February 7, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    Bill funny you should mention the Iowa caucuses, so did Dennis Gartman on that cnbc vidio. None of the pols will talk about this in fear of losing opies vote i guess

  11. Opie

    February 7, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    I don’t have a dog in the fight, but I do have plenty of experience using ethanol for automotive purposes, and my only point was that some of the scare stories simply have not panned out. There are two levels of ethanol mixture available here – 10%, which you can burn in anything, and 85%, which your car has to be specifically built to run. (I guess you could retrofit one to burn E-85 but it wouldn’t be worth it.) My work van can burn E-85. It gets less mileage and sometimes starts a little rough if the engine is cold.

    As far as “planting corn-on-corn,” as the farmers here say it, I’m not worried about the farmers. They know exactly what they’re getting into.

  12. Ray

    February 7, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    Opie its not the viability as a fuel that has wall street concerned its having an adverse effect on consumers by driving overall food prices up, causing a slowdown in other areas of the economy People gotta eat.

  13. Bill

    February 7, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    Corn-after-corn crop rotations aren’t necessarily bad for the farmer, but corn-after-corn is bad for the environment. It’s the nitrogen runoff into surface water and nitrogen infiltration into ground water supplies that are the issue.

    On the other side, if we come to depend on corn for food and fuel, we may well become a corn deficit nation. Instead of (or in addition to) importing oil, we’ll be importing corn. I’d rather be energy dependent than food dependent. While agriculture continues to be a major exporter, we currently import about half the food we consume at the table. Homeland security should begin with our food supply.

  14. Ray

    February 8, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    bill and opie etanols many drawbacks are also being discussed on andrew sullivans right wing blog under the heading of unintended conequences. google it and check it out!