This should be a shock to nobody but the Greens.
Ever since the beginning of the ethanol mandate it was obvious to anybody with eyes to see that the whole thing was a boondoggle and a huge waste for everybody except ADM. What the Greens failed to understand is that if you prop up corn prices by buying, distilling and burning massive amounts of corn whisky in cars, two things are going to happen. One the price is going to go up, making things like cow feed and other uses of corn more expensive and 2. farmer are going to, without restraints, plant ever larger amounts of corn, which will 1. push out other crops like wheat and 2. require more land use to plant even more corn. Which is why you can now go from Eastern Colorado to Western NY and essentially see nothing but corn. Millions of acres of corn, across the country, grown to burn. Somehow this was supposed to be environmentally friendly?
There’s something insane about using food crops for fuel. Especially since growing the food crops and getting the product takes more fuel than you get back as heating value energy in vehicles.
The fact is that grain alcohol has a low heating value and lower flame temperatures than most of the other carbon fuels. It’s not really a good fuel. In fact, the only reason it’s used at all is it’s green stamp of renewability. Is a fuel renewable though if, as more than likely, the system to grow, harvest, process and transport the fuel would collapse if energy could not be drawn from other sources. Of course the other energy uses are typically invisible to the average Green who only sees the E10 sign at the gas pump and feels better about it. I tend to look at that E10 symbol differently. I see 100 car train loaded with corn in covered hoppers the same size as houses, pulled by locomotives, trains that go to huge grain elevators to be transferred to barges that stop at refining plants that distill the corn. Then I see yet more trains of huge tank cars, rolling across the country to oil refineries with the ethanol ration because you can’t ship ethanol in a pipeline. All that to get my 10 gallons of gas diluted and make my car have higher gas usage due to the decrease in gas mileage. When you see that E10 symbol, think of trains like these.
And of course some of the other unintended consequences, like a lot more burning cars on the road thanks to ethanol’s other bad habits