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Posted by Michael Pardee on May 25, 2006, 12:44 pm

Ethanol is made from foodstuffs, typically corn. There was a recent article
on-line about the amount of increase in corn prices that can be attributed
to the increased demand of the newly built ethanol plants, but the link is
long gone now. Guess news gets stale fast!

When we burn ethanol we are burning food.


Posted by Glenn Shaw on May 25, 2006, 4:01 pm

Michael Pardee wrote in alt.autos.toyota.prius:

On the other hand, maybe the high cost of corn will make high fructose
corn syrup so expensive that soda makers will start putting REAL SUGAR
back into soft drinks....

Glenn Shaw Indianapolis, IN USA
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Posted by Bill on May 25, 2006, 4:10 pm

Corn syrup?  Sugar?  If we all switched to E85 there wouldn't be any of
either.  No chicken, pork or beef either.  It would definitely solve the
obesity problem.

Posted by Bill on May 25, 2006, 4:06 pm

Mike, Americans burn 500 million gallons of gas each day.  Replacing 85% of
that with Ethanol, whether made from corn or switchgrass, would take more
arable acres than we have.  In other words, we would have to quit growing
all manner of food products, quit grazing cattle, quit feeding chickens,
etc.  E10 works fairly well.  It eliminates the need for MTBE, absorbs
condensation, uses otherwise excess farmland, reduces the price of vodka and
gin..., but E85 is a food-for-gas program.  It disturbs me that GM talks up
their E85 vehicles and politicians in the farm belt use it as a vehicle to
gain the farm vote.  The math is simple and most meaningful if you do it
yourself.  Go to the USDA site and look up ethanol production per acre of
switchgrass.  Look up the number of arable acres in the U.S.  Ethanol has
less energy than gasoline so it actually takes 500 million gallons of
ethanol to replace 85% of 500 million gallons of gas.

Posted by Prilosec on May 25, 2006, 8:32 pm

The United States has 428,604,320 arable acres (about 19% of total land).
Presently, corn can yield 1500 gallons of ethanol per acre. I repeat,
presently. There are other crops that can muliply that yield substantially,
as well as the potential to use more of the corn plant (presently some of
the byproduct of ethanol production returns to cattle feed). This is
6,429,065,400 gallons of ethanol a year with exisiting practice and
technology and ONLY FROM CORN--no higher yield or multiple planting crop.
Assuming your 500 million gallon a day number is correct, you are right that
at this time, using only corn, we can't make anywhere near enough ethanol to
replace gas totally. I don't think anyone is really trying to replace all
500 million gallons, however. Only a small fraction of it to reduce
greenhouse gas and imports.

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