Friday, March 03, 2006

Ethanol Part II

I believe a bit more information is needed on Ethanol. The United States consumes on average more than 400 million gallons of gas per day. The United States had 81,759,000 acres devoted to corn production in 2005. The average yield per acre was 147.9 bushels with the five year average at 142.5 bushels per acre.

According to studies, you can get 2.5 gallons of ethanol from one bushel of corn. In 2005, the US produced 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol. This consumed 5.2% of all the corn grown in the US.

If all corn were devoted to ethanol production, we could produce 29.1 billion gallons of ethanol. To equate this to the US gasoline consumption of 400 million gallons per day and the fact that ethanol has 70% of the energy content of gasoline; we could reduce gasoline consumption by no more than 14%.

In addition if all corn were devoted to ethanol production, we would not have corn for feed or on our dinner tables. The by-products from the production of ethanol are used else where, but can the market absorb and use this amount of by product efficiently or will some of it simply be scrapped? Ethanol can show a positive energy value when an energy credit is given for the by-product. If the by-product is scrapped, any energy credit applied to ethanol for the by-product cannot be realistically counted.

The energy needs of the US is very large. We need to think bigger and outside the box if we want to be truly energy independent and environmentally clean.

It is far easier to drive smarter (combine trips) and build more efficient cars than to depend on ethanol as our solution to reducing foreign oil.


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NBC-33 Debate poll results from 2002