A Big Crock of Biofuel

Ethanol has become public enemy number one. Not only do we get lousy gas mileage with corn based ethanol, we get higher food prices too! This problem began in 1994 when a Senate vote on mandated ethanol use was tied 50-50 and broken by Vice President Al Gore. So say thanks to Mr. Gore for the real crisis that is looming….food shortages. The general public is just now becoming aware of the real problems ethanol is causing and support for elimination of mandated biofuels is building from the left and the right.

Ethanol is placing liberals in a real bind. One one hand, they feel the need to try to manipulate companies like Exxon Mobil by forcing them to accept alternative fuel, yet by using these alternative fuels, it drives up the cost of food and disproportionately affects the poor worldwide. So, we can either “save the environment” by ethanol and starve millions worldwide by driving up food prices, or we can just stick with tried and true fossil fuels and keep feeding everyone. Not surprisingly, the same people that demand we use ethanol also oppose drilling for additional sources of oil, including in ANWR. If we had started drilling for oil in ANWR ten years ago, it is possible that oil prices would be considerably lower than they are now. Higher oil prices means higher prices on all the goods we buy and higher transportation costs.

Ironically, corn-based ethanol and other blends of biofuels have been shown to produce substantially more greenhouse gases than regular gasoline. This ethanol issue illustrates a common problem with our representatives in Washington D.C. Too often policies are promoted based off of fads in the public without their consequences being fully studied before being made law. In this case, mandating the use of ethanol was justified under the guise of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The result? Ethanol produces MORE greenhouse gas emissions than regular gasoline, using ethanol drives up the price of food worldwide, and ethanol causes us to use more fuel than we would if we used regular gasoline because of decreased fuel efficiency. If ethanol was really this hidden gem and had huge potential, wouldn’t it be advantageous to big oil companies to research this technology themselves? Yet, ethanol has not replaced traditional gasoline among the private sector by any big energy companies largely because it is a lousy fuel source. Policy makers in Washington have mandated that we use this new technology without researching the true effectiveness or consequences. This is yet another example of the government sticking their noses and their policies where they shouldn’t. It has only resulted in harm to American citizens and businesses with literally no benefit.

Right now, 1/3 of the corn produced in the U.S. goes to ethanol production. It takes 400 lbs of corn to make 25 gallons of fuel. So with that 400 lbs of corn, we can either feed a grown man for a year or we can fill up our car twice. It seems to me that feeding everyone affordably is more important that responding to a global warming “crisis” that doesn’t even have a scientific consensus yet. After all, we can actually prove that people are starving, whereas we can’t prove that ethanol will have any effect on anything climate related.

Now, I’m not saying that all biofuels or all ethanol are lousy fuels, but for now, the ones that are available certainly seem to be. The mandated use of ethanol isn’t solely responsible for the rising food costs worldwide, but is unquestionably a large factor. The farmers and researchers that are beneficiaries of ethanol use don’t want the public to know the truth…that corn-based ethanol is a bad fuel that never should have been mandated in the first place. Corn-based ethanol has been called a “transitional” technology by some, so why are we forced to use it? Because it is a fad that congress has bought into.

Congress needs to do its job and eliminate subsidies for ethanol NOW. But with Reid and Pelosi in charge, we can count on further bad energy policy for the future where more clout is given to environmental fads than actual verifiable research. As long as liberals (Democrats and Republicans) are at the helm, we can be assured that $7 per gallon milk is right around the corner.

An Attempt to Save the Household Light Bulb

Recently, representative Michelle Bachmann, a Minnesota Republican, has proposed a bill that would repeal the nationwide phase out of incandescent lightbulbs in 2012. The old-school bulbs are being replaced by the fluorescent energy efficient bulbs. Her bill is called the “Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act”. This bill is a second chance for Congress not to appear completely socialist.

bulb

Don’t get me wrong, I like fluorescent energy efficient bulbs for the money I save and the fact that I rarely change a light bulb anymore. I have them in nearly every lamp in my house and most of the ceiling lights. However, as I’m sure many of you know, fluorescent bulbs don’t really dim and they don’t have brightness settings. They are either completely off or completely on. There’s no in between. So with the banishment of the Edison-style light bulb, out goes the concept of a dimmer switch and things like a three-setting light bulb. Unless there is some new technology that I’m unaware of, these things will likely disappear along with the incandescent light bulb.

Why would Congress go to such lengths to eliminate something as harmless as the incandescent light bulb? You guessed it….global warming. By eliminating all of the extra energy use of these incandescent light bulbs, we will theoretically burn less fossil fuels to power them and thus we will release fewer greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. So instead of simply leaving it to consumers to figure out for themselves that they save money with the new bulbs, Congress passes a law (that Bush signed) that banishes the old light bulb. Socialism at work. I thought liberals were pro-choice….or is that just when we’re talking about human life? I guess it’s not okay to be pro-choice when it comes to light bulbs.

Fortunately, the Bachmann bill (if passed) would stop this nonsense.

“This is about freedom, this is about consumer rights,” she said.

Yes it is. Fluorescent bulbs pose their own risk with trace amounts of Mercury in them. So, the government effectively forces the elimination of Mercury thermometers from medical use but then turns around an mandates the use of Mercury-laced fluorescent bulbs in every household in the country. Legislative schizophrenia–all in the name of global warming.

“The least government can do if they are going to ban the household light bulb is provide evidence to back up their claims that there’s some long-term benefit,” she said. “Congress should not be in the business of promoting fads and Congress should always be in the business of watching out for the health, safety and budget bottom line of the American family.”

Global warming is just the latest fad, just like the coming Ice Age was back in the 1970’s. A very recent article published in The Australian gives evidence to the fact that carbon dioxide levels have been increasing over the last ten years, but temperatures globally have continued to fall. This debunks one of the main points in Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” documentary. How very inconvenient for the global warming folks (or is it global climate change….oh, I can’t make up my mind).

The point is that the death of the incandescent light bulb is just one of the first casualties in this global warming hoax to control our lives. Next will be the government controlling your thermostat in your house, then controlling what kind of car you drive, then controlling how much you drive. If this is something you look forward to, please save the rest of us and move to Europe now. You’ll get more than your fill of 15% unemployment, 60% income tax rates, and free (lousy) healthcare for all.