Ethanol lobby got its way. Guess who'll pay?

  • Article by: ERIC WIEFFERING , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 9, 2011 - 9:39 PM
  • 57
  • Comments

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usercdjFeb. 9, 11 9:43 PM

Ethanol is not a silver bullit, but the point on food cost increase is disingenuous. The main factor affecting the price of food is the price of oil. Additionally, without ethanol we would need to import an additional 2 million barrels of oil a day. An analysis of our potential ethanol capacity would show that we cannot replace oil with ethanol. We don't have enough corn, and never will. Cellulosic ethanol will help, but biofuel feedstocks in general are diffuse and intermittent. Thus there is a certain level of uncertainty in any of these when used for fuel. Crop residues contain many of the plant nutrient that when placed back into the soil minimize the need for fertilizer. Long term harvesting of crop residue could lead to depleted less productive soil. Certainly there are cases where we have the feedstock already available process streams and it makes sense to develop these niche applications, but they can't eliminate our dependence on oil, only lessen it somewhat. This okay, but not the full answer. I know everyone wants to believe there is a simple answer, but there is not. Oh, except maybe conservation and efficiency, but then that would require dicipline on our part as a people. Not something we are good at. Imagine how terrible our lives would be if we couldn't drive an SUV, or just drove our vehicles less. The thought of is disgusting.

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taxpayer17Feb. 9, 11 9:45 PM

While the subsidies could be argued to be necessary to get some plants off the ground or the industry itself, the subsidies are nothing but pork for many plant owners. The plants in trouble are the ones last too market. The plants built a few years earlier reaped in millions of profit on top of the subsidies we have given each plant, which ultimately goes to the investors. At a minimum, the subsidies should be mean tested - it the plants are making millions the subsidies should cease. Enough already.

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eaglesFeb. 9, 1110:29 PM

Just another example of how government intervention in markets cost not only taxpayers but also people outside the US that subsist on very little food. Imagine how many people could be feed if 30% of our corn went to reduce hunger instead of making ethanol. What a waste.

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tankstoolFeb. 9, 1110:47 PM

What has to be looked at is the cost percentage of the grain that is the total cost of the product. If you look at the products that have corn as the main ingredient, only about 5% of the total cost of that product is corn. Oil prices have a much greater impact on the cost of a food product. Oil is used in every phase from production, to shipping, to packaging, to marketing. Please investigate thoroughly before passing judgement on the ethanol industry.

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redqidFeb. 9, 1111:10 PM

Making fuel from corn is very inefficient and a complete waste of government money.

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redqidFeb. 9, 1111:11 PM

I would be in favor of eliminating subsidies for oil companies and adding a $10 tax on every barrel of oil imported or produced. Higher oil prices and gasoline prices will let the market find the best solutions.

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surfin4_uFeb. 9, 1111:16 PM

It should be a crime to use a food source as fuel. Once again the g'ment gets it wrong, and they want to run our healthcare system ? The crop farmers are the ones sittin fat these days. No more subsides !! Crop land values are sky rockiting too. Oh, to be ole McDonald these days.

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h2ofwlrFeb. 10, 1112:17 AM

Enough already on subsidies. No more tax money should be used--both Fed and MN $ as it is nothing more than corporate welfare.

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worldcitizenFeb. 10, 11 2:46 AM

A bizarre product - lowers gas mileage, its production depletes ground water, ruins fuel systems of old cars, increases the cost of food, requires more energy to produce than it provides, introduces new kinds of pollution to the air and needs massive State and Federal subsidies to succeed. It's nothing but agricultural welfare and proves that our politicians are bought and sold by lobbyists.

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fishrogerFeb. 10, 11 5:33 AM

the farmers are gettin rich? lollllllll! The farmers I know are mostly land rich and cash poor. How about Cargill?. As I recall they control how many billions of bushels of corn.?

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