Thursday, May 04, 2006

Fun with corn and oil

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Via DoL:

"It takes a lot of petroleum in the form of diesel fuel, fertilizer, plastic and pesticides to produce and distribute corn and turn it into moonshine -- about 7 barrels of oil to produce 8 barrels of corn-based ethanol. Making ethanol from sugar would be worse because formidable U.S. trade barriers push the cost of sugar far above the world price (making Brazil's ethanol industry irrelevant). Making ethanol from waste is hypothetical for now, as is the uncertain cost. Because ethanol can't flow through pipelines, it is twice as expensive as oil to transport -- by fuel-burning truck or rail.

"Unfortunately, there is much less energy in 8 gallons of ethanol than in the 7 gallons of gasoline-equivalent needed to produce it. The Energy Department estimates the highway mileage of a Nissan Titan drops from 18 mpg to 13 mpg by switching to E85 (85 percent ethanol)."