Drought, Corn and 13% Ethanol

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Fuel Economy' started by willrob, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. alfon

    alfon Senior Member

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    By the way, after several years, where is the cellulostic
    ethanol I heard so much about that could be
    made out of waste for less money than from
    corn???

    I wonder how much money the U.S. taxpayers, with the help
    of the government of course, threw down the rat hole
    on that one.
     
  2. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    The only way to cut imported fuel is to improve fuel efficiency, but America likes to drive round in cars nobody else in the world (other than oil producing countries) dare consider. So encourage famers to produce a 'green' fuel and you can carry on driving your monstrosities. Two birds with one stone, yet still keep importing fuel. Great one.
     
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  3. alfon

    alfon Senior Member

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    A few years go when gas approached the $5 / gallon area large SUV's and
    cars were not selling at dealerships. When the price went way down to $2.50
    / gallon the memories of $5/ gallon gas were all gone, and the
    land yachts began to move again.
     
  4. WE0H

    WE0H Senior Member

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    My Prius is a version that is very far from getting super high mpg like regular Prii do. I did not buy my Prius to get super high mpg. I bought it to replace a car with a blower and a huge appetite for 92 octane gas. I bought it because I very much liked driving the rental Prii I have driven. I like the techie features and the fact it gets way better mpg than the car it replaced. I ran a E57 blend in some rentals as an experiment. I run E85 in my SUV because it costs me way less to fill it and it gets 19 mpg city and 24.5 mpg highway every tank calculated which is good in a 2004 Saturn Vue AWD. It has a 10:1 cr which is known to run fine on E85. Everyone has their own choices, this is what I like.

    Mike :)

    Mobile on my Asus
     
  5. macman408

    macman408 Electron Guidance Counselor

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    Let's pretend for a minute that economics makes as much sense as everybody seems to think it does (it's a little like the physics problem that starts with 'Imagine an elephant, whose shape can be estimated as a sphere, and whose mass can be neglected...')...

    It may be true that ethanol raises food prices in general. I was speaking specifically with respect to the drought this year. If there were no market for ethanol, the corn just wouldn't have been planted - food would still get just as expensive.
     
  6. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    Can wheat be grown on the same land as that presently used to grow corn?

    Or can corn be grown on poor quality land that wouldn't otherwise be able to grow any else of significance? If so, then corn isn't really a problem, but if other more useful food crops could have been grown there instead, then corn for ethanol is a problem.
     
  7. fjpod

    fjpod Member

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    People keep saying that but where is the proof? Where are the studies? Links please.

    And I agree with a previous poster that if with ethanol use, we decrease the amount of imported oil, and keep farmers busy...that's a good thing.

    As far as mpg bragging rights go, we could simply recalculate it using only the GASOLINE used, not the alcohol. So if yo ur Prius uses a 50/50 mix and gets 40 mpg, but you really only used .5 gallons of GASOLINE, you really got 80 miles per gallon....of GASOLINE...from the Middle East. And I employed more Americans. I'll take it.
     
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  8. WE0H

    WE0H Senior Member

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    In the state I mostly live, field corn is grown in the rocky, sand, and clay soiled fields. Food crops are grown on drainage controlled peat moss and black dirt low lands.

    Mike :)

    Mobile on my Asus
     
  9. WE0H

    WE0H Senior Member

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    Prius will get ~43-46 mpg running a E57 blend of 'shine & dino gas ;) Every gallon of alcohol used is a gallon less of gasoline used and we all know where that comes from and where the money goes for that gas :(

    It would be cool to have a still setup to brew my own E100, for the vehicles of course as I don't drink :p

    Mike

    Mobile on my Asus
     
  10. subjective

    subjective Member

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    In the fuel price increases before the current ones, some people were converting VW tdis to run on used vegetable oil from restaurants that they filtered. My wifes friends son did this successfully and was very pleased with his results. There are probably others currently doing the same thing which I am not aware of. If the West Coast folks dont mind the smell of french fries, Which might make them hungry to visit a McDonalds, its common knowledge that this can be done and it may not cause the economic problems that ethanol is creating.
     
  11. markabele

    markabele owner of PiP, then Leaf, then Model 3

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    I grew up in the Platte River Valley which is some of the most fertile farm land in the country. There is still a ton of "field corn" being grown there. And yes there are other crops that work well for that ground, too, including soybeans.
     
  12. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    Yes, but soybeans are more profitable so you see a lot of farmers rotate those two.
    Not really my patch......but I am wondering why there is a presumption that land that is used for non-food crops is somehow being sullied. First of all.....Americans eat way too much, secondly, nobody ever talks about the negative effects of high gas prices on food, now do they???
    It's not a heavy lit folks!
    Brazil has been doing E-100 for almost 40 years.
    I can respect some of the bunny-hugger arguments against ethanol, since they're just an iteration of their loathing for personal motorized transportation, but really???
    Saying that the FATTEST nation on the planet would "suffer" from high food prices???

    Uh....what's the down side? :)
     
  13. Mike500

    Mike500 Senior Member

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    For years, Gasohol used methanol, that was cheaply produced from natural gas, landfills and coal. Ford was a great advocate before the year 2000. Indycars used methanol as their fuel of choice.

    It was the farm lobby that advocated ethanol as a market for thir surpluses of corn. It's all greed.

    Now, they got what they asked for and are now crying "foul," becuase the market has swung against thier favor.

    We should have kept methanol as the additive of choice in Gasohol. And, it will happen, again.
     
  14. markabele

    markabele owner of PiP, then Leaf, then Model 3

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    Uh...how about that we are in a world economy now. This isn't the 1960's. What is grown in the USA doesn't affect just the USA. 100% agree with you that we are overweight as a nation. But again, this is the worst possible way to combat obesity, hundreds of better ways. That being said, do you think really think we have absolutely no hunger issues in the US? And I assume you have to know about situations in other countries.
     
  15. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    I go to a church that regularly passes out food to poor families. There are nutrition issues in the United States, but when and where was the last case of starvation in the US???
    The root cause for nutritional issues that are present for the "poor" are self-evident, and really they're outside the scope of this conversation. THIS conversation is probably more appropriate for the eco-weenie section of the forum. The root cause for 'hunger' in America is probably best discussed and debated in the Pancake Haus.
    No, I'm not punting here.
    I'm more of a believer than I am a detractor in big E. I've been to Brazil a number of times, and I grew up in Indiana so I'm familiar with ethanol and some farm issues, although I will quickly assert that I'm not a farmer, and I don't play one on TV.
    There are two types of argument that people use when they're passionately FOR or AGAINST something.
    You can educate yourself as best you can and discuss the issue with facts, or......you can use FUD.
    I'm extremely surprised that folks in the hybrid community, themselves a victim of a viscous FUD campaign, would be so willing to use slash and run tactics in an argument.
    NO....the case for or against big E isn't a binary issue. I think that there are better ways to produce ethanol....but really???? Folks, we're talking about field corn here.
    I don't think that it's "better" to turn it into Hi-C, or sirloin steak, or Jack Daniels than it is to turn it into ethanol.
    I've BEEN to poor countries. I've SEEN starving people, and you know what??? I'm a hard sell for the notion that the government allowing E13 to supplant E10 will result in zillions of malnutrition afflicted kids from America being shown on Chinese TV begging for food aid.
    I'm also a hard sell on any of this being drought exacerbated, other than the fact that corn (like gas) is a commodity whose futures (prices) are influenced out of proportion to direct effects here in the real world.
    Besides.....how many people do you know that should be driving without automobile insurance??
    OK...well....ever heard of crop insurance?

    It's easy to SAY that ethanol wrecks motors, is bad for the environment, is bad for the economy, etc.
    If you don't know much about (modern) automobiles, or the economy, or the environment??? I's easy to BELIEVE the FUD that's flung about on TV and in the internet....just like it's easy for non-hybrid drivers to BELIEVE that traction batteries are $7500 and only last a few years.
    People believe that because they WANT to.

    Of all of the ethanol FUD that's out there, the bunny huggers are probably on the most solid ground intellectually speaking, but their case is so weak that even they can't use real numbers or facts. IMHO ethanol can continue to be a viable supplement to the ICE both as a replacement for MTBE and for use in ultra low displacement ICEs. If car companies want to put yellow gas caps on some of their cars and burn E88 in them????
    No problem here.
    Like I said before....kids, cows, or cars...the corn is going to get burned in SOMETHING.

    YMMV... ;)
     
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  16. markabele

    markabele owner of PiP, then Leaf, then Model 3

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    You're right. And right now that something is the sun. I personally know farmers who will have extremely low yields this year because of the drought.
     
  17. Corwyn

    Corwyn Energy Curmudgeon

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    How many diesels do you think there are in this country? How much used vegi oil? Around me, all the waste vegi oil is already being used for vehicles.
     
  18. Paradox

    Paradox Prius Enthusiast / Moderator
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    If you want to talk politics abut this issue, start a thread in the political forum please. Otherwise, leave politics out of the open forums and focus on the OPs main question which at the end of his post was "Will current Prius owners be able to adapt their vehicles to the new fuel?"
     
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  19. WE0H

    WE0H Senior Member

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    Switch this country to E100 and watch that daily oil use go down :)

    Mike

    Mobile on my Asus
     
  20. szgabor

    szgabor Active Member

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    It is catching up in europe!!! I read that almost all new plant there is cellulostic based. In the US the "farmer" (Arch and Daniels and brothers type) can make the taxpayer subsidize corn based ethanol (just see how ethanol is made in Brazil for example).

    It is not the ethanol, stupid, it is the way it made in the US.
     
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