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May 06, 2008

Biofuels and farming

Before C.W. Gusewelle and the public support the farm lobby (5/4, Local, “Farmers shouldn’t reap blame”), they should read “Brazil can’t find world market for its ethanol” (5/4, A-16), which is made from sugar cane.

Has it not been proved that ethanol, especially corn ethanol, is not the answer to the oil shortage? Read The Star’s article (4/27, A-1, “Does ethanol measure up?”).

Why did the farm lobby, ethanol folks and oil companies push very hard to change the requirement that gasoline pumps had to label gasoline that contained alcohol? Ethanol pumps in Missouri and Kansas are not required to be labeled.

The consumer has right to know what he is buying.

Pat Hunt

Thank you to C.W. Gusewelle for a well-written article. Not all farmers are corporations, as some have said in the blogs. Here in western Kansas, many of us have been brought up to provide for our country, as our ancestors have.

Thanks for the kind words, and I will continue to provide a “horn of plenty” for all my neighbors.

Jay Giessel
Larned, Kan.



There also is the theory that ships discharge more CO2 than all land vehicles. But my greatest doubts about corn ethanol are based on the fact that there can never be enough of it produced. Figures I have seen indicate a production of 275 to 300 gallons per acre.


Good afternoon jack(louie),

You don't hear anything except what the oil people want you to hear. This group holds more power than most governments.


If you don't try alternatives, it will be impossible to find a good one.

Talked to a guy today who claims that, if you figure in the energy it takes to ship crude around the world and run the refineries, ethanol is 30% more efficient.

Don't think I believe him. He claims to have money in a plant being built to get ethanol from wheat straw. My guess is his numbers are agenda driven.

However, it did make me realize that I've never heard figures about refining oil like I hear them about making ethanol.


Good afternoon Engineer,

I think you have a good point there. An adequate technology with too many people getting paid is an inadequate solution.


It starts to appear as if corn ethanol is a dead end detour. Studies hold that it takes more energy to deliver a gallon to a vehicle’s fuel tank than the gallon provides. As we have ample energy available in coal this would not necessarily be a problem if we were willing to use the coal. But in any event corn ethanol can never be anything but a supplement. All ethanols are based on sugars but sugars do vary. Figures on the BTU's provided per gallon by the various ethanols would be interesting.


Good afternoon KATMAN,

Its more than Eyore, he's just the face on the box. There is an entire industry where big energy players are working both sides of the fence. No matter what happens, big energy guys won't lose.

Off thread, you made a comment to me yesterday about racehorses. Please search "racehorse meat" on the internet and then meet me at yesterdays thread please.


Thanks to Al Gore for leading us down the road towards ethanol. Now we're seeing shortages in the food chain because of redirecting corn from the dinner table to the gas tank.

While we're considering alternative fuel sources, let's also consider increasing domestic oil production, our refinery capacity, and efficiency of automobiles. In best scenario, it will take years, perhaps decades, to bring alternative sources on stream.

This is economic, not political, logic.


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