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End the Ethanol Mandate

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by Rocketman1981, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. Major

    Major Member

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    It was a complex issue for McCain. If I recall correctly, he ran against ethanol back in 2000 and was one of the leaders on the issue. But in 2008, he had muted his criticism because he felt he needed help in Iowa - so it was less of a big issue for him at that point. Here is article from 2006 on it:

    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/11/13/8393132/index.htm

    Old McCain:


    "Ethanol is a product that would not exist if Congress didn't create an artificial market for it. No one would be willing to buy it," McCain said in November 2003. "Yet thanks to agricultural subsidies and ethanol producer subsidies, it is now a very big business - tens of billions of dollars that have enriched a handful of corporate interests - primarily one big corporation, ADM. Ethanol does nothing to reduce fuel consumption, nothing to increase our energy independence, nothing to improve air quality."


    Trying-to-win-Iowa McCain:


    "I support ethanol and I think it is a vital, a vital alternative energy source not only because of our dependency on foreign oil but its greenhouse gas reduction effects," he said in an August speech in Grinnell, Iowa, as reported by the Associated Press.


    To his credit, he has been more staunchly anti-ethanol in recent years after the election.
     
  2. madmonkey37

    madmonkey37 Contributing Member

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    There's also a lot corn farmers in Illinois, can't say the same about Arizona.
     
  3. geeimsobored

    geeimsobored Contributing Member

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    It was a product of the gas price spikes during the Bush administration. Everyone was searching for quick alternatives and the farm lobby quickly suggested ethanol.

    Now that I live in a farming state, I can tell you first hand, the farm lobby is hard to move.

    One of the interesting quirks of the tea party is that in their quest to destroy government spending, they've actually been the only group to actually push against farm subsidies. Farm subsidies are a bipartisan issue. Doesnt matter if you're Democrat or Republican in a rural state, you support the farm bill.

    You'll see states with 1 Democratic and 1 Republican senator hold countless press conferences where they proclaim their bipartisanship because of farm bills.

    Unfortunately the structure of the Senate will always continue to enable this type of behavior. It's why the House to date hasn't passed a farm bill because the clout of farm states there isn't enough to overcome farm bill opposition among Republicans
     
  4. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    I also am not a fan of the ethanol mandate, but this article is so agenda-driven that I have to pretty much disregard it otherwise. And,

    I find this paragraph very suspicious. It doesn't prove that higher corn prices drive up the price of gasoline. All it does is show a co-incident increase in gas prices, which of course has many drivers. According to a random blog I found, it looks like an efficiency-adjusted price for ethanol is sometimes higher than the price of gasoline, and sometimes lower: http://greenenergy.blogspot.com/2012/05/current-ethanol-vs-gas-prices-may-25.html. So, I don't really think we're paying appreciably more at the pump as a result.
     
  5. A_3PO

    A_3PO Member

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    His lack of courage on this 4 years ago was a huge disappointment for me and was another reason I ended up voting against him. It ticks me off that a piddly state like Iowa has so much influence on national policy and our presidential electoral process.

    Ethanol and Iowa are two of my personal "wake up America!" issues.
     
  6. Major

    Major Member

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    Agreed - watching the farm bill the House has been interesting to see how all the different interest groups align, and it has nothing to do with party lines. I'll be curious if the House leadership relents and puts this thing to a vote to see how everyone ends up actually voting on it.

    I agree in principle, but I think the connection is pretty easy to make. By definition, higher corn prices will increase ethanol costs. And higher ethanol costs will increase gasoline costs. So while it's possible that the producers just eat that cost and don't increase the end product prices, it's more likely that high corn prices would result in higher gasoline prices for the consumer. It's just like higher oil prices vs gas prices, in that there are other issues like refining capacity, etc - but over time, there's going to be a correlation.
     
  7. glynch

    glynch Contributing Member

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    Repeal it. It seemed like a good idea at the time., but now we know better
     
  8. thadeus

    thadeus Contributing Member

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    Yeah, what's been said is true. What's more, these aren't classical land-owning farmers we're talking about - it's just another one of the thousands of sad examples of corporate power having a harmfully unchecked amount of influence in state and federal governments.

    The sad part is that so many people realize this now, yet so few politicians seem willing to do anything about it.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    Well, higher ethanol prices will cause higher gas prices than lower ethanol prices will. But, in talking about the mandate, the ethanol price has to actually be more expensive than the fuel it displaces for the mandate to be costing us at the pump. From my half-assed research, that doesn't seem to be the case.
     
  10. Major

    Major Member

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    Oh gotcha - I thought you were referring to this recent run up in corn / ethanol prices, but you're talking about longer term pricing. I agree on that - it's a bit more tricky to assess.
     
  11. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

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    The ironic part is that the Govt still has price supports & tariffs to support the domestic sugar industry (Florida...)..........whereas sugarcane-based Ethanol actually makes some sense (a lot more than corn-based).
     
  12. Nook

    Nook Member

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    Presidential candidates will not touch it.... the midwest is a battle ground area, and I can tell you enough people will vote on the issue to sway Iowa, Wisconsin or Indiana.
     
  13. thumbs

    thumbs Contributing Member

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    Concur.
     
  14. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    Besides for political reasons for the ethanol mandate, a lot of republicans like the idea of not depending on foreign oil.

    I am on the algae bandwagon. It is still probably many years from being feasible and many years after that for the laws/regulations to catch up. It will take up less area than corn if they can overcome technical obstacles.
     
  15. pirc1

    pirc1 Contributing Member

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    How many algae farmers are there in the US? How many corn farmers are there in the US? We are long ways from getting algae as fuel even if we solve all the technical problems.
     
  16. Rocketman1981

    Rocketman1981 Member

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    Wow. Never seen this much consensus on a topic before. There is absolutely no one for this here.
     
  17. geeimsobored

    geeimsobored Contributing Member

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    Agreed but sadly that's not happening. It also doesn't help that Sugar ethanol, which is a far far superior product, is basically banned because that would require lifting sugar tariffs which would hurt the sugar industry as well as hurt the corn industry's monopoly on ethanol.

    Brazil gets something like 1/3 of its fuel from sugar ethanol right now.
     
  18. pirc1

    pirc1 Contributing Member

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    This tells you how the political system works in the US.
     
  19. Major

    Major Member

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    To be fair, this is mostly an urban vs rural fight, and probably everyone on this board lives / works in the urban America.
     
  20. pirc1

    pirc1 Contributing Member

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    There are only about 10% or at most 20% of the people that works in farm related fields, yet they have more influence on this issue than 80-90% of the Americans. This is the same situation in other areas such as defense and health care, a small percentage of people controlling the issues over a vast majority of Americans.
     

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