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Opinion

Opinion

Letter: Energy folly

June 15, 2013

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To the editor:

The purveyors of ethanol-blended fuels complain that they are facing difficult and expensive regulations to follow in order to sell their product. Hmmm! Let’s see: They are trying to force a politically mandated product on the public, that uses more energy to make than it can provide, which requires the user to refill his vehicle more times to get the same production as produced by a competing product and that cannot be produced without massive government subsidies. What’s more, it uses a raw material base that drastically affects the food markets in an adverse way.

While many “alternative” energy sources are leaning heavily on governmental support to “get going,” very few of them can survive at all without it and they continue to provide a marginal impact on today’s energy needs. Perhaps the ethanol advocates would have made better use of their own energies espousing an abundant natural resource, say: natural gas.

The way I see it: E-15 is throwing good money after bad.

Comments

Liberty275 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Fusion is the future of energy on the Earth. Until then, we have fossil fuels. While we should develop every sort of alternate energy for the sake of doing it, government needs to stop foisting theses dead-end technologies on people at the cost of delaying a technology that will end pollution and comes from sea water.

Watering your ethanol plants is draining our aquifer and all that glass, aluminum and whatever chemical go into solar panels will have to be recycled. Lets see you do that using windmills, which themselves will need to be recycled, as will the batteries.

We have petroleum energy to last well past the widespread adoption of hydrogen if you quit wasting our time with your hatred for oil companies.

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avarom 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Well.....Well.....My suggestion is that if they do start Fracking in your neighborhood....that you do not drink the water. But of course, it's up to you ALL. .....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_...

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avarom 10 months ago

http://www.rollin gstone.com/politics/news/the-big-fracking-bubble-the-scam-behind-the-gas-boom-20120301

Remember.....All the Glitters.....Isn't always Gold!! Welcome to Kansas$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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avarom 10 months ago

Living in a Dream world...when your Smart Meters go in and your electricity goes up....then come talk to me about how its cheaper. Remember...you read it here!! The cyclic coal cycle is now starting to turn upward after a two year bear market. Don't be fooled by the politically motivated propaganda. Now is time to get into coal: ACI, ANR, JRCC, BTU and an investor.

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roadwarrior 10 months ago

Avarom....as a simpleton I know that back up sources for wind power when it is in decline are Natural Gas plants........which are also used to supplement energy production for peak use. Coal plants are in decline because of the lower cost to purchase natural gas - that increases profits. Because of this product shift we've gained an added bonus, we have lowered our emission rates to 1982 levels.

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avarom 10 months ago

Coal of course is burdened by extreme and costly regulations up and down the entire supply line, many of them political in nature, designed to increase costs resulting in higher coal prices. These artificially higher prices make wind energy competitive. That's a shame because we are all paying much higher prices for energy than need be. All about Control!

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Les Blevins 10 months ago

I've been saying it for years. It makes no sense to use food (corn) as the feedstock in the production of ethanol (which has a lower energy content than gasoline and requires a lot of infrastructure changes) when the non-food feedstock (cornstalks, wheat straw, cotton trash, bean stems, sunflower stalks, etc. etc. ) can be converted into alcohol, which has a higher energy content than gasoline and blends with gasoline easily. The proof is that drag-racers used to blend alcohol with gasoline to get a boost in power needed at the drag strip. Kansas politicians will go off on trips abroad (like to Paris airshows) to get new business opportunities for Kansas but will not move in the right direction on alternatives to oil because their buddies in the oil business don't approve of real and cost effective alternatives to oil and are willing to pay to keep Kansas behind and Governor Brownback is willing to take their money and hold Kansas back for the benefit of his buddies. I call that corruption. What do you call it?

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Mike Ford 10 months ago

Go through Oklahoma and see how they hate ethanol. Phillips Oil Company is based in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Listen to one of the old geezers in the balcony in the Muppets, US Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, speak against anything that affects Big Oil and denies global warming and protection of the environment.That pretty much says it all. The bit about E-15 affecting new cars is nonsense. The head in the sand practice must be fairly popular around here.

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Chris Golledge 10 months ago

It is not a given that "that uses more energy to make than it can provide".

Starting point: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_...

True, it is a wiki and therefore not entirely reliable, but there are references. The last I looked at the peer reviewed literature, there was a handful of people who maintained that it was energy wasteful, and a growing majority who believe that more energy comes out than we put in. There was something about increasing the efficiency of the processing over the years.

Also, the author above does not distinguish between the various kinds of ethanol, and corn is one of the less efficient sources.

Basically, the founding premise of the argument above is probably wrong.

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verity 10 months ago

This issue is being used to bludgeon those who support renewable and clean energy. The real point is not the whys and wherefores of ethanol, but whether we are going to support clean and renewable energy going forward.

When the naysayers get fixated on one situation and ignore all others, we know that's all they've got. Are we going to work towards clean and renewable energy or are we going to let the fact that some options didn't work out as we hoped keep us from moving forward?

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Richard Heckler 10 months ago

Not all vehicles can use this new "gasoline".

In fact this E-15 can destroy fuel systems or at least can set up an owner for expensive repairs.

Best go with hybrids, high mpg vehicles and electric vehicles. So much corn production is aimed at vehicle fuel that in America it drives up the cost of food as well = dumb economics. Why couldn't corporate America decipher that in the first place? They did.

For alternate fuel how about an alternate source say like Switchgrass? Which I believe can be grown more efficiently than corn.

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CountyResident 10 months ago

Yes you have to refill more often. But, there is a savings because the costs per gallon is less. It's hard to see this with E-10 or E-15, but it is easy to see with E-85 where the cost can be as much as .60 cents per gallon less than gasoline..

It does not use more energy to produce than its generates. You may have overlooked the value of the by product that is fed to livestock. This ends up meaning lower food costs for beef.

Yes there are subsidies, but the same can be said for the oil industry.

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costello 10 months ago

I wouldn't use the word 'regulation' in this case. A regulation comes from a government body. In Zarco's case, the rule comes from some of kind contractual agreement with Phillips 66. The fact that Phillips 66 has imposed a rule which effectively closes down the sale of E15 at these stations at least raises the question of whether that was what motivated the rule. I don't use E15 myself, but I see no reason to object to others doing so if they wish. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/10/us-e15-rules-phillips66-insight-idUSBRE95907G20130610)

I'm not sure how E15 is politically mandated or how it's being forced on the public (I personally have felt no pressure), but I do think that our reliance on petroleum is not sustainable. I'm glad people are investigating alternatives. Sometimes we have to provide subsidies to encourage these attempts. I believe oil companies were subsidized in the early days too - and to this very day. It would be nice if the big energy companies were using some of their profits to investigate alternatives. They seem more interested in finding ways of shutting down what they perceive to be potential competition.

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streetman 10 months ago

Gosh -- politically incorrect thinking -- must be an outsider! However, Mr. Meyer does a service not being afraid to tell it like it is. Too many of us are silent about the goofy exaggerations of "green" initiatives -- about the energy saved, the jobs created, reduction in pollution -- and ignoring the downsides (e.g. direct and indirect costs, unintended consequences, general inconveniences). Nothing wrong with looking at green options, but a little truthfulness would actually help the cause.

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