I don't know about small engines but in Brazil they sell dual fuel
vehicles which can run on either fuel blend. Brazil is self-suffcient
on fuel producing lots of ethanol. U.S. could do it too. and why not?.
A lot of people are mentioning Brazil as if it was some kind of ideal example.
That is certainly not the case. They did not convert to ethanol for
reasons - they did it to control their balance of payments and trade deficits.
wasn't necessarily cheaper and a lot of Brazilian drivers hated the ethanol
cars. It took a while before the were able to get cars that ran well on ethanol.
Now that the technology has settled down, Brazilian drivers still resent the
fuels (sort of like North American drivers that are still cranky about pollution
equipment on their cars - there's no problem with it, just a perception based on
relatively poor performance of the first pollution controlled cars in the '70s.)
Brazil's ethanol industry is based on sugar cane, which is not a good source. It
was relatively plentiful and they couldn't get as much money exporting sugar as
converting it to fuel. The US, for examples, blocked sugar imports with trade
restrictions and a propped-up US price to support US sugar businesses - like
Ethanol has to be based on a marginal crop that can grow without intense
farming techniques. Otherwise, it will cost more energy to make than to use.
All good points Mike. This is another example of how only a part of
the story gets told and how people go off half cocked. Another key
point to the Brazil story is they didn't just use Ethanol to become
energy independent. Last week there was a picture of the President of
Brazil on an offshore oil well, turning the valve on, bringing it
Yet, if you talk about drilling off shore in most areas of the US, the
environmental extremists all come running around telling you it
shouldn't be done. Then they point to the wonders of Brazil as an
example of how to achieve energy independence, hoping nobody will
notice the truth.
The reality is we should be pursuing multiple solutions. Opening up
more areas to drilling *(ANWAR, offshore, etc), building nukes, ethanol
provided it's cost effective, wind, more research on solar, more
conservation, etc. But anytime you try to do almost any one of these,
some nuts show up to piss and moan and stop it.
On 11-May-2006, email@example.com wrote:
A multiple front attack on the problem is inevitable. There is no silver
bullet, but a lot of smaller changes have some hope of getting us a lot
closer to the solution.
And unfortunately, most people claim these pissers and moaners are all
left-wing environmentalists, In fact, right-wing politicians in the back pockets
of special interest groups are just as much of a problem.
People claim that the environmental kooks are a problem becauce they
are totally unreasonable and opposed to almost everything. No offshore
drilling, no nukes, no drilling in ANWAR, no storage sites for nuke
waste, no builiding of dams. A classic case of the hypocracy is
Robert Kennedy Jr. Big environmentalist telling us all how we should
be changing our lives to help the environment, conserve resources and
how we should be adopting all these great clean renewable energy
But, he sees nothing wrong in personally owning several large SUVs,
more than one home and riding in private jets. Currently three is a
proposal to build a wind farm off Cape Cod. Who are two of the chief
opponents? Kennedy and fellow liberal Walter Cronkite. They know
what's good for all of us, they just won't have any part of it for
You can say what you want about right wing Republicans being in the
back pockets of special interest groups, but in general, they are not
opposed to everything and do want to move ahead on finding more energy,
which we ultimately need. All the whacko environmentalists want to do
is obstruct everything, including windmills, while many of them like
Kennedy, consume resources with abandon.
Because all of the alternative energy sources except arguably nuclear
are a bad economic bargin until petrol hits $4.50 a gallon.
We use dead dinosaurs (ok, algea) to run our cars because they're
REALLY, REALLY cheap, compared to all the alternatives.
It's true that it's not as cheap as it used to be.
This shouldn't be a surprise to you. You will never move
a 3,000# chunk of metal with you inside it around the
country for less than $0.10 a mile again. Get used to it.
And those alternatives have been dropping in price for decades as the technology
is improved, developed and volume of sales increases. The only reason that cars
are so cheap is that they've spent over a century getting the price down and the
Putting subsidies in place that support big oil in preference to alternatives
Bush plan) works against the free market that allows alternatives to flourish.
Americans probably never heard of biodiesel until Bush talked about it.
Ethanol - I read this morning in the latest edition of The Economist that the US
a $0.54/liter surcharge on imported Brazilian ethanol and a $0.51/liter tax
domestic ethanol. Them republicans shore luv th' free markit - and getting the
to pay for it.
High-powered car at high speed? - yes.
Don't give up so easily :-)
There are a couple of valid reasons for both the surcharge and the tax
break/subsidy for fuel ethanol. The primary reasons for the subsidy are to
encourage ethanol production in the U.S. The production of fuel ethanol in
the U.S. is an emerging technology and the subsidy offers an incentive to
folks to invest in fuel ethanol plants and to continue to explore the
various methods of producing fuel ethanol. Left to its own devices, this
industry would likely be very slow to develop. For this reason alone, the
subsidy makes some sense. If the cost of crude stays where it is today, I
suspect that the ethanol subsidy will be eliminated or scaled back or
perhaps even indexed to the price of crude.
There's a huge local benefit when something like a fuel ethanol plant is
built. Besides the jobs the plant creates, there are numerous economic
benefits to add to the salary base that can have a large impact on the local
economy. A fuel ethanol plant is no different in this respect than any
large business that locates in an area.
Our government is also using the fuel ethanol subsidy to see if they can't
fashion a replacement for the grain price supports they've been using for
years to encourage farmers to stay in the business. As the use of corn for
manufacturing fuel ethanol pushes the price of corn up, less price support
is necessary. In that sense, it's not a new subsidy but a replacement
subsidy that, in effect, derives more return in the form of an incentive for
an emerging industry than a simple price support.
The surcharge on imported ethanol also makes sense if we're trying to
encourage expansion of the domestic fuel ethanol industry. For one thing,
it makes little sense to import fuel ethanol from Brazil, or any other
country, just to switch our hostage position in the energy industry from one
fuel type to another.
That's why I used the term environmental kook. Sure there are some
environmentalists that have some balance, but they are rarely heard
from. Instead the ones we hear from and that have control of the
movement are largely the kooks that show up opposed to everything
In politics? He holds no elected office that I am aware of, but he
sure is deep into environmental organizations and causes. But it's ok
for him to own multiple vehicles, SUV's, fly in corporate jets and
oppose windmills when they turn out to be in his families area of
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
The way Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has assumed command of the Water Keeper
Alliance, you'd almost think he started the environmental movement on
his own. But he actually stumbled into it as a result of a 1984
criminal conviction for heroin possession. A judge sentenced him to 800
hours of community service, which he satisfied with volunteer work for
the Hudson River Foundation. After his 800 hours were used up, the
organization (now operating as the Hudson Riverkeepers) hired Kennedy
as its "chief prosecuting attorney."
In the years since his drug conviction, Kennedy has also gone to work
for the Natural Resources Defense Council and assumed a professorship
in the law school at Pace University. Kennedy also started Pace's
environmental law clinic specifically to sue governments and businesses
on behalf of Riverkeeper.
Robert Kennedy approaches environmental law with a brash,
take-no-prisoners approach that tends to alienate many who might
otherwise be his allies. After working with him on a $10 million New
York City watershed agreement, Putnam County (NY) legal counsel George
Rodenhausen told reporters that "he separates himself from good
science at times in order to aggressively pursue an issue and win."
In July 2003, a major U.S. pork producer obtained an indictment against
Kennedy in Poland for committing slander during an inflammatory rant
against the company's Polish subsidiary. The indictment charges that
Kennedy spouted "untrue information" and "consciously manipulated
the facts" with the intent to "discredit the company."
Kennedy's harshest public thrashing to date, however, came from one
of his closest colleagues, Riverkeeper founder Robert Boyle. Along with
seven other Riverkeeper board members, Boyle resigned in 2000 after
Kennedy insisted upon hiring a convicted environmental felon as the
group's chief scientist. At the time, Boyle told the New York Post
that Kennedy "is very reckless," and added that "[h]e's assumed
an arrogance above his intellectual stature."
Reflecting on the episode later, Boyle gave the New York Times an apt
summary of Kennedy's attitude regarding his environmental crusades:
"I thought he was thinking of himself and not the cause of the
river," Boyle said. "It all became his own greater glory."
Maybe because he thinks the free market is better at figuring out
solutions than another government boondoggle. I'm still waiting for
the first gallon of oil from the billions that Jimmy Carter took from
the oil companies to produce oil from shale. Actually it was taken
from consumers, because taxes just get passed on like any other cost.
"Get your head out of your republican butt and look at the real world."
While there are things that Pres. Bush has been deeply disappointing in, the
alternatives are worse. I mean a "5" as Pres. is better than a "0".
Kidding again? The mainstream media takes months to report most of the news on
Bush's crimes. The media is biased alright. But in the direction of the media's
desires, not the public's need to know.
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