The World According to Wayne: The Ethanol Fallacy
August 1, 2007
The so-called energy crisis got me thinking about some of the suggested alternatives to oil and gas. For more than 100 years, the doom-and-gloom crowd has been saying that we only are a few years away from the end of oil. In a way, they were right. First, we drilled up all the $5-a-barrel oil, and ran out. The free market reacted, and oil went to $10 a barrel. Low and behold, there was another 20 years worth of oil available. When that ran out, and the price went up again – and another miraculous supply appeared, thanks to those of us who drill for a living. It appears that we always will have only a 10- or 20-year supply of oil at any given price. Oil now is between $60 and $70 a barrel, and we are awash. But we’ll go through that eventually, too. When it reaches $100 a barrel. we’ll have more. That is the free market at work.
Oil – and drillers – keep the train of progress on the track. Some of our elected officials (read: career bureaucrats) have decided that we need “alternatives” to oil. They have rejected nuclear energy, mostly out of abysmal ignorance, because they think they might glow in the dark or their babies might be born nekkid, or some other unreasoned excuse. Some pretty sharp engineers have designed wind farms that are able to harvest the energy of the climate and atmosphere, but this, too, has been rejected because 1) people don’t want them where they can see them, and 2) some bird flew into the blades in California and got sliced and diced. We certainly can’t have that in the name of progress!
Now our illustrious leaders have come up with the idea that we should use ethanol as a substitute for gasoline. It seems that the major impetus for this bit of rocket science is to buy votes from farmers in the Midwest, the breadbasket of the world. Instead of growing corn to feed the world, we now can make an inefficient, corrosive, dangerous fuel out of our food crops that can’t even be transported in pipelines, due to its corrosive nature.
Never mind how much diesel, fertilizer and truck transport it takes to reduce the mileage and efficiency of my car, it buys votes, power and makes everybody feel like they are doing something for the environment. When you consider the energy output of a gallon of ethanol vs. a gallon of gasoline, there is no comparison. When we ran our racecars on alcohol, it took nearly twice as much to make the same horsepower.
Some research I came across recently indicates that if we use 100 percent of the corn grown in the United States for ethanol production, it only would supply 11 percent of our fuel needs – at about $6 a gallon. Does this make sense to anybody outside of Washington, D.C.? Not to mention that pouring perfectly good drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle is a sore waste of “inspiration” ….
There are places with proven reserves that we haven’t even started to drill yet, such as the west coast of Florida and others, just because some people don’t want to see a drilling rig on the horizon. But they will be the first to complain about the price of a gallon of gas. There are plenty of other places that we haven’t even explored yet. Personally, I think a drilling rig on the horizon is a beautiful sight.
My conclusion: Feed the corn to the cattle, make T-bone steaks and strong drillers, and drill for the resources that that made us free and prosperous.