Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Department of “So-Not-Surprised”—Ethanol Losing Money

With the dramatic rise in corn prices—some of which is blamed on its use in ethanol and other “blended” fuels—ethanol producers are getting squeezed to the breaking point.

From the CME Group Ethanol Outlook Report:
Over [the past] 7-month period, corn prices have rallied by 90% whereas ethanol prices have rallied by only 55%. The relative weakness in ethanol prices has slashed the ethanol-corn crush margin to its current level of -1 cent per gallon from the 20 cent profit seen last July. Including the income earned from selling distiller dried grains (DDGs), the margin is still positive at 35 cents. However, from that 35-cent profit, U.S. corn-ethanol producers need to pay all their other expenses, meaning most [corn-ethanol producers] are barely profitable at present and some are already losing money. The profit risks remain high for ethanol producers if corn continues to rally.
The Law of Unintended Consequences: All the corn grown in the United States with generous Federal subsidies was glutting the markets—so the Bush administration had the bright idea to give even more incentives to turn that grain into fuel. 

Turns out, aside from being an incredibly inefficient way to produce fuel, corn-ethanol drove up the price of corn, making ethanol uncompetitive with regular gasoline, as we are now seeing.

To top it off, there is such a high demand for fuel that, if every car were turned into an ethanol user, there isn’t enough corn on the planet to satisfy demand, let alone enough left over to feed people and livestock. 

So the whole ethanol thing was another government boondoggle: Your tax dollars, hard at work. 


  1. Corn ethanol is a scam.
    Even Al Gore admits, now, that corn ethanol creates more carbon dioxide than gasoline.
    But, the renewable scams don't stop with corn ethanol.
    Add wind and solar power to them.
    These sources of energy can only add electricity to the grid.
    They can not replace any legacy power sources, like coal or natural gas.
    This is because wind and cloud cover are unpredictable.
    And of course, solar power does not work at night.
    Except in Spain, where the solar subsidies were so high, that scamers used diesel run generators to power high intensity lamps to shine on solar cells at night.

  2. This is all mute. The chevy volt is here and gonna change everything. Didn't you watch the super bowl?

  3. Dear "batshit insane":
    Automobile electrification plus nuclear power can "change everything".
    The electricity that the Volt uses will come from fossil fuels.
    About 55% of it from coal powered plants.
    If you wish to eliminate carbon dioxide then we must eliminate the CO2 producing coal and natural gas power plants.
    It can not be done with corn ethanol, solar and wind, those are scams.
    That leaves you with nuclear power, which is the best solution.
    No there is no nuclear waste problem, all we have to do is recycle the nuclear "waste", just like France has been doing it for decades.
    Electricity produced from nuclear power and electrification of automobile transportation solves the CO2 "problem" and makes the Middle Easterns have to stuff their oil up their butts.

  4. I'm pretty sure batshit insane was kidding. :)

  5. Yes, I was kidding. Had McCain won, at least this stimulus spending would be pouring into nuclear power plants.

    I found this article from a few years ago to be one of the most engaging and educational I've ever seen. Green freaks simply refuse to read it.


    As for the chevy volt, it wouldn't surprise me if the whole thing turns out to just be a pr gag.


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