Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ethanol: "Show Me Ethanol" Conflict of Interest

"Show Me Ethanol" in Missouri is in a battle over conflict of interest, as politicians in the state own shares in the company, potentially giving the ethanol plant it's operating for the purpose of making money for state legislaters.

State Treasurer Sarah Steelman has a policy in place to keep the taxpayer subsidized company from benefiting those in governmental power.

Some are trying to pressure Steelman to ease up on the policy, but she's right - there shouldn't be any politician anywhere that benefits from a government subsidy program, as it's really another form of insider trading, no matter how you look at it.

Show Me Ethanol is scheduled to open this spring, and had received an initial nod from Steelman that they had conditional approval to receive loans from banks at rates below the market rate.

That condition was that the ethanol plant had to comply with the conflict of interest policy, where no single investor in the company could have ties to statewide elected officials or anyone related to them.

In the case of Show Me Ethanol, that's not the case, as a number of Missouri politians or their family members have invested in the ethanol company, including John Quinn, his wife, Mary, Andy Blunt, and Lesley Graves.

Supposedly other ethanol companies have been reluctant to work under Sarah Steelman's strict policy, but that seems to be a condemnation rather than a pressure on Steelman. They don't understand that by rejecting the policy, they're admitting they are indeed looking for favors from politicians, and that those politicians would benefit from it.

This underscores the problem of the ethanol industry, which can't survive without being artificially propped up by taxpayer money and tax credits, or low interest loans.

Include with this the tremendous amount of damage it does to some cars and power equipment like snowmobiles, chainsaws and many others, we need to simply get this idea off the table, along with the thought that this is a viable alternative energy source.

Ethanol really isn't a business, it's a socialist program designed to placate those who are earth worshippers and hate the thought of digging for the billions of barrels of oil on American soil, which would allow fuel for decades ahead.

Ethanol supporters are in denial of this, and so push forward this disastrous program that costs people so much, let alone the damage it does to the environment.

As an investment - as the failed ethanol companies around the country show - ethanol sucks, the alternative gas mix is terrible, and it's far less effective than regular gasoline.

What it's becoming is a political, socialist business, not a free market business. That's why the biofuel is failing, along with the many ethanol companies.

While the government should be involved in any type of business, if they are going to be, at least it should be something that isn't destructive like ethanol is, and something that has a future.

Ethanol as a business and alternative fuel isn't one of them. The taxpayer money is being wasted as the powerful farm and corn growers lobbies think of only themselves at the expense of the rest of us.

End the low paying loans, taxpayer subsidies and tax credits to farmers. If the business is a legitimate one, it would be able to stand on its own. Ethanol businesses can't.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ethanol in Chainsaws: Disaster Waiting to Happen

Ethanol destroying chainsaws, even after being cleaned up

It seems that nothing runs good with ethanol in it, including chainsaws.

Many so-called experts have supposedly cleared automobiles for use with ethynol, but a large number of consumers still say they are having troubles with them. Snowmobile owners have been up in arms in the northern states over the breaking down of their snowmobiles from the use of ethanol in their engines.

When you research what some of the real experts - the mechanics - are saying, they start telling you the techniques you'd need to employ to take avoid the ethanol problems, or hopefully prevent them.

That's the problem, you just about have to be an expert, or at least very familiar with engines (which most people aren't), to even have a chance at preventing damage to or even salvaging your power equipment.

From hoses to valves, and other parts of engines, you have to take certain precautions to keep them from damaging your chainsaws. The amount of time, and in some cases with additives - extra price, it quickly becomes a much heavier burden to even use your small engine tools.

An increasing number of people are complaining about the abnormal number of problems with their chainsaws, ethanol in snowmobiles, generators, among a number of other small engine machinery used in the summer like lawnmowers, weedeaters and tillers.

Small engine mechanics confirm this saying their shops are as full as they've ever been with machinery that has broken down.

Some mechanics are also getting a little concerned about taking in the ethanol-damaged equipment, as many times they clean it, as with chainsaws, and have to bring them right back from using them in the field because ethanol leaves behind a hidden residue that can't be spotted with the naked eye.

A recent story about someone bringing a chainsaw in to be fixed, had the mechanic completely cleaning up the carburetor and the daiphrams, putting in fuel and air filters, and it started up in the shop ok. The owner took it out to use it, and after running for five minutes, had to bring it back to be looked at.

Ethanol can clog up just about everything, as in the real life example above, you can clean everything you can think up, and it still continues to fall apart. When the owner brought back the chainsaw after it broke down again, the next time around the lines would have to be checked to see if they were corroded.

Who wants to go through that with every small engine piece of machinery we have? It's ridiculous.

Another factor for the small engine industry is the concerns over safety and liability issues, as not only is there the equipment breaking down problem, but people could be hurt directly or indirectly from the failure of the products they manufacture.

In conclusion, valves can clog up, little metal parts rust, carburetors destroyes, as well as other small, but needed components.

Draining the ethanol based gas from the tanks isn't enough either, as I mentioned earlier, because of the residue - which is the component in ethanol that does the damage - will remain in the engine and chainsaw parts unseen.

While it doesn't work real well, some people have been helped slightly by adding Stabil to their non-2-cycle engine equipment. They unwittingly think that taking the ethanol mixed gas out that it will prevent the damage, but they are wrong.

Should you use ethanol in your chainsaws? Not at all if you can help it. There's nothing we can do to keep the engines and parts from gumming up and eventually failing.

Even the mechanics admit after cleaning it up there's not much they can do to prevent our chainsaws from being damaged again and again. We need to drop the ethanol hoax now. Think of the problems about to be released if the pressure to increase the mixture goes through!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Ethanol Problems Continue to Pressure Abandoning the Industry

Ethanol is becoming an increasingly controversial fuel source and problem, as the taxpayer subsidy is the only reason it can even be seriously considered as an alternative to regular gasoline.

The effect of ethanol on small engines has been a disaster, and yet proponents continue to ignore that and push for even higher levels of the mix in order to try to save the propped-up industry.

So far the basic standard has been E10, but even at that level it's harmful to owners of equipment with small engines,

With the cold weather this year, snowmobile owners have had a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, but the harm done by ethynol to small engines have brought them to the repair shop more often than not. Repair shop workers have said they're filled with machines waiting to be fixed because of the damage done from ethanol-ruined engines.

Other products used that are always are ruined in the repair shops at this time are snowblowers and chainsaws. Fears are the bad gas will cause even more harm in the biofuel disaster, and end up not only hurting equipment, but people as well. The danger is very real.

In the summer months all the usual power equipment we use like ATVs, lawnmowers and boats, among others, have the same survival challenge, as the engines face the same problems of their winter counterparts.

Along with starting and running problems, ethanol can also eat away at parts of the engine, effectively destroying them.

The two major problems beyond that, are the environment and food prices, which are impacted negatively from ethanol, especially corn-based ethanol. But even cellulosic ethanol won't be any better, and it'll be much more expensive, raising food prices even higher.

A recent study said oil would have to go to a price level of $233 a barrel in order for ethanol to break even.

The ethanol hoax and scam needs to be ended and put to rest. There are already numerous uprising against the misguided plan, and petitions are being signed and recommendations being made to stop the folly.

One politician even recently said that the reason we have to keep going with ethanol is because we've spent so much money on it already. That's plain nuts! You don't keep spending money in order to justify bad policies. It makes no sense at all.

Other than catering to the rich farm lobby, there's nothing good in pursuing the ethanol fiasco. The idea that jobs are being created is a fantasy. Sure you can get the loans and put construction workers together to build a plant. But like they're finding out, it's been a cruel joke on those that were given false hopes; especially the rural areas.

Outdoor equipment companies rightly assert that ethanol backers don't give an honest account fo the dangers and problems consumers will and do experience from the harmful effects of the biofuel.

Even if this weren't difficult times, ethanol would be a complete disaster, but when include the extensive damage to the equipment of people, potential bodily harm, cost of repairs, environmental inputs and higher costs of food, it's cruel to destroy people's lives continuing on with the harmful ethanol initiative.

What's the best way to protect your equipment? Don't put ethanol in them in the first place. All you'll get are more problems and headaches, along with potentially dangerous situations.

Winning submission in the 2008 Moody's Mega Math Challenge: Ethanol: Not All It Seems To Be

A group of students from High Technology High School in Lincroft, New Jersey, submitted a paper entitled "Ethanol: Not All It Seems To Be," and won the 2008 Moody's Mega Math Challenge, along with their work being published in the January 2009 issue of The Mathematical Association of America's College Mathematics Journal.

Some of the conclusions reached the high environmental and economic costs of ethanol replacing gasoline, nuclear power would be far better for alternative energy, and prices wouldn't be cost effective until oil was selling at $233 a barrel.

Ethanol: Not All It Seems To Be can be read here. Tom Jackson, Afanasiy Yermakov, Jason Zukus, and Kelly Roache were the four students that wrote the paper.

Friday, January 16, 2009

VeraSun Energy Dumping More of its Plants - 7 More Put Up for Auction

As part of the bankruptcy court financing agreement, VeraSun Energy Corp. is going to auction off seven of its biorefineries.

Stuggling to survive, the company needs to raise about $12.3 million just to run its remaining plants and pay its workforce through April 30, according to its filing in a Delaware bankruptcy court.

Per the agreement, the auction will start on March 16 and close on March 31. I'm not sure anybody would want them even for free. It'll be interesting to see if there are any takers.

At this time only four of VeraSun's ethanol plants remain operating, with the rest shut down, desperately hoping the economy will turn around so they can start them up again. I think they're out of luck on that one.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ethanol is Bad Investment: Just Ask Brazil

We always seem to hear about the potential and value of ethanol at a viable source of fuel for our vehicles. But let's look at Brazil, which is looked to as an example of ethanol success.

Some excerpts from a recent article on the cost of ethanol versus gasoline:

"Here’s an alternative fuels word problem that might baffle even the best U.S. math students:

"Jose drives his black flex-fuel Toyota Corolla into a Esso station on Rua Henrique Schaumann, a busy thoroughfare in Sao Paulo. He sees that gas costs 2.60 Brazilian reais per liter and ethanol costs 1.55 reais per liter. If Jose wants to get the most mileage for his money, which fuel should he choose?

"But for Brazilians, especially the millions who drive flex-fuel cars that run on any mixture of gasoline and ethanol, that question is a breeze.

“'Here’s the rule of thumb,' said Jose himself, full name Jose De Luca, a 30-year-old industrial engineer. 'When the price is 70 percent or less the price of gas, it’s worth using ethanol.'

"He’s got the right idea, says Adriano Pires, an economist and director of the energy consulting firm Centro Brasileiro de Infra Estrutura. According to Pires, the 70 percent figure is generally accepted as correct, although it can vary slightly depending on a car's make and model."

All the talk of options and choices is fine, but as you can see from a country that is the leader in doing it, gasoline is still by far the most productive and effective fuel available.

With estimates of oil shale in the U.S. being 5 times the amount of known reserves in Saudi Arabia, we aren't anywhere near the myth of "peak oil" thrown around by those who have a stake in providing of alternatives or the price of oil going up.

"Show Me Ethanol" Close to Filing Bankruptcy

Show Me Ethanol of Missouri is one step away from filing bankruptcy, as it has asked it shareholders for more funding via a capital call of $4,800 a share and a voluntary capital contribution.

If they can't raise the additional funds, the company will be forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Let it die!

"Advanced BioEnergy" Ethanol Company Seeking Merger or Sale

The failed ethanol industry has another company about to go under, as Advanced BioEnergy (ABE), which owns three ethanol plants, is in the process of looking for merger partners or selling the company outright.

It's already defaulted on a $10 million loan in October 2008, and is in even bigger trouble now, as its operating at a $13.1 million net loss while debt has risen to about $211 million, according to the Cleveland Research Company.

Besides selling the company outright or a merger, other considerations are to issue more debt, sell some of its operating assets or equity securities.

This is just the typical example of almost every ethanol company in the U.S. Just let this propped up illusory industry die. Not only is ethanol destructive to snowmobiles and most other small engines, but even with the waste of taxpayers' dollars it still can't even come close to turning a profit.

Preview of the Disaster Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack Will Be

Wednesday Ag Secretary nominee Tom Vilsack appeared before the Senate Ag Committee for his confirmation hearing.

Unsurprisingly he reiterated his strong support for the renewable fuel industry and the farm bill.

Here's what he said:

“It is important to continue to maintain the infrastructure because, if you’re going to transition at some point in time to cellulosic ethanol, you have to have the capacity to produce it, and you don’t want that hundreds of millions of dollars, billions of dollars, that’s already been invested, not to be fully utilized.”

Think of it. He wants to maintain the failed experiment because it would be a waste of money if he was to get rid of it. It blows the mind. We need to keep wasting taxpayers money because of the faulty idea, and then continue to keep expanding it, while continuing to lose money.

Admitting the billions of dollars already spent are wasted, Vilsack's reasoning is to spend more so we didn't waste the already wasted money. This guys going to be fun to watch and comment on going forward.

Another ignorant senator from Indiana, Richard Lugar, pressured Vilsack to keep the "hope of biofuels alive." He also showed his lack of grasp of the issues surrounding ethanol by saying there's a need to bring it above the 10-percent mix, which is already breaking almost everything it's put in as far as small power equipment goes.

Keep the hope alive? That's about as dumb a statement that can be made. The best thing to do is immediately drop the disastrous and expensive program, and look for viable alternatives going forward.

What does Lugar think this is - a religion? Actually to many it is, as they blindly continue to drink the mixed ethanol koolaide, when money could be spent much better things.

Rather than being focused on bogus issues like disappearing polar bears and beluga whales, the government needs to push into existing, known reserves of the billions of barrels of oil on American soil and off its coastlines.

From there we can slow things down, take a deep breath, and find legitimate alternatives. We aren't in no hurry. There's plenty of oil out there for decades, only only idiotic, earth worshippers are keeping us from tapping into.

Sooner or later we'll have to, as the hype and false hope of a quick fix is teaching biofuels proponents that it'll take a lot more time than they thought to transition to alternative fuels. Oil is the current answer to the non-existent problem at this time.

Whether people like it or not, we'll have to drill and find ways to extract it during this period of time.

Vilsack will probably be confirmed on Tuesday as President-elect Obama is sworn in. Too bad!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Another Waste of Taxpayers Money as Northeast Biofuels Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Only a mere five months after becoming operational, Northeast Biofuels LP has already sought out bankuptcy protection under Chapter 11.

Businesses filing under Chapter 11 restructure their finances with the goal of starting operations up again.

The plant cost about $200 million to build, as another huge waste of taxpayers' money is revealed in the ongoing ethanol debacle.

Go here for bankruptcy petition, which was filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Syracuse

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ethanol Destroying Most Types of Power Equipment

At the end of last month the growing grass roots opposition to ethanol received a boost as a state legislature, David Campbell, introduced a bill that would ban ethanol from being blended with gasoline in the state of New Hampshire.

One report said, "Equipment repair shops all over the Northeast report growing problems with engines caused by gasoline containing the current EPA-mandated 10 percent ethanol, or “E-10” gas. The engines, many of which are two-cycle, weren’t engineered to accommodate the differing characteristics of E-10 fuel, leading to an array of problems, including hard starting, erratic running, internal damage and eventual failure."

If this is happening in the northeast, it's happening everywhere this type of equipment is being used. It's either being underreported, neglected, or equipment users aren't aware of the cause behind their equipment failures.

This is similar to bad gas in a car which has damaged the device which measures how much gas is in the tank. You don't know it until a number of people discover they've been victims of the same problem, and figure out it has come from the same cause.

With all this being done at the "E-10" level, think of what will happen at the "E-15" or "E-20" level, which is being pushed unethically by the ethanol industry.

"There’s lots more of that to come if EPA allows E-15, E-20 or higher ethanol blends to come to market," says Kris Kiser of OEPI (Outdoor Power Equipment Institute), a Washington trade group.

So why is this outrage being perpetrated upon people?

Kiser says this:

“We’re now using less gasoline across the country, so the ethanol lobby is trying to force more ethanol onto the market."

If that were to happen, Kiser says most “'legacy equipment'-outdoor equipment engines made before 2008" will break down.

Some state bureaucrats form the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services are discouraging Cambell in his fight saying the state won't receive gas under the current federal ethanol mandates if he pursues this course.

But as Cambell said, "if New Hampshire bans it we’ll be the first state to do it, but if 10, 20 or 30 states eventually come along I say it will stop the idiocy."

I think he's right. That many states banning it will undermine the completely misguided, and in some cases, unethical, foisting of ethanol upon the public.

Many of the supporters behind the legislation are owners of snowmobiles, weed whackers, chainsaws and outboard boat motors, or any other similar equipment. Once word gets out on the terrible damage to users' equipment, it shouldn't take long before the ethanol debacle is finally and thankfully buried.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ethanol Gas Destroying Snowmobile Engines

In more grim news concerning the ethanol industry, snowmobilers are reporting a new gas, E10, which is a mixture including 10 percent ethanol, is ruining engines of their machines.

Snowmobiles and ethanol simply do not mix, and it's best to just get rid of the combination before the machine is destroyed completely.

"There's a major issue with ethanol in that in as little as ten days ethanol will separate from gas and if you burn straight ethanol in a snowmobile or a lawnmower or something like that you're going to cook the engine on it," said Lt. Pat Dorian with the Maine Warden Service.
If that's not enough, condensation can be a huge problem too, as water can absorb ethanol, which can also destroy the snowmobile engines.

Now the solution to the problem of condensation is to put an additive in with your gas which prevents the ethanol from separating from the gasoline.

I have a better idea: get rid of ethanol permanently. This is getting more ludicrous by the moment. You put ethanol in your machines, although they'll get ruined, then you have to go out and get an additive to prevent the engine from getting ruined by putting ethanol in in the first place. Just use the normal gasoline you have always used, that will keep all this nonsense from happening.

This just shows the corn-based ethanol isn't the only issue, it's ethanol itself that's the issue.

Ethanol Fix continues to call for the complete abandonment of the pursuit of ethanol as a viable biofuel.

It doesn't matter which piece of power equipment run by small engines you have, it's going to end up being ruined by the use of ethanol mixed gas in it.

When you consider you're riding a snowmobile in many cases far away from home, it can become a potential danger and hazard to run it with ethanol, similar to running an outboard motor in the summer far away from where you put it in the water. It's becoming dangerous to use the mixed fuel, as it could result in harm to the user.

Now with calls for a higher mixture of ethanol in gas used for snowmobiles and other power equipment, it's going to get worse if this outrage continues, as not only is it unsafe, but it's getting costly to owners as small engine mechanics confirm they've never seen so many small engine equipment in their shops.

To me, snowmobiles, generators, chainsaws, boat motors, among many, can pose a danger to those using them with ethanol when the chances of them malfunctioning or not functioning could end up being a physical danger to the user.

Taking everything into consideration, snowmobiles aren't a good fit for ethanol, and neither are chainsaws, generators and boat motors. It's time to drop the usage, as the current bitterly cold winter shows, it could be a matter of life and death if your snowmobile malfunctions far away from safety because ethanaol messed up the engine.

We need to communicate with our lawmakers and let them know the damage and safety hazard ethanol is when used in snowmobiles and other power equipment we own. That way we can get rid of the misguided strategy and drill for more oil that already exists and put our research money into something that works.

Snowmobiles using ethanol isn't one of those areas that we should be even thinking about considering, as experience has proven.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Government's Ethanol Policy Costing another 75 Jobs: Butterball Laying Off 75 Workers

The horrendous, artificial ethanol industry continues to devastate other American industry, as Butterball announced it would be laying off another 75 workers, this time in Carthage, Missouri.

Last year the company had to lay off another 490 workers in Longmont, Colorado, citing the surging corn prices caused by corn-based ethanol subsidies from the U.S. government.

CEO Keith Shoemaker says this time around the problem continues to be the terrible government-sponsored ethanol policies which have artificially inflated the price of corn.

Many other animal-based businesses are experiencing the same disaster, as feed prices continue to rise.

Ethanol Fix continues to call upon the government to stop this atrocity and rescind the failed law and plan.

Pacific Ethanol Shuts Down Madera Plant

Pacific Ethanol (PEIX) continues to fight to survive, as they have now shut down the Madera plant, although they say it's only a temporary move.

This follows their disastrous third quarter, where "Losses for the company widened by an extraordinary amount, surging to $54.9 million, or 98 cents a share, in contrast to the same quarter last year where losses were at $4.8 million."

None of this will end any time soon, as on average ethanol is 60 cents higher in cost than gasoline, and make gas prices higher when included in the mix. Consequently, demand continues to fall, in spite of the misguided subsidies offered by the government.

Take the subsidies out of there, and the real story would be far worse for this ongoing debacle that is becoming more of a religion than at legitimate alternative.

This has pummeled the company's stock, which on January 9, 2008 was at $8 a share, now it stands at a pathetic 56 cents a share.

We need to end this ignorant pursuit of corn-based ethanol, and cellulosic ethanol as well. Those of the ethanol religion are now attempting to get the mind of the public off the corn-based ethanol debacle and make it look like the even more expensive cellulosic ethanol is the answer.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Obama's Pick of Tom Vilsack for Agriculture Secretary Grim News for Nation

Obama hasn't shown a lot of wisdom in his cabinet choices so far, and is evidenced in relationship to ethanol, as he picked ethanol subsidy proponent Tom Vilsack, former Iowa governor, to lead the Department of Agriculture.

The conflict of interest is too obvious to have to comment on, in that Iowa has been the largest recipient of taxpayer dollars, receiving the largest portion of the over $25 billion wasted on ethanol subsidies so far.

Not only that, but Vilsack is even more radical in pushing for larger subsidies for the failing biofuel strategy.

It's hard to understand how Obama on one side of his mouth asks for a cap on subsidies for wealthy farmers, citing the excessive power the special interest group wields, and then on the other side of his mouth places someone like Vilsack in charge of the Department of Agriculture. It's a grim, complete disaster.

"The president-elect’s own history is difficult to square with his recent farm-reform talk. Obama ardently backed ethanol subsidies while in the Senate — his home state of Illinois trails only Iowa in corn production — and one of his closest confidants, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, is as responsible as any politician for the explosion in these subsidies."

Not only does corn-based ethanol require more inputs than other crops, but the usual unintended consequences have emerged, and as usual hurt the little people the most, as processed food prices soared in response to the artificial propping up of the prices of corn, driven only by Federal subsidies.

It looks like a lot more pain will have to be inflicted on people before politicians and environmentalist admit the failure of this venture, which was instigated by the unholy agreement between the two.

Now that the obvious results of the disaster are becoming known, green groups are trying to distance themselves from the debacle, as they're made to look like the fools they are.

All of us are still waiting to see where the reform promised by Obama is going to implemented. So far it's business as usual in Washington. And in the case of ethanol, it's an increasing disaster no one is willing to admit to and just drop off the subsidy list.