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Location: Ames, Iowa, United States

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Oil Companies Trying To Thwart New Energy Sources

In what I call a new "head in the sand" attitude, Exxon Mobil Senior Vice President Stuart McGill said that imported oil is here for the realistic future. The oil companies are trying to stop our country from reducing dependence on foreign oil sources. The reason is obvious. They have been using the high price of oil on the world market (barrels of unrefined oil) as an excuse to make exorbitant profits at the expense of the American consumer.
They know that if simple fixes like ethanol introduction into the gasoline supply are implemented, the US public will notice the dramatic reduction in the cost of gasoline. Then the outcry would ensue: "We want Ethanol!! We want Ethanol!!"
I live in Iowa, where Ethanol has been in the gasoline supply for a number of years. I'm not sure how long, because I came here from SoCal a little over a year ago.
The retail price for mid-grade gas (10% Ethanol) is actually lower than regular unleaded. There is a movement to require all states to create Ethanol boosted gas. The main opposition has been (surprise!) the major oil companies.
See, the oil companies don't own corn fields. Why is that important? Because that's how ethanol is created. Rendering corn into burnable high yield fuel.
According to what I have read and seen, most vehicles on the road today can use ethanol boosted fuel. Possibly as high as 70% boosting. What would this mean to the average consumer?
Well, forget buying corn on the cob at eight for a dollar. But I will give up my ear of corn to reduce my cost to drive the highways.
The actual savings per gallon are in dispute. A price of half of what we are paying has been quoted. Of course, those who dispute that low cost are the oil companies and the brain dead naysayers of the world.
In reality, Mr McGill doesn't have his head in the sand. He represents the oil conglomerates in this instance, and shows that those companies are afraid of losing their profits. Bottom Line!

I'll be back



Anonymous Gary Dikkers said...


The fossil fuel companies have nothing against corn-based ethanol. In fact, I suspect they secretly rub their hands in glee at the thought of corn farmers and ethanol plants using fossil fuels to grow corn and turn it into ethanol.

The truth is that corn ethanol is neither sustainable nor renewable and wouldn't exist without burning fossil fuels.

It sounds like you haven't been in Iowa all that long. Check around and see if you can find any corn farmers who don't depend on nitrogen fertilizer to get their huge yields. Then call the local co-op and ask them where that nitrogen comes from.

Answer: Nitrogen fertilizers are almost all made from natural gas. And the majority of that nitrogen is made overseas from foreign natural gas and imported into the U.S.

Then go to your nearest ethanol plant and ask them what they use for the thermal energy to run their plants. A: 99% will say natural gas.

Then try to find a corn farmer who doesn't use diesel fuel to run his or her ag equipment. A: None

Without natural gas and diesel fuel, there would be no corn-based ethanol.

Making corn ethanol does return slightly more energy than making it consumes, but the excess energy is not in a form that can be used to make more ethanol. Even with a small positive energy return, corn ethanol is dependent on fossil fuels.

Fossil fuel companies would only fear a true domestic fuel that is renewable and sustainable -- that isn't corn ethanol.


Gary Dikkers

07 February, 2006 21:56  
Blogger Craig C said...

All you say may be true. But it will still reduce the amount of oil needed. Right now, much of the corn yield is wasted. Diesel fuel is not gasoline. It takes less oil to make diesel than gasoline. Natural gas comes from areas other than the Middle East, and is less invasive to the environment to pull out of the ground. Compromises can be made with the environmentalists on that one, I believe.

Craig C

08 February, 2006 07:31  
Anonymous Gary Dikkers said...


You are correct diesel is not gasoline. But diesel fuel is still made from imported oil.

I never said we use natural gas from the Middle East. But our corn farmers are reliant on imported nitrogen fertilizers made from foreign natural gas.

Corn-based ethanol will only be the solution to our liquid fuel needs when the ethanol industry shows they can grow corn and turn it into ethanol without needing to use ANY natural gas or diesel fuel.

The corn ethanol industry likes to say they produce more energy than they consume. Don't you find it the least bit strange that even as they say that, they continue growing corn with nitrogen made from natural gas, running their ethanol plants on natural gas, and using diesel fuel to power their trucks and ag equipment?

If they really produce more energy than they use, they should be able to stop their own addiction to energy from fossil fuels.

11 February, 2006 10:51  

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