by Steve St. Angelo, SRSRocco Report: Yes, it’s true… the United States smashed another fuel production record this year. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), the country produced over one million barrels per day of this liquid gold in the first six months of 2017. Unfortunately, this isn’t something to brag about. It would be wise just to keep this lil record to ourselves, rather than broadcast it loudly across the energy news wires and Mainstream media.
Why do I say that? Because the U.S. produced a record 1.02 million barrels per day of corn-based ethanol, the lowest quality fuel in the world. Corn ethanol’s EROI – Energy Returned On Invested is so low, it barely provides one full barrel of fuel for one barrel worth of energy that it took to produce it. I get into that in a moment, but let’s look at U.S. ethanol production since 2010:
U.S. ethanol fuel production was 870,000 barrels per day (bd) in 2010, fell to 852,000 bd in 2013 and then continued to increase to a new record of 1.02 million bd in the first six months of 2017. We must remember, corn ethanol is blended into gasoline which is called “E10.” All E10 means is that gasoline you buy at the pump can be blended up to 10% with ethanol.
Americans consumed the majority of domestically produced corn ethanol as was blended into the 9.3 million bd of motor gasoline we burned in 2016 (EIA). Actually, it works out quite nicely as 10% of 9.3 million bd or motor gasoline equals 930,000 bd of ethanol. According to the EIA, the U.S. exported 68,000 bd of ethanol in 2016… which is very close to the total 990,000 bd of U.S. ethanol production last year.
Okay, so we are producing one hell of a lot of corn juice to power our vehicles… what does that really mean? It means that we are consuming approximately 40% of our domestic corn crop to produce 10% of our motor gasoline supply. In the article, Trump’s Support For Ethanol Is Bad For Taxpayers & Their Cars:
And the federal government not only requires the use of ethanol; it also subsides it. Tax credits between 1978 and 2012 cost the Treasury as much as $40 billion. Moreover, numerous other federal programs, spanning multiple agencies, allot billions of dollars to ethanol in the form of grants, loan guarantees, tax credits, and other subsidies.
Taxpayers suffer in other ways, too. Vehicles can drive fewer miles per gallon using ethanol blends than they would with pure gasoline. So Americans end up spending an extra $10 billion per year for fuel, the Institute for Energy Research estimates.
Ethanol also guzzles 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop, and the resulting scarcity drives up the price of food. This year alone, the Congressional Budget Office estimated, American consumers will spend $3.5 billion more on groceries because of the ethanol mandate.
As the article states, Americans pay an extra $10 billion a year for E10 fuel, because ethanol has a lower energy content. Basically, a gallon of ethanol has two-thirds the energy content of a gallon of straight motor gasoline. Furthermore, the EPA says that fuel efficiency can decrease by 1.5-3% (or even higher) using ethanol blended gasoline.
When we add up the negatives here, why are we wasting 40% of our corn crop to produce a fuel that has a lower energy content and costs Americans more money to drive down the road? That’s a good question. Unfortunately, it gets even worse.