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posted by janrinok on Tuesday August 24, @04:24PM   Printer-friendly
from the its-corn-its-good dept.

The author of this piece has an obvious bias (Geoff Cooper is the president and CEO of Renewable Fuels Association), but does he also have a valid point?

Let's prioritize American renewable fuels over foreign oil and minerals:

After suffering through more than a year of quarantines, stay-at-home orders, and travel lockdowns, millions of Americans have eagerly returned to the nation's highways this summer for long-awaited vacations and road trips. As a result, gasoline demand has surged to record highs and pump prices are at levels not seen since 2014.

In recent weeks, regular-grade gas prices averaged $3.17 per gallon, up almost 50 percent from the same time last year. With higher fuel prices threatening to undermine the nation's ongoing economic recovery, it's easy to see why the Biden administration is looking for ways to ease America's pain at the pump.

[...] Before the Biden administration looks to OPEC+ countries or mineral-rich nations like Afghanistan, China and Bolivia for help, it has an opportunity to turn to America's heartland for a homegrown solution. Renewable fuels like ethanol have a 40-year proven track record of success in helping to lower prices at the pump while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions, supporting good-paying clean energy jobs and curtailing crude oil imports.

Four decades' worth of investment and innovation by ethanol producers has resulted in real breakthroughs in lower-carbon transportation fuels. Today's corn-based ethanol reduces carbon emissions by 52 percent when compared directly to gasoline, according to a recent study from the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory. Another study by scientists from Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Tufts University similarly shows corn ethanol achieves an average carbon reduction of 46 percent compared to gasoline, with some ethanol in the market today achieving a 61 percent carbon reduction.

[...] Before we turn to the Persian Gulf for answers to our nation's energy and climate challenges, let's give the American heartland a shot. The solution to high pump prices and decarbonization lies in the farm fields of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and other Midwest states — not in the oil fields of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and other Middle East nations.

Journal Reference:
Uisung Lee, Hoyoung Kwon, May Wu, et al. Retrospective analysis of the U.S. corn ethanol industry for 2005–2019: implications for greenhouse gas emission reductions [open], Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining (DOI: 10.1002/bbb.2225)


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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, @04:43PM (12 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, @04:43PM (#1170375)

    SLOW DOWN. Walk places, don't drive so much. Lose your blubber. God, why do people need to be TOLD this, are you all brain-washed infants that can't be taken from the teat?!

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  • (Score: 5, Touché) by DannyB on Tuesday August 24, @05:16PM

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 24, @05:16PM (#1170401) Journal

    I have quit driving so much. Since COVID-19 lockdown began, we started getting everything delivered to our door. Amazon. Groceries from local store. Almost everything we can possibly need. Our cars don't burn as much fuel now.

    We can stay safely inside and this magical clean system brings us everything at the touch of an App.

    I put the trash and recycling out, and other trucks come take it away.

    Now if only we had UBI.

    --
    A large Starlink satellite constellation will be a smashing success!
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Thexalon on Tuesday August 24, @05:19PM (2 children)

    by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday August 24, @05:19PM (#1170405)

    Yes, cutting back on driving would definitely help. Some things along those lines you didn't mention:
    1. Working from home. Which also makes things better for the people that have to commute because you're one fewer car on the road.
    2. Use public transit when possible. Putting hundreds of people on 1 train or even 25 people on 1 bus is a lot more efficient than putting hundreds of people in hundreds of SUVs.
    3. Bicycling. Bicycles are approximately the most efficient tool for moving people from one place to another currently known to humanity.

    But there are lots of people, at least where I am, that drive around for pleasure at least as much as for necessity. And there's a really easy way to stop them from doing that: Let the price of gas go up. A few years ago, gas started approaching $4 a gallon in the US, and suddenly sales started to drop as people began making adjustments to not need so much of it.

    --
    The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
    • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Wednesday August 25, @12:17AM (1 child)

      by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 25, @12:17AM (#1170586) Journal

      I was loving it when gas was $4/gallon. Suddenly, my economy car changed from an object of scorn and mockery into an interesting and cool ride. Not that I ever cared what idiots thought of my ride, though the persistent attempts to make a stink about it were sometimes annoying. Usually ended up with my coworkers baffled that they couldn't budge what I valued about a car. Bosses too would get frustrated that I wasn't falling into the trap of needing that job income to pay for an expensive new car. If I wasn't making car payments, I was a flight risk, you know.

      It was especially funny one evening when my boss bummed a ride off me to get home, as his truck was in the repair shop. Soon as I started the engine, he asked what was that horrible rumbling noise? It wasn't that bad, but the car didn't have the best sound dampening, and that particular engine, being a large 4 cyl, was harder than most to muffle. By the time I reached cruising speed on the freeway, he announced that I needed a new car. That he was a teensy bit behind in paying me apparently didn't disturb his thinking in the slightest. He was hardly unique in that kind of thinking, lot of bosses think that way, including at least 2 others I had.

      Anyway, if only it was so easy to cut back on the driving, in America! Public transportation is lacking, and walking and bicycling is hindered by city design that is all but oblivious to all other forms of transportation. And of course, we have severe suburban sprawl. So damned many bridges have no room at all for pedestrians or bikes. There is also a major attitude problem about it all. Lot of people really like the current situation in the belief that pedestrian traffic is undesirable. Only poor, low status, crime prone people walk, you see. One time I proposed that a city ordinance be amended to allow-- not require, just allow, mind you-- gaps in the fence behind strip malls, for pedestrian access, and a shop keeper who overheard that went nuts, yelling that it would bring more crime, raise his costs, scare away his customers, force stores to make the backs safer and cleaner, etc. He went on and on for a solid 5 minutes, not letting me get another word in, and finally, the city councilman who was listening to the whole thing said "man, you are on a roll!"

      • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Wednesday August 25, @03:46AM

        by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday August 25, @03:46AM (#1170644)

        I definitely enjoyed the $4 gas too: Mostly because it put a stop to the bikers and hot rodders using my road as a drag strip for a while. But more generally, it really showed how much people were driving for pleasure rather than to actually get somewhere.

        --
        The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Tork on Tuesday August 24, @05:32PM

    by Tork (3914) on Tuesday August 24, @05:32PM (#1170419)

    God, why do people need to be TOLD this...

    Because we spend our waking lives working for someone else just to keep out of the elements for another month.

    --
    Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
  • (Score: 5, Funny) by DannyB on Tuesday August 24, @05:50PM (5 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 24, @05:50PM (#1170439) Journal

    When I use an exercise bike, I feel that it somehow compensates and allows me to drive more than necessary. Thus having no net impact on the planet's resources.

    (Now where do I plug in this exercise bike?)

    --
    A large Starlink satellite constellation will be a smashing success!
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, @06:06PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, @06:06PM (#1170449)

      Perfectly infantile logic. I use an electric exercise bike so I can go further than regular pedaling.

    • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Wednesday August 25, @12:29AM (3 children)

      by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 25, @12:29AM (#1170592) Journal

      You joke, but really, has everyone forgotten just how weird the whole concept of exercise is? All that sweating and panting that isn't getting any work accomplished. And we even blow money on "exercise" machines. How about some old timey exercise, like, washing your laundry by *gasp* hand! With a washboard! And hanging the clothes on a line outside to dry!

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by HiThere on Wednesday August 25, @03:06AM (2 children)

        by HiThere (866) on Wednesday August 25, @03:06AM (#1170637) Journal

        Modern clothing isn't sturdy enough to survive that kind of treatment.

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        Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday August 25, @01:31PM (1 child)

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 25, @01:31PM (#1170802) Journal

          It might be more earth friendly for some people to wear much less clothing.

          --
          A large Starlink satellite constellation will be a smashing success!
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 25, @03:11PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 25, @03:11PM (#1170831)

            wink wink

  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday August 24, @08:17PM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday August 24, @08:17PM (#1170494)

    How about work from home? I always bought homes close to work, so my annual commute was 4000 miles or less anyway, but since COVID lockdown I think I've put less than 100 miles on the cars for to-from office driving.

    Our total miles driven now are about 30% what they used to be in 2019, and that's not just fuel saved for miles not driven, that's wear and tear that didn't happen on the vehicles and the roads. Our cars are getting more timely maintenance now, and we're keeping them for more total miles than we likely would have if we were driving 3x as much per year.

    --
    John Galt is a selfish crybaby [huffpost.com].