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posted by janrinok on Tuesday August 24 2021, @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: 3, Interesting) by ElizabethGreene on Wednesday August 25 2021, @02:09PM (1 child)

    by ElizabethGreene (6748) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 25 2021, @02:09PM (#1170820) Journal

    (Heavy truck mechanic a touch more than two decades ago.)

    There is another factor. Trucking is digesting a major disruptor, mandatory electronic logbooks. For many drivers this is a good thing; It reduces the administrivia of the job and forces dispatchers to accountability for their requests. Some drivers see it as a very bad thing. It wasn't uncommon to fudge a logbook to increase earning potential. That money is gone now.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 25 2021, @08:01PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 25 2021, @08:01PM (#1170953)

    Paying by the mile, on its face, sounds like a good idea until you take into account traffic jams and loading/unloading times. It is a shame that the industry won't make some reasonable changes, like pay by the hour or lump sum for the loading/unloading, or just pay by the hour regardless. Or, god forbid, put them on salary.

    Maybe something a bit bigger needs to change, like increase long haul transport by freight rail, then have most of your truckers being relatively local so that they can drive the "last mile" and be in their own beds each night. But that probably would never happen unless the trucking companies had major stakes in the freight rail business. And I don't see the current situation changing much if their solution is to bring in teenage drivers (read: CHEAP) and invest in self-driving trucking.