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By Robert Rapier on May 28, 2006 with no responses

Miglietta’s Closing Statement


Joseph sent me a pair of essays: The one below and one on E85. I will post the one on E85 within a few days. I don’t plan to post a rebuttal to the following essay, but I will address one item in the comments below the essay.

Previous Essays

  • Ethanol Debate Challenge
  • Miglietta First Response
  • Rapier First Response
  • Miglietta Second Response
  • Rapier Final Response
  • Miglietta’s Second Response

    My closing Statements On The Ethanol Debate

    I am sure that in the coming years we will address conservation gradually ever more with more efficient, and fuel-diversified vehicles, including hybrids and plug-ins. Also, public transportation may assume a more important role. Oil reserves, even with China and India’s ever-increasing consumption, may last a few more decades taking into consideration the decreased consumption due to conservation. Coal is playing a more important role, directly, and indirectly through its byproducts. So, these two non-renewable sources of energy may sustain the world economy a while longer.

    In the meantime, we are not sitting idle; we’re focused in finding cheaper and renewable sources of energy. I’m confident that long before we have exhausted these reserves, we have found effective solutions to our present energy problem without having to resort to mass transportation as our only solution left. There is no reason, therefore, to panic now. We will cross that bridge when we get there.

    Ethanol, as a liquid fuel, may be a transitional solution, while better ways are found. It is a practical solution for the short-to-intermediate period, but only if it is made viable. It is ludicrous to consider corn as a viable material to make ethanol. It’s only a political platform. But it may serve as a starting point to use ethanol in our country.

    Ethanol cannot be incorporated in gasoline blends in considerable amounts nationwide overnight. Even if we were to import ethanol, from Brazil for instance, they will require a long-term contract to increase their production to accommodate our demand. Brazil, however, can increase present sugar cane production even three folds. Currently, Brazil, as the U.S., is increasing ethanol production facilities; only Brazil has two big advantages over us: (1) they make their ethanol from sugar cane with a net energy gain of about 80%, and (2) they have 32 million cars on the road as compared to our 170 millions. Hence, they will have a surplus. So, ethanol imports could represent a viable, interim solution within the next three years. We cannot set a timetable on our research for more efficient production methods and for cheaper and more plentiful feedstock, but we are actively working on both. When this happens, corn won’t be used for making ethanol, except for moonshine.