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Posts tagged “Iowa”

By Robert Rapier on Feb 18, 2014 with 52 responses

Solving the Midwest Ethanol Problem

What Ethanol Problem?

If you live in the Midwest, you are in the midst of a thriving ethanol industry. But the Midwest does not control its own destiny when it comes to ethanol. That is still controlled by the federal government.

When I first started writing about energy nearly a decade ago, many of my early articles were addressed at the ethanol policies we were pursuing in the US. Even though I supported renewable energy, I felt like we were going about things in the wrong way. While I acknowledged that you could subsidize lots of ethanol production into existence, there needed to be a clear path for sustainability in the event that strong government intervention waned.

Today, nine years after I began writing about energy, we have an ethanol industry that has undergone rapid growth, but it is an industry that still relies heavily on the hand of government in the form of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). One need look no further than the uproar over the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to lower the RFS for 2014. CONTINUE»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 30, 2010 with 164 responses

E85 Case Study: Iowa

The Saudi Arabia of Ethanol Iowa is to corn ethanol what Saudi Arabia is to oil. At present Iowa has the capacity to produce 3.5 billion gallons of ethanol per year, which is 26% of the nation’s total (Source). This is of course due to the large amount of corn production in Iowa, enabled by ample rainfall and rich topsoil. But Iowa differs from Saudi Arabia with respect to energy production in one very important detail: Saudi Arabia satisfies their own energy needs with the oil they produce, and exports the excess. Iowa on the other hand exports the vast majority of the ethanol they produce while importing gasoline as motor fuel. Gasoline consumption in Iowa is presently around 1.6… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jan 27, 2010 with no responses

Our Tax Dollars at Work

First off, a couple of announcements. After being able to stay at home for the past two months, I have a very heavy travel schedule over the next two weeks. My participation here will probably be limited. I am off to Seattle tomorrow, on to the Netherlands from there, will visit Switzerland and Germany, back to the U.S. mainland, on to Canada, and then back to Hawaii. I have essentially piled up eight visits I need to make into one big, exhausting trip. My ability to post and respond to comments and e-mails will be spotty at best. Second, my first essay went up yesterday at Forbes: The Price of Energy. My intention is to put something up there every… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Nov 1, 2006 with no responses

John McCain’s Ethanol Flip-Flop

I knew that McCain had flip-flopped on this issue. The upcoming issue of Fortune tells the tale: McCain’s farm flip It’s a pretty good lesson on how tough it is to oppose ethanol and get yourself elected president, since Iowa has one of the first presidential caucus. So, despite McCain’s long track record of criticizing ethanol, suddenly it’s the thing to do. Some excerpts from the article that I found interesting: John McCain has a problem with alcohol – ethyl alcohol, to be precise. Ethyl alcohol is the fuel better known as ethanol, and over the years, the Arizona senator has made a habit of ripping ethanol subsidies as corporate pork for agribusinesses like Archer DanielsMidland. McCain has argued that… Continue»