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Stop burning ethanol

Mixing ethanol with gasoline is a bad idea – for many reasons.  But there is one reason in particular that should worry you.

A recent AT blog post by S. Fred Singer titled “Trump and the end of the ‘Oil Crisis’” reasoned that it might be time to remove the ethanol mandate:

My hope is that Congress, at some point, will remove the requirements for gasoline additives, especially for the corn-based bio-fuel ethanol.

This is long overdue, and Singer lists some good reasons to remove that mandatory blending.  In researching an article years ago, this reporter stumbled over a shattering revelation that makes the use of ethanol seem completely unacceptable. Unstoppable Global War... Dennis T. Avery Best Price: $1.25 Buy New $1.99 (as of 04:35 EST - Details)   The question was posed: “Just how much food value are we burning up for the sake of  this federally imposed silliness?”

The answer was found in a paper by D.K. Albino, published by the New England Complex Systems Institute: “The total amount of ethanol produced in the US in 2011 was 13.95 billion gallons, enough to feed 570 million people that year.” Amazon.com Gift Card i... Best Price: null Buy New $25.00 (as of 04:35 EST - Details)

Now, that number is so large that it does not seem real.  So your humble narrator made his own research to find “the real number.”  (Don’t worry – multiplication and division is as tough as the math gets, and we will not “show our work.”)

Begin with the final product: ethanol.  While it is not your typical staple food, its caloric content is well known, being 20,607 calories per gallon.  A warning is appropriate here that even pure ethanol produced for fuel is “denatured” to avoid taxation as liquor.  That is just another way of saying “poisoned.”  So nobody is actually going to live on ethanol alone.

We know that about 1,500 calories are a daily minimum for the average man (1,200 for women).  We will average those to at 1,350 calories/day.  So 13.95 billion gallons are enough calories to feed 583 million people for that year.  Thus, we have confirmed the number from Albino, et al. to within 2.2 percent!

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