Sunday, April 06, 2008

Ethanol - worse than I ever imagined

My regular reader knows that I am on a quest to understand the production and economics of ethanol (examples of my analyses are here, here, and here). While reading The Biofuel Scam at the Power and Control blog today, this statement jumped out at me.
The grain it takes to fill an SUV tank with ethanol could feed a person for a year. Harvests are being plucked to fuel our cars instead of ourselves. What a brilliant idea.
That statement wasn't from the blogger. It was from a TIME article the blogger was critiquing. Could that really be true? Lets find out.

Fuel tank capacity of big SUV: 31 to 39 gallons for a 2008 Suburban

Ethanol yield from corn: 2.8 gallons per bushel - found it here, originally sourced from

Ethanol needed to fill the tank: Let's say 28 gallons blended with 5 gallons of gasoline to make 33 gallons of E85 for the Flex-Fueled SUV.

Hence, 10 bushels of corn are needed to fill the tank of the Suburban with E85.

A bushel of shelled corn weighs 56 pounds (ear corn is 70 pounds per bushel. Not knowing which form is used for ethanol, I'll use the most favorable value).

Hence, 560 pounds of corn are needed to fill the Suburban one time.

That is simply obscene.

I have more to say on this - IT GETS WORSE - my updates are here and here.

H/T - Just One Minute

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Comment on this Op-Ed from the Wisconsin State Journal: