As we now trespass the $4 mark on a gallon of gasoline on the way to ever-new record highs, it is a good time to analyze and comment on this administration’s energy policy, if we can find it.
Our Fearless Leader and his faithful parrot, Steven Chu, the Secretary of Energy, have characterized their policy as “All of the Above” — sufficiently vague as to almost defy description and to get them out of any tight corners when asked a direct question. In the absence of definition we are left to identify and analyze fragments out of the blue sky and fantasy world of energy our president has shared with us.
Both Obama and Chu have declared war on fossil fuels in favor of ethanol and other bio-fuels. This is a laudable goal, but one must wonder if anyone has done the math to determine the reality of the concept.
The Energy Information Administration estimates that in the U.S. in 2010 we consumed 138.5 billion gallons of gasoline, which contained 12.8 billion gallons of ethanol, or slightly less than 1 percent of the total. It requires approximately 40.2 million acres to produce the corn for the amount of ethanol we consumed in 2010; or about the same acreage as the entire state of Georgia!
To meet our president’s goal of zero reliance on fossil fuels would take an area of 100 Georgias. The math just doesn’t work.
Other facets of ethanol as a replacement for fossil fuels are just as ludicrous when you do the math.
At Cornell University David Pimentel, a noted author and professor of agriculture, has done the math. His calculations indicate that it requires 131,000 BTUs to produce and process one gallon of ethanol. Each gallon thus processed will deliver only 77,000 BTUs, a net deficit of 54,000 BTUs for every gallon.
It gets worse. It takes additional energy to get the ethanol to a place where you can use it. That means a tanker truck, a rail car or barge. More BTUs; more energy deficit.
Does anyone not understand why the federal government has had to subsidize the ethanol industry for more than three decades and it still doesn’t pencil out?
There cannot be any doubt that this nation must reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and particularly on foreign oil; however, to accomplish it we must pursue more realistic strategies than this administration seems willing to employ.