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Author Topic: Ethanol  (Read 7265 times)

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Re: Ethanol
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2016, 06:38:30 pm »
the growth of the petroleum industry in the 1860s was greatly aided by the heavy federal tax on its primary competitor .The myth that petroleum was at first a dramatic deliverance from the darkness, and then the only important fuel for the horseless carriage, indicates the extent to which oil industry historians have been influenced by the rhetoric of the technological sublime. In fact, early automotive inventors resorted to both petroleum and alcohol spirit lamp fuels as readily available energy sources.

U.S. Congress Lifts Alcohol Tax in 1906

American farmers watched the growing use of alcohol fuel in Europe with great interest. Their markets were glutted with grain surpluses created when vast new tracts of virgin prairie were plowed under to produce bumper crops. To absorb these surpluses, many looked to the market for liquid fuels created by the widespread acceptance of the automobile. It seemed logical to replace their declining market for horses by growing fuel for the horseless carriage.

In 1906, the farm lobby found an ally in President Theodore Roosevelt, a bitter foe of the oil industry. Although embroiled in other disputes at the time, Roosevelt sent a message of support for the repeal of the alcohol tax to the House of Representatives, saying it provided a possible check to the depredations of the oil trust.50 In April, 1906, a bill to repeal the alcohol sales tax sailed through the House on a 224 to 7 vote with widespread support from farm-belt representatives. Additional support came from the Temperance Party, which saw in alcohol fuel a beneficial use for a pernicious commodity.

When the Senate Finance Committee  attempted to table the “Free Alcohol” bill
, the president of the Automobile Club of America said that he was considerably surprised and disappointed at the Senate committee, although he did not think Standard Oil would oppose the bill. “Gasoline is growing scarcer, and therefore dearer, all the time… Automobiles cannot use gasoline for all time, of that I am sure, and alcohol seems to be the best substitute that has yet appeared.”51 U.S. Senator Champ Clark of Missouri, however, placed “the Rockefellers”    squarely in the opposing camp as attempting to retain the tax on a potential competitor.52

The Senate passed the bill May 24, 1906, and the New York Times again noted the low cost of alcohol (14 cents from corn, nine and a half cents from molasses) as compared to the high price of kerosene and gasoline (18 and 22 cents, respectively). “The new fuel and illuminant will utilize completely an important class of agricultural crops and byproducts thus benefiting in a double sense the farms and villages throughout the country,” an editorial said.55 Roosevelt signed the bill June 8, 1906.

Agelbert Observation: In the light of the setback in Rockefeller's bought and paid for Senate, Plan B (i.e. Prohibition funding) was initiated. Rockefeller did profit extensively from gasoline sales when the ethanol fuel market was destroyed by Prohibition.

But, the tax on alcohol after the Civil War is PRECISELY what enabled the big switch to kerosene lighting in the USA and the quick growth of Rockefeller's fortunes.    He was ALREADY used to crowding out alcohol for lighting AND engine fuels. Yes, sports fans, there were engines that ran on alcohol in Europe during the 19th century (long before the Model T). Just go to this link for all the details. From (at least) 1900 until Prohibition, the scientifically proven (Thomas Edison and the U.S. Naval Laboratories) supremacy of ethanol over gasoline as a fuel was being shouted from the roof tops (and the New York Times too  ;D).

Adocates have seen in alcohol fuels the potential for revolutionizing agricultural economics, for dispelling city smog, and for curbing the power of the petroleum industry over the economy. In addition, the idea that agriculture and biological resources could be primary sources of energy, the idea that humankind could live on solar “income” rather than fossil fuel “capital,” has held a fascination for several generations of automotive and agricultural engineers. Proponents could see in ethyl alcohol the potential to help strike balance between city and farm and the prospect of civilizing and humanizing industrial machinery.

For example, this hope is graphically depicted in the symbolism used at the 1902 Paris alcohol fuel exposition. On the cover of the exposition’s proceedings, a muse with an overflowing bouquet of roses looks down over the steering wheel with a confident smile. She is a portrait of wisdom and beauty, firmly in control of a gentle machine which seems appropriately located in some lush flower garden. 8

You see, most Americans labor under the view that the OIL refinery WASTE product, gasoline, was CHEAPER than ethanol.  So, therefore, gasoline was better able to COMPETE with ethanol. That is a LIE! From the start, the LAW is what priced the competition out and made the "hard working Capitalist" Rockefeller his fortune. The LAW was a back door SUBSIDY from the start!  Efficiency, superior thermodynamic output, energy density and the fuel characteristics did not have ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT. Ethanol was, and still is, the better fuel.

Rockefeller temporarily lost his "competitive edge" in 1906. Rockefeller found himself on a level energy competition playing field. Rockefeller, the model for all fossil fuelers from then on, disliked fair play intensely. He was, as are ALL fossil fuelers in the USA, fervent Capitalists.

Ethical behavior is a weakness to be abhorred by true Capitalists. So, Plan B was set in motion to, once again, obtain the "competitive edge" for fossil fuels.

The Great Scheme: Alcohol-based fuels, Ford, Rockefeller, and Prohibition.

One of the many bits of information I gleaned from my discussions with Tapahpunja yesterday has to do with the prohibition of alcohol. This is a multifaceted issue that concerns spirituality, social control, energy production, and US History. From the standpoint of a Hindu, alcohol consumption is forbidden. This makes sense in the context of social interaction. There is no debate that alcohol abuse contributes to many of our social problems today. Having had ample experience with alcoholics, I know firsthand what addiction can do to relationships. Many domestic incidents and other types of criminal activity involve the use of alcohol. Meanwhile, there is much evidence that alcohol negatively affects more organs of the human body than any other legal or illegal drug. Despite all these possible consequences, I have no plans to stop consuming alcohol. I believe there are some positive social effects that occur with its moderate use, and there is some scientific data that demonstrates that it can be consumed healthily.

But there is an entirely different dimension to alcohol that I wasn't even aware of. Alcohol may be an option in dealing with the impending energy and environmental crises of the Twenty-first Century. It is a little known fact that Brazil is the world leader in the production of bioalcohol fuel. Because of recent concerns of rising gasoline prices, President Bush visited Sao Paulo (on March 7, 2007) to sign agreements on importing alcohol fuel and its technology. Vehicles using this fuel were actually widespread in the late 1970's in Brazil, but gasoline reclaimed its market share in the 1980's. With anxieties about the world oil supply once again in the forefront of many minds, this option has become increasingly attractive.

The advantages of alcohol-based fuels are multi-faceted. They burn completely and efficiently and produce 100% less carbon monoxide emissions because the byproducts of their consumption include only carbon dioxide, water and heat. Interestingly, although alcohol-based fuel produces as much CO2 emission as gasoline, its effect is counterbalanced by the fact that CO2 is actually drawn from the environment in the process of its production. Therefore there is no modern net release. While much of the efforts concerning the manufacture of these types of fuel involve corn... there are much more efficient raw crop materials available. Sugar beets (for example) contain less cellulose, and their waste fibers raise the alcohol yield. So why do so many Americans sing the praises of corn-based biofuel?  ??? For that answer you have to research the political and economic ramifications of our corporate farming monoculture. That lies beyond the scope of this post.

But the most fascinating aspect of the connection between alcohol and fuel use concerns a little known (or discussed) aspect of American history. To understand this relationship, one must examine some contextual information of the early Twentieth Century. Most people are not aware that Henry Ford's Model T came in a variation that allowed the driver to switch the carburetor to run the engine on farm-made ethyl alcohol. This allowed the operator to stop at local farms (equipped with stills) to refuel his/her car during long trips through the backcountry. After all- the gas station wasn't exactly as ubiquitous in those days, as it is now. The Standard Oil Company and its industrialist-founder John D. Rockefeller wasn't too happy with this arrangement. After all, Rockefeller's company had a virtual monopoly on gasoline at this time in our nation's development.

It should be evident to any serious student of history that John D. Rockefeller was no political progressive. His fights with muckraker Ida Tarbell are legendary. She was ultimately responsible for the dissolution of the Standard Oil Trust in 1911. Not that this actually hurt Rockefeller- his wealth actually increased after Standard Oil broke up. Rockefeller held significant interests in the resulting companies, which included the precursors of today's Seven Sisters oil companies. The break-up of Standard Oil actually made him the wealthiest man in the world, as the share values of most of these companies doubled. Yet Rockefeller would find benefit once again within the reform movement that he considered his enemy. Since the late 1800's there had been a growing Alcohol Temperance Movement developing among reformers. Rockefeller saw an opportunity in this. It is well-documented that local efforts to curb alcohol consumption were expanded to the national level when high-profile figures like Rockefeller joined in the anti-alcohol efforts. Was he so concerned with the social problems that abuse of alcohol was said to cause?

No... John D. Rockefeller was not concerned with family dynamics in the working classes. But he was influential in changing the goals of the movement from temperance to prohibition. As we know, his contribution to the outlawing of the production and sale of alcohol was successful. Of course, Rockefeller and the oil companies reaped tremendous profits as a result. Remember that the period covered by the 18th Amendment (1919-1933) coincided with the huge rise in the sale and operation of automobiles. America was on the move, and all of these cars were now operated solely on gasoline. By the time that the 21st Amendment was passed, ending the prohibition of alcohol, the standard was already set and worked completely in the favor of the Rockefeller family.

These events have had a tremendous development on the American economy, foreign policy direction, and the environment. In fact the consequences are worldwide. It is easy to lose sight of the big picture, and concentrate on the many subplots involving Detroit's suppression of alternative fuel technologies. The chapters being written in today's tumultuous climate are indeed the continuation of a story started long ago.

We venerate the capitalist captains of industry (like Rockefeller) without any examination of what they have cost the nation and the world. If we don't re-evaluate our contemporary thinking in light of the events of the past, we are headed for times in which alcohol may be our only escape from a harsh reality. Maybe we have been pouring it in the wrong place all along. 


Agelbert NOTE: Ethanol use as a fuel for cars (instead of polluting gasoline) has ALWAYS been a threat to fossil fuel industry profits. 

Consequently, they have nearly a century of disinformation, doubletalk and bold faced lies about ethanol from the crocodile tears about land being "removed" from growing food crops to "corrosive" effects along with gamed mileage numbers and enthalpy happy talk.

Here is an example of the TOTALLY INACCURATE spurious, but quite clever, baloney FUNDED by the fossil fuel industry crooks and liars:

David Frazier Johnson Jr
Prohibition banned the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages specifically, not ethanol. Many types of alcohol were still then and have always been used for industrial applications. Don't fall prey to fringe conspiracy theory, it makes all of us people pushing for renewable energy look stupid. Rockefeller supported prohibition because he believed it caused crime and affected the workplace. Even he admitted it was a failed attempt to curb this by the end.

What a dazzling array of lies mixed with half truths mindfork! And didn't you just LOVE that part about appearing to SUPPORT Renewable Energy? They know their propaganda!

Here's another gem of disinformation:


Ethyl alcohol actually is far less efficient than gasoline and gives your car worse gas mileage meaning you have to burn more of it to get somewhere (This is why you get worse gas mileage filling up in a city that has ethanol mixed with the regular fuel). And the pollution caused by harvesting the corn and making it into ethanol causes large amounts of carbon emissions...so yes, politics are always involved but there are scientific reasons we haven't switched over as well.

And finally, among those with a bit more education and vocabulary, the old "ethanol is hygroscopic so it will corrode your fuel lines and gas tank"  claim. Yes, alcohol mixes readily with water, UNLIKE gasoline. Do you know what that REALLY means? It means the water vapor in your fuel tank WILL MIX with ethanol there, INSTEAD of, as in a tank containing gasoline, condensing at night when your car is parked and, because water is denser than gasoline, going straight to the bottom, where ANY oxygen trapped between the wall and the water will ACCELERATE metal corrosion from oxidation. THAT is why gasoline tanks have corrosion treatment from the factory, even though the fossil fuelers conveniently neglect to tell you about that. So the metal corrosion risk is LOWER with ethanol than with gasoline. The fossil fuelers know that. So, true to their Machiavellian modus operandi , they accuse ethanol of the weakness that, actually,  gasoline has! Clever bastards, aren't they?

The only actual 'downside', if you want to call it that, that ethanol actually has (the water content in the fuel when it reaches the combustion chamber is easily controlled and DOES NOT "reduce mileage") is that anhydrous (the kind used for fuel, not booze) ethanol, as a drying agent (see hygroscopic = attracts and absorbs surrounding water molecules), attacks rubber seals by sucking water out of them, which makes them less flexible and more prone to crack from vehicle vibrations. Gasoline does degrade rubber too, but not as much or as fast.

Since 1980 (yes, that far back! And ONLY because Brazil championed it!) the rubber seals in fuel systems have been modified to handle ethanol. Brazil, of course, has been a leader in this. The USA, of course, has dragged its regulatory feet creaming and crying all the way. But it's a reality now in EVERY car post 1995 or so (i.e 99.999% of the cars and trucks on the road!). So please call BS on anyone that gives you a line about corroded fuel tanks, lines or **** rubber seals from ethanol use.

In fact, the non-hydrocarbon solvents (about 40% of the content of a gallon of gasoline) in gasoline ATTACK plastics, requiring special plastics connected with gasoline powered car fuel systems. Ethanol DOES NOT, and never has, caused **** and embrittled plastics, PERIOD.

The "treatment" that the USA has forced flex-fuel vehicles in the USA to prevent "ethanol mediated corrosion" is a sham. In fact, if cars were prohibited from running on gasoline, the tanks would NOT need the corrosion treatment they all get now. The fuel system could use plastics liberally without durability or reliability concerns. And as to rubber seals, specialized rubber seals are already used to prevent alcohol caused **** seals, so that is a given.

For those who want to know the truth about gasoline versus ethanol, please go HERE. It is a thread I dedicated to all things ethanol. You will find a wealth of OBJECTIVE information HERE. I don't make a nickel from spreading the truth. I just hate how the fossil fuel industry crooks and liars resort to consistently unethical means to make money at the expense of we-the-people and the biosphere. 
« Last Edit: January 17, 2016, 08:57:51 pm by AGelbert »
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23


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