Interesting Statistic Supporting Iraq Pullout

"With just one-sixth of the US money targeted for the Iraq war, you could convert all cars in America to run on ethanol. "

source: http://www.boston.com/news/nation/gallery/050207_TheCostofWar?pg=5

Let’s go back 5 years.

Assuming this statistic is true instead of invading Iraq the Bushman could have destroyed Iraq’s and Iran’s oil exports for 1/6 the financial cost and with no casualties of war.

Hindsight is 20/20.

And it would also cut dearly into the pockets of his buddies, the American oil barons.

Are you sure?

With change comes opportunity. An oil baron is a smart enough business person to realize this.

The Bushman controls ethanol as a new energy under his administration.

His buddies transition from oil barons to ethanol barons.

They already have some of the distribution and infrastructure. Sure they will have to make some changes to their business model but they have the upper hand: they already have the equity, the energy experience and the White House connection.

Besides, if Bush has to choose between saving his own ass over his buddies, my guess is (like most politicians) he would save his own ass first.

First, the US hasn’t gained anything from the war, so they would probably have been better off if they had done anything else with the money.

Second, it takes a lot of oil and land to grow all that ethanol.

Third, Iran and Iraq could still export oil to the rest of the world. Even if the US didn’t need ME oil, the rest of the world does.

Nope, just felt like making a souless jab for no reason.

I was going to give a different statistic instead, but it’s from one of those Modern Marval shows and I can’t recall the statistics correctly or find them for that matter.

What’s the true story on ethanol? Ask the Straight Dope!

Oil in the Middle East cost about $1.50 a barrel to pump. It’s selling now for, what, $60/barrel? You think oil companies are going to turn down that kind of profit to make ethanol? Especially since oil companies not only pump the stuff, but also refine it, thus controlling the amount of refined oil products (gasoline, diesel, etc), which means they essentially control the price both of crude and fuel, which they are busy like mad ferrets running up the price of said items.

And considering that only something like 15% of Iraq has been surveyed for oilfields, there’s most lilkely a metric fuckton more oil waiting to be discovered, which probably means that Iraq has the majority of oil resources in the world waiting under its western desert sands for said oil companies to exploit and profit even more, not to mention the incredible power that comes from controlling an (if not the most) essential commodity.

For oil companies and the people who control and profit from them, and derive political power from them, Iraq is the most important country in the world. The oil companies aren’t even paying any of the costs of the Iraq war, they are making even more profit because of it.

It’s a good thing the pres restored dignity to the office.

Personally I wish he would have spent his terms screwing interns and making shady commodities deals than on this war.

I think the specific point on ethanol is bunk, but yeah, for all the money we spend fucking around in the region with the lives of foreigners we could have solved the problems we have that was errorneously sourced to the region twice over.

Hell, oilmen making money? The real winners are defense contractors. They sell to us, they sell to middle eastern despots. Everyone wins. Okay, it’s mostly just the defense contractors winning.

Damn ethanol. It costs more in oil to make the ethanol than the gain for John Q. Public to use ethanol instead of oil. You aren’t going to hear that while the corn industry is getting it’s cheese though.

Damn farm subsidies and damn ethanol.

Damn farm subsidies and damn ethanol.

Ethanol is a talking point solution and sop to the midwest producers. We so badly need a crisis to take on the farm subsidies.

Oooo, another ethanol bashing thread. I love these.

Anyone care to link to a reputable study to, ya know, put some facts behind all this ethanol bashing?

How about UC Berkeley geoengineering professor Tad W. Patzek?

Patzek’s ethanol critique began during a freshman seminar he taught in which he and his students calculated the energy balance of the biofuel. Taking into account the energy required to grow the corn and convert it into ethanol, they determined that burning the biofuel as a gasoline additive actually results in a net energy loss of 65 percent. Later, Patzek says he realized the loss is much more than that even.

“Limiting yourself to the energy balance, and within that balance, just the fossil fuel used, is just scraping the surface of the problem,” he says. “Corn is not ‘free energy.’”

Recently, Patzek published a fifty-page study on the subject in the journal Critical Reviews in Plant Science. This time, he factored in the myriad energy inputs required by industrial agriculture, from the amount of fuel used to produce fertilizers and corn seeds to the transportation and wastewater disposal costs. All told, he believes that the cumulative energy consumed in corn farming and ethanol production is six times greater than what the end product provides your car engine in terms of power.

But then there’s this:

http://www.greenbiz.com/news/news_third.cfm?NewsID=27864

A recent study by Argonne National Laboratory found that ethanol generates 35% more energy than it takes to produce, reinforcing the fact that production of the corn-based fuel yields a net energy gain.

Earlier research conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Michigan State University, the Colorado School of Mines, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and other public and private entities determined that ethanol has a positive net energy balance. A USDA study released in 2004 found that ethanol may actually net as much as 67% more energy than it takes to produce. These findings were disputed in January 2005, however, when UC Berkeley professor Tad Patzek found ethanol to be an energy loser.

Dueling studies.

Does anyone know if the subsidies are specific to corn? Are we pushing corn ethanol just because the US grows a ton of corn when there are other crops which are much more efficient? Are people experimenting with sugarcane or switch grass or whatever getting the same amount, but making more money off it since they can get more energy per acre? I would hope the corn is fazed out as more efficient sources take over.

Quoted, because this is one of those rare instances in which you and I are in total agreement.

Most likely the debating studies are accounting for different factors. One may include man-labor differences while the other doesn’t. One may assume an oil based harvester or certain types of machines to make the ethanol while the other isn’t.

At any rate, looks like more research needs to be done before ethanol can be considered a miracle cure for our oil needs.

Sheesh, if the optmistic outlook is that it makes 37% more than it takes to produce, it doesn’t sound like a winner. Especially considering the impact on land-use and the price of food.

Back then we didn’t have these fancy birth control methods. Like pulling out.