By on December 11, 2011

So what is all this talk about flex fuel being shoved down our the throats of our cars, and EVs driving up Xanax sales due to rampant range anxiety? Bloomberg brings us astounding news:

“Public charging stations for electric autos outnumber outlets for alternative motor fuels by almost two to one, even though there are hundreds of times more flex- fuel vehicles than plug-in cars on U.S. roads. “

Bloomies says that the approximately 16,500 highway-worthy electric vehicles in the U.S. have a choice of 4,448 public charging stations, not counting the ones at home or at work. Bloomberg bases this on U.S. Energy Department data.

STATE B20 CNG E85 ELEC* HY LNG LPG Totals
Alaska 0 1 0 0 0 0 8 9
Alabama 6 11 20 4 0 1 106 148
Arkansas 5 6 20 11 0 0 49 91
Arizona 14 30 32 41 1 1 67 186
California 46 224 58 1262 23 34 227 1874
Colorado 14 29 83 30 1 0 52 209
Connecticut 3 14 0 39 2 1 16 75
Dist. of Columbia 2 2 3 35 0 0 0 42
Delaware 3 1 1 0 0 0 3 8
Florida 15 14 61 256 0 0 71 417
Georgia 25 17 51 33 0 0 57 183
Hawaii 8 0 1 50 1 0 3 63
Iowa 3 0 163 21 0 0 21 208
Idaho 9 8 8 19 0 0 29 73
Illinois 8 26 219 152 1 0 71 477
Indiana 4 9 153 9 0 0 51 226
Kansas 6 4 40 13 0 0 38 101
Kentucky 4 1 28 0 0 0 42 75
Louisiana 2 9 2 12 0 0 22 47
Massachusetts 7 20 4 45 1 0 21 98
Maryland 7 6 20 148 0 0 17 198
Maine 3 1 0 0 0 0 7 11
Michigan 16 16 121 336 4 0 65 558
Minnesota 3 2 363 63 0 0 38 469
Missouri 4 9 105 34 1 0 68 221
Mississippi 3 1 2 6 0 0 39 51
Montana 6 2 2 0 0 0 53 63
North Carolina 142 21 28 122 0 0 63 376
North Dakota 2 2 68 0 1 0 18 91
Nebraska 2 3 69 0 0 0 19 93
New Hampshire 5 4 0 15 0 0 12 36
New Jersey 3 22 4 70 0 0 10 109
New Mexico 6 10 11 6 0 0 53 86
Nevada 5 11 23 19 2 0 41 101
New York 24 103 82 214 9 0 34 466
Ohio 21 15 75 35 1 0 65 212
Oklahoma 6 63 15 0 0 0 56 140
Oregon 26 12 9 312 0 0 32 391
Pennsylvania 8 29 34 26 2 0 69 168
Rhode Island 2 5 0 2 0 0 6 15
South Carolina 30 5 100 82 2 0 27 246
South Dakota 1 0 102 0 0 0 17 120
Tennessee 44 6 45 122 0 0 74 291
Texas 14 35 57 297 1 5 490 899
Utah 5 72 4 11 0 1 29 122
Virginia 12 11 14 77 1 0 56 171
Vermont 1 3 0 8 1 0 5 18
Washington 32 15 19 365 0 0 67 498
Wisconsin 1 17 141 40 0 0 48 247
West Virginia 0 1 3 6 1 0 9 20
Wyoming 13 8 5 0 0 0 22 48
Totals By Fuel: 631 936 2468 4448 56 43 2563 11145

Doing the math, Bloomberg comes to the conclusion that this is one station per 3.7 electric cars. The 7.6 million alcoholic cars, the ones that can run on E85, get a raw deal. They have only 2,468 places to fill up if they want to fulfill their ethanol cravings. If they don’t find a station that serves booze, they have to go on the wagon and drink traditional gasoline.

Nevertheless, says Bloomberg, the Obama administration is pushing for even more charging stations, and puts $230 million of support from the Energy Department and private investment. behind it:

 “Ecototality received funds under the federal program to install 14,000 chargers in 18 metropolitan areas in six states and the District of Columbia.”

A flex fuel car will be on the pump for 5 minutes max, but even a quick charge to “top off” an electric car can take two to three hours, leading most drivers to charge at home or work, claims Brett Smith, co-director of manufacturing, engineering and technology at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR). He thinks those public charging stations might get lonely.

Brian Wynne, president of the Electric Drive Transportation Association, on the other hand calls the number of charging stations available today “a good start.”

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39 Comments on “Study Says: EV Drivers Coddled, Flex Fuel Cars Discriminated Against...”


  • avatar
    zbnutcase

    What a surprise! NOT! Given Nobama and his Merry Band of Crooks’ general hatred of internal combustion anything…

  • avatar
    DanM

    I’m sure this has nothing to do with the fact that an electric charging station costs less than $10k to install and roughly $0 to maintain while not taking up a pump-space (since they’re installed in parking spaces). Compare this to many $100k’s for an alternative-fuel pump which then needs to be maintained and consumes valuable space which would otherwise make money by dispensing gas.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Having charging spaces at shopping centers and movie theaters would also make sense, as well as parking garages. They’d make even more sense if EVs came with 6.6KW or better chargers for L2 charging (AFAIK none currently have them, though the Leaf is supposed to get one as an option).

      However, charging $2/hr to use a public charger is unbelievably ridiculous overpricing unless you have a 13+KW charger, which would require 50A or more, as well as an on-vehicle charger that could handle that power level. 3.3KW (what Leaf and Volt currently peak at) at residential retail price is about 30-35 cents, so the charger should not cost more than $1/hr unless it includes free parking in a paid parking lot.

      Me, I consider $200/yr to be pushing the high end of what I’d be willing to pay to have unlimited use of public chargers, and I use one every weekday.

      • 0 avatar
        protomech

        Coda has a 6.6 kW charger. In production now.
        2013 Ford Focus EV has a 6.6 kW charger.
        2013 Tesla Model S probably has a 240V/70A 16kW charger.

        A 6.6 kW charger should charge a car’s batteries 20-25 miles per hour.

        A 6.6 kW charger pulls from the wall at around 7.8 kW. $0.26/kWh is expensive per the national rate, though it’s less than some marginal rates in California.

        Fuel cost then is $0.08-$0.10 per mile. Comparable to a 30 mpg car @ $3/gal gas. Too expensive to use regularly, but it is probably okay for occasional use while out and about.

        Including charging with parking is a better idea.

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    I’m a big fan of EVs and their potential future, but I’ve always thought public charging stations are a pretty much a non-factor in their eventual acceptance or viability. Here’s the thing about EVs: you charge them in your garage (or in the case of fleet owners, at your place of business). Ideally, when you leave your garage, it’s with a topped-off battery and (ideally) hundred of miles of range.

    Imagine a world where there were no gas stations, but everyone had a gas pump in their garage, and topped off their tank before leaving. For a lot of people, life wouldn’t change much.

    Of course, there’s always the caveat of cross-country driving, which is a legitimate point. You can’t easily drive an EV across the country, even with plentiful public charging stations, and EVs might never replace internal combustion for that. But for urban dwellers, or multi-car families looking for a second or third car, an EV with a 200+ mile range and a home charger will get them by just fine.

    I know some here are ideologically opposed to government subsidy of anything, but as long as the government wants to hasten the adoption of EVs through subsidies, it should help pay for home chargers, not public stations.

  • avatar
    Number6

    Hard to sympathize.I am strong armed by corn subsidies to buy E10 each and every time I buy gas. Anybody seriously think the US would be using ethanol if the first primary wasn’t in Iowa?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Everything that can run on E85 can run on something else. There isn’t much reason for a privately-run gas station to go to the trouble of selling it, when every single owner of an E85 vehicle can run that vehicle on another grade of fuel that the service station already offers for sale.

    In contrast, a lot of the charging stations are subsidized, and many of them aren’t installed for the purposes of making a profit from refueling. Apples and oranges, really.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      +1 – also if people were really clamoring for E85 then the market would have provided. But since I suspect most of those 6 million people are happy to use “normal” gasoline then there isn`t a push. Ethanol subsidies are even more harmful than EV subsidies since ethanol doesn`t save any net energy and helps drive up corn (and food) prices – hence why it is very popular in agricultural states.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Ethanol subsidies are even more harmful than EV subsidies since ethanol doesn`t save any net energy

        That isn’t true. Ethanol is energy-positive. One of the byproducts of ethanol production is distiller grains, which can be used for animal feed. Those who claim that it is negative conveniently ignore that.

      • 0 avatar

        Ethanol is energy-positive.

        Just barely, at least if you’re starting with corn. Energy out to energy in ratio for corn ethanol is 1.3:1. For sugar cane it’s 8:1 so that makes a lot more sense, which is why Brazil uses so much ethanol. What’s interesting is that little attention has been paid to using sugar beets as an ethanol feedstock and sugar beets are a superior feedstock to corn at 2:1.

        I never really understood why Michigan Gov. Granholm was so hot on corn ethanol when Michigan is the leading producer of sugar beets in the country. I also never understood why Granholm never proposed putting in a windfarm off the Lake Michigan coast, one of the country’s most reliable wind power sources and one of the few places it might make sense.

      • 0 avatar
        HerrKaLeun

        there also is the question of CO2 neutrality. Most studies assume natural gas used for processing ethanol (heat in process, electricity) and conclude it is a CO2 reduction compared to gasoline. In reality the cheaper coal is used and more CO2 is produced.

        energy and CO2 never were reasons for ethanol, it is all about primary elections in farm states. the same way we subsidize farming in the country with most obese people under the name to prevent famine.

        Don’t apply logic, it is all about who contributes to campaigns….

      • 0 avatar
        fred schumacher

        As a retired farmer, I find that very few people have any idea of what farming is really like and how the decision making process goes.

        Ethanol got its start as a way to deal with chronic shortages of railroad hopper cars and resultant piles of grain lying exposed on the ground. It is value added processing, converting unwanted or unmarketable (as in damaged grain) into a valuable commodity. An added benefit is that this value added processing occurs in rural areas rather than urban, thus providing greatly needed rural jobs.

        A farmer does not make cropping decisions based on lobbying activity in Congress or the next national election. Crop decisions are based on soil, climate, equipment, market activity and cultural knowledge. Most farmers are Republicans and Obama doesn’t have much chance of getting their vote no matter what happens to ethanol, something I’m sure he is quite cognizant of.

        That Americans are obese is not something under farmer control. It is a function of our evolutionary history and the activity of the modern processed food industry. Farmers just provide the raw materials. Is an iron miner in northern Minnesota responsible for Americans wanting to drive big cars?

        Petroleum is a finite, fossil fuel. At some point it will end. We are in the period where we are experimenting with other options and the optimal solutions have not yet been determined. Converting corn into ethanol is an initial step in this process. It is not a final step. Think of a baby learning to walk.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Just barely, at least if you’re starting with corn.

        Hell just froze over.

        I’m on the same side of a debate as you, rather than Pch101.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Hell just froze over.

        You can put away your winter jacket. I’m not particularly a supporter of corn-based ethanol, I’m just pointing out that it isn’t energy-negative, as many opponents like to claim.

        The ethanol discussions on car forums tend to be heavy on hyperbole and riddled with factual errors. Whether or not anyone likes it, ethanol is energy positive. However, I would agree that relying on corn to produce the bulk of it doesn’t seem to be a great idea.

        For sugar cane it’s 8:1 so that makes a lot more sense, which is why Brazil uses so much ethanol.

        The downside to that is that the Brazilians are vulnerable to the usual crop cycles, plus world demand for sugar. As consumers become willing to pay more for sugar, it become more tempting for domestic growers to export it, which leads to higher ethanol prices and greater dependency on oil imports. There are no easy answers here.

      • 0 avatar
        GS650G

        “That isn’t true. Ethanol is energy-positive.”

        So it doesn’t take any energy to produce ethanol? Does it wash up on the shores or rain from the sky?

        It takes 18 gallons of water to produce a gallon of ethanol which must be transported to a refinery. Of course the production and harvesting of whatever you make ethanol from requires vehicles that don’t run on batteries. The amount of resources required to water down fuel and worsen gas mileage is staggering.

        You’re very well spoken and usually quite attuned so you don’t really mean ethanol is a gain do you?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        So it doesn’t take any energy to produce ethanol?

        Of course it does. It also takes energy to convert a barrel of oil into useful products, or to generate electricity at a power plant, or to move yourself on foot from the bedroom to the living room.

        But ethanol generates more calories than it takes to make it. It is energy positive.

        Much of what you read about it on car forums is hysterical drivel. It’s a fair argument that corn isn’t an optimal crop for producing it, but there’s no need to lie about the stuff, either.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @Ronnie: “I also never understood why Granholm never proposed putting in a windfarm off the Lake Michigan coast,…”

      Granholm did push windfarms, local resistance is/was the deciding factor in squashing their development. Even here in Grand Rapids, where several windmill manufacturing start up companies call home, many of the local municipalities have essentially outlawed any size of windmill (Especially amusing/confounding when you consider the amount of Dutch descendants/influence around here). Only a few places have a working windmill, and they were put up before the bans.

      We have a company in my city that manufactures and markets home-sized windmills. It wouldn’t be enough to power my house all of the time, but occasionally could produce enough to feed back into the grid. However, my city, Kentwood, has made the installation of one so hard to comply to city rules, that no one will ever put one up. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. On one hand they swear they want to have a better business environment, on the other they kill off a major market for some of the businesses in town…

      As it turns out, I believe there are more windfarms on the Eastern side of Michigan (Thumb area) than there are in Western Michigan. There IS one company that is starting a windfarm up in Mason County. Apparently they’ve managed to payoff, I mean negotiate, with the locals to get it started.

      As for the corn vs. sugar beet debate: In lower SW Michigan, they grow a lot of corn. It may have been that the legal procedures were in place to beef up the corn growers, while who knows what legal acrobatics may have been necessary to get the same kinds of incentives for sugar beet growers…

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    this article leaves out the fact that GM et all pushed Flexfuel cars to costumers because of the tax-breaks, not because the costumer consciously wanted a flex-fuel car. The few that actually wanted flex-fuel, learned quickly, that using E85 is more expensive then E10 or pure gasoline on a $/mile base.

    EV owners on the other hand actually use the EV part of their car.

    Also with the longer range of flex-fuel cars (and the option to use normal gasoline) there isn’t an emergency need to have an E85 pump. for an EV not fining a charger can mean being stuck.

    Regarding subsidy of EV… if noting else you can count the EV technology an emerging technology that gets subsidized now and will be without subsidy once it is more mainstream. E85 is DOA just based on the energy equation since we use more fossil fuel making it than we safe. I would bet all the corn subsidies, Flex-fuel etc. tax breaks are more than all the EV subsidies. in addition EV didn’t get much tax money until a few years ago. E85 boondoggle has been going on since forever (I think farm subsidies started in 1936 or so…E85 is nothing than a continuation of those)

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      GM et all pushed Flexfuel cars to costumers because of the tax-break

      The primary motivation was CAFE compliance. E85 vehicles get a higher MPG rating for the purposes of calculating the fleet average that comprises the CAFE figure.

      The E85 rule was really a loophole to allow Detroit to keep selling gas guzzlers while complying with CAFE. Nobody actually cared whether the vehicles were ever operated on E85.

      • 0 avatar
        HerrKaLeun

        correct, it prevented them from having to pay the tax/penalty of not meeting CAFE. Like most CAFE loopholes, in reality it didn’t reduce actual consumption a bit.

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        The E85 rule was really a loophole to allow Detroit to keep selling gas guzzlers while complying with CAFE. Nobody actually cared whether the vehicles were ever operated on E85.

        I still think they should do E85 and/or methanol-compatible Corvettes and Camaros, as they get larger injectors and fuel pumps stock, and should be ‘easier’ to tune with aftermarket forced-induction..

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Yeah the fact that E85 let automakers claim the truck was better for the environment when it acutally got worse MPG, really ticks me off. I still bristle a little when I see one of those E85 badges on any vehicle regardless of who made it.

  • avatar

    According to Bob Zubrin, who’s written extensively on the topic of opening up our liquid transportation fuel markets by making all “gasoline” cars flex fuel capable, right now every car made by GM and Ford are essentially flex fuel capable. GM and Ford’s “flex fuel” rated cars use the identical ECUs and hardware as the ones without the badge on the trunk, the only difference is the polymer compound in the gaskets and seals. Use seals that are resistant to alcohols and, voila, your 2011 GM and Ford car is flex fuel capable.

    People who are smarter than me say that methanol is the most practical liquid fuel replacement for gasoline. Making 100% of new cars flex fuel would spur the market growth of alternative liquid fuels.

    That’s one government mandate I can get behind.

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      I agree that we should enforce the $30 added cost for the better seals. Also should help with E10 problems.

      then the market could be ready for second generation ethanol (from algaes, switch grass etc.) that actually comes out energy and CO2 positive. but would that still help farmers in primary election states????? :)

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        Thorium LFTRs + salt water + atmospheric CO2 = a mix of electric power and methanol/dimethyl ester for fuels, and waste heat can be used for desalinization, from which you get fresh water as well as salable minerals.. Sounds like just the thing for coastal Texas, which could use more power, fuels AND fresh water.. Plus, when a hurricane strikes, LFTRs fail safe in the absence of power or cooling..

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @Ronnie: Methanol? Really? That’s incredibly corrosive stuff.

      I’ve always understood that butanol would be a drop-in replacement for gasoline. However, the yield on bio-butanol is extremely low compared to ethanol. FWIW, we have more of a “bio-ethanol infrastructure” already in place. I can see why W. chose it as a part of his energy program. (That was not a criticism of W., just an acknowledgment of the choices offered to him. I’m not trying to be political here.)

      If you search on Google, you can find the guy who ran his Buick on bio-butanol (probably still is) for some ungodly amount of miles, with no issues.

      Before the BK, GM was working with a company called Coskata on anaerobic microbes that would eat cellulose and poop out ethanol. I wonder what would it take to get some microbes to eat cellulose and poop out butanol instead?

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Ronnie, ethanol has the advantage of being very safe for humans while methanol is more more toxic than gasoline. Breathing in some ethyl alcohol fumes or spilling ethanol on your hand while putting fuel into a gas can is no big deal, but the equivalent methanol pump would probably require some safety interlocks and vapor collection hardware. If I remember correctly, methanol also attacks the protective oxide layer of aluminum and corrodes it. I think methanol has great potential as a bridge fuel useful for both the internal combustion engine and fuel cells, but it’s not a drop in replacement.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    One of my biggest issues with bio fuel is that in a world were food shortages affect a great deal of the world’s population, we are using valuable farming land to continue adding to our carbon dioxide footprint. It is offensive.
    The electric motor has no internal friction to speak of meaning very high efficiency. They have a very simple construction meaning low maintenance and good reliability. They produce no evil CO2, in fact there are small amounts of O3 (ozone) emitted from electric motors.
    On this alone I would support EV investment over Bio Fuel.

    • 0 avatar

      Remember, before we started using fossil fuels for energy, more than half of agriculture was devoted to feeding work animals. That, and the streets were filled with manure and urine from horses and other draught animals.

    • 0 avatar
      fred schumacher

      Plants take carbon dioxide out of the air and use it to synthesize carbohydrates. They are carbon neutral. Farming inputs do use fossil fuels: diesel from petroleum, anhydrous ammonia from natural gas.

      Food shortages, except in drought and flood prone areas, are primarily a function of distribution not production. Increased world wide demand for higher quality food is the primary driver behind production of corn and soybeans, which are primarily used as feed grains for meat production.

      Electric motors have to get their electricity from somewhere. In the U.S., half of electricity is produced by burning coal, which is about 40% efficient and puts out more CO2 per unit energy than oil. (Coal is mostly carbon, whereas oil also contains hydrogen; ethanol has carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.)

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    I too wonder why the government latched on EV as the propulsion method of the future, ignoring other alternatives. What’s the goal? Reduce pollution? Freeing us from foreign oil? Our method of generating those electricity is still in large part using foreign oil and other polluting stuff like coal. If we’ve converted our electric power plants into fusion power and thus have near unlimited, clean electric power, I can understand why EV seem the way to go. But we haven’t. Plus the technology (battery) seem lagging behind. Government seem to think with enough incentive and funds, a solution will materialize itself. Science didn’t work that way. A lot of effort and funds have been funneled into battery research for quite some time now, still no breakthrough.

    GM, Toyota, BMW and others are still working toward Hydrogen fuel cells. When one is perfected, EV might become obsolete overnight. Of course it’s not here yet, and might not happen, but I think EV is in the same boat, and the government seem to put all its egg in EV for some reason. Prematurely, I think.

    Sorry for the long rant.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      GM, Toyota, BMW and others are still working toward Hydrogen fuel cells. When one is perfected, EV might become obsolete overnight.

      Hydrogen fuel cell cars are electric cars. And, no, fuel cells aren’t even close to being ready for mass production.

      All of these alternatives — EVs, fuel cells, biofuels, etc. — suffer from some some serious flaws. At least we know that the EV’s are functional, they just aren’t particularly practical for most people. Fuel cells aren’t even quite at that stage yet. There is no way to produce a reliable, durable fuel cell car in reasonable quantities and at an affordable price.

      • 0 avatar
        MrWhopee

        Yes, I know. They just bypassed the battery as a way of storing energy. EVs are actually awesome, it’s just the battery that’s the weak link.

        I’m thinking they probably should work on a battery’s charging time instead of batteries with longer range (bigger battery capacity presumably would take even longer to recharge). Today’s EV range is actually quite acceptable if the battery can be recharged in reasonable time, similar to filling up with gas, say 10-15 minutes. When charging station as prevalent as gas stations, of course.

    • 0 avatar
      Les

      My thinking is it’s more that many if not most of the current politicians and their advisers read in some science magazine or sci-fi novel in the 60′s that electric cars were super-neato-keen and represented the Way of the FUTURE-Future-future… So they’re making policy based on that, don’t confuse ‘em with facts.

  • avatar
    fred schumacher

    Re: “So it doesn’t take any energy to produce ethanol? Does it wash up on the shores or rain from the sky? It takes 18 gallons of water to produce a gallon of ethanol …”

    Actually, it does “rain down from the sky” as sunlight and rain, which the corn plant uses through its efficient C4 photosynthesis process to manufacture carbohydrates, lipids and proteins from atmospheric carbon. It takes about 9 gallons of diesel to till, plant, and harvest an acre, which on average produces 170 bushels of corn, which can be converted into about 500 gallons of ethanol.

    Modern ethanol plants only use about 3 gallons of water to make a gallon of ethanol. (Corn, at 15% moisture content contains almost a gallon of water within the dry matter.) Much of the water is recycled. The Casselton, North Dakota ethanol plant uses Fargo’s treated sewer water for its production, a process that benefits both parties: Fargo gets paid for effluent and Casselton doesn’t have to increase the capacity of its city water service. The high protein distillers grains remaining after ethanol processing are fed to livestock and provide 40% of the nutritive value of the original unprocessed corn.

    Sugarcane is also a C4 photosynthesis pathway grass, like corn. The most basic compound plants make is glucose, the sugar used by our bodies at the cellular level. Plants concatinate glucose into cellulose, a long-chain carbohydrate polymer. Sugarcane, a perennial cousin of big bluestem, a common native prairie grass, stores carbohydrate reserves in its stem as sucrose and fructose, short-chain polymers of glucose. This takes less effort than forming a seed head by an annual plant, like corn. That, combined with the long, tropical, frost-free growing season where sugarcane is able to grow, makes sugarcane a more efficient feedstock for ethanol production than corn.

    The most efficient way to produce ethanol feedstock with the lowest inputs is, of course, to go the cellulosic route and access the glucose tied up in the vegetative parts of a perennial plant. Field trials at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign have shown that Miscanthus giganteus, an introduced sterile, natural hybrid, can produce four times as much biomass as corn grain, with no fertilizer, tillage, or water input, while at the same time sequestering 4 tons of carbon per acre per year. In biomass production, sterility is a great advantage. One of the advantages of native switchgrass is that phenological sterility can be induced by taking a southern cultivar and moving it north.

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    @schumacher

    If what I’m reading about what your saying is right, that would agree with some things I’ve read.

    That bio-ethanols at the moment are an inefficient means of producing fuel. That’s not to say they will continue to do so, but right now as the system exists, it’s not a great method.

    My understanding is that the industry right now only exists because of government subsidies and isn’t viable for greater production yet.

    Now I could be misinformed on this subject, I’m no expert and I’m not claiming to be one. But I think pushing for EV’s at the moment isn’t necessarily a bad idea, the Chinese are pushing HARD on this subject.

    I think one people fail to realize is that the Chinese have probably close to a billion rolling test labs in EV technology. All you have to do is see all the electric bicycles and scooters that exist here.

    Saw a show in Chinese about the difference in bike EV technology. The battery was about 20% lighter, could go about 15% further and about 5% faster. This was the change from one model year to the next.

    You don’t need cars to develop this technology, you need real world testing and you need proof of engineering concepts and the electric bicycle market in China is providing that in spades. At a very cheap price. One electric bicycle here can be had for less than $400 easily.

    We as a country need to be pushing harder, we do not have the real world testing trial and error on a massive scale to find problems and solutions. We’re going to be behind soon if we aren’t careful here.

    • 0 avatar
      fred schumacher

      The subsidies that farmers presently get for production of “program” crops, such as corn, wheat, and soybeans, are not coupled to final use. Whether that corn goes into a cow, an ethanol plant, a bottle of Coke, or a box of cereal is irrelevant to the base subsidy, which is quite small. The subsidy that ethanol gets goes to the blender, not the farmer. That is, the subsidy targets the fuel distribution, not production, system.

      Most ethanol plants here in Minnesota are farmer-owned co-operatives. Dividends revert to the farmer owners. Ethanol is value added processing that takes place close to the production area and provides valuable jobs and increased rural income. The industry began without subsidies and is able to continue without subsidies. Subsidy is not what drives the decision making process, as so many urban people believe.

      The major problem that I see is a lack of systematics in planning for an oil-less future. Development work is taking place all over the map with no coordination and with everyone looking for the magic bullet that will solve all problems. It doesn’t exist. Meanwhile, there are people, including many powerful politicians who believe no problem exists and we can continue indefinitely on our present course.


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