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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If ethanol is mandated to be blended into all gas in Wisconsin, the price of gas will go up dramatically. How do I know this? Because it's already happening.
Last year Congress passed a law mandating that 9 percent of the total U.S. gasoline supply be blended with ethanol. Since the law took effect Jan. 1, the price of ethanol has exploded upward. The government-mandated demand for the product has created an enormous price spike. According to the nation's most famous oil industry newsletter, The Lundberg Letter, (www.lundbergsurvey.com), the spot price for one gallon of ethanol went from $2.06 per gallon on Jan. 1 to $2.87 per gallon now. Lundberg says the reason is that suppliers cannot keep up with the mandated demand for ethanol. The newsletter further states it would take years for enough ethanol plants to be built to accommodate the demand for the product created by government mandates.

The result of this is enormous increases in the price of gasoline blended with ethanol and monstrous profits for the ethanol operators already up and running. If you think ExxonMobil had windfall profits, imagine what Wisconsin's ethanol suppliers will haul in if government mandates the use of a product that is in short supply.

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There is enormous pressure from the ethanol industry on the Wisconsin state Senate to pass a statewide ethanol mandate. But the pressure is building on the other side from citizens who don't want to pay even higher prices for gasoline that will be watered down with an overpriced and inefficient fuel. In the cross hairs of this pressure is a Republican state senator named Scott Fitzgerald. His dilemma is an example of how essentially good elected officials become compromised by political special interests.

Fitzgerald is a conservative whose district includes most of Jefferson and Dodge counties. He was elected to the Senate by defeating an incumbent Republican he felt wasn't supportive of conservative principles. His entire career has been spent opposing big government and supporting free markets and individual rights. Yet, Fitzgerald might vote for the ethanol mandate.

The explanation for Fitzgerald's potential betrayal of his own principles is the same one that we have seen in countless other reform-minded politicians who "go native" a few years after arriving in Washington or Madison. In a word, it's "pork." Not only does Fitzgerald's district include many corn farmers, but a major ethanol plant is being planned for the city of Jefferson. The beneficiaries of the windfall - the plant operators, corn growers and local officials - are twisting Fitzgerald's arm. Adding to the heat is one of Fitzgerald's closest friends, former State Sen. Bob Welch, who heads the state ethanol lobby and represents the operators of the plant targeted for Fitzgerald's district. In the same way that members of Congress fight for unneeded bridges and try to save redundant military bases, Fitzgerald is being lobbied to bring home the bacon for his own district by supporting legislation that will make a handful of people very wealthy.

The Scott Fitzgerald who was elected to the Senate a few years ago never would have fallen for it. The Scott Fitzgerald of today? I'm not so sure. Fitzgerald, according to my sources, is being bombarded with calls from constituents who care more about principle than pork. They are pleading with him to oppose the ethanol mandate. There is nothing principled about the position of the plant operators and Bob Welch. They want to make money. If Fitzgerald listens to them and ignores the vast majority of his constituents, he will be the latest example of a good politician co-opted by a system that values campaign contributions and re-election more than ideology and ethics.

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Supporters of the ethanol mandate are gleeful President Bush mentioned ethanol in his Milwaukee speech Monday morning. But the president called only for incentives to encourage ethanol use, not mandates. Besides, Bush is making as much sense on energy these days as Jimmy Carter did when he encouraged us to respond to the Arab oil embargo by wearing sweaters. Bush's babble about America's "addiction to oil" would have credibility if he was using his muscle to allow exploration and drilling of our known oil and gas reserves in Alaska. Instead, the president has been muttering about biofuels and other alternative energy sources that might cut our reliance on foreign oil but are years away from being practical.

He's sounding like, well, a Democrat.

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I mentioned the Lundberg Letter report on the explosion in ethanol prices at the top of this column. If you extrapolate the per-gallon cost, ethanol is now more than $100 a barrel. Oil is around $60. If our "alternatives" to oil cost twice as much and work half as well, maybe our "addiction" isn't so terrible.

Mr. President, there is an "addiction" problem in this country. But it's not with Americans hooked on oil. The real addiction is politicians and their reliance on special interests to fund campaign contributions. The Jack Abramoffs of the world are the dealers and the elected officials who abandon principle in exchange for their cash are the derelicts in the political crack house.
 

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Ahhhh Ethanol....... Less BTU's Less power Less MPG!!! That's just how to fix the energy problem!
 

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Who cares? Let's ride before the season is over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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E85 gas in Illinois is .20 cheaper a gallon than regular grade gas , the money stays in the U.S. not OPEC or South America , it's renuable and cleaner burning. Maybe I was brainwashed . If I had a flexifuel Suburban I would burn 29 less barrels of imported oil a year. This is America , God Bless the guys who invest in these Ethanol plants (Farmers have invested) and make some coin . So the downside is what? No more corn subsidies to keep the price of corn up ?Automakers have cranked up the horse power on engines , so a small reduction in performance won't be missed all that much by using some beets and corn squeezins'. Too bad there isn't enough farm land to end our dependence on imported oil. I wonder why big oil would object so strongly to the use of farmer juice? Save our oil reserves till we empty out OPECs wells.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My brother has a flexifuel Tahoo. Not running e85 he gets 16mpg. Using e85 his fuel millege drops to 13mpg. For arguments sake let say regular unleaded is 2.20 per gallon and e85 is 2.00 per gallon. On a 1000 mile trip he would burn 62.5 gallons of regular at a cost of $137.50 on the same trip he would burn 77 gallons of e85 at a cost of $154.00. Plus if the ethanol wasnt subsidized by taxpayers it cost evan more. I do see your point on not having to buy as much foriegn oil and if i had a flexifuel vehicle I might buy it just for that point. However this discussion was about 10% ethanol mandate. Your not forced to buy the e85. The 10% ethanol blend does not and would not have a change on our dependancy on foriegn oil. For arguments sake let say you only lose 5% of you fuel economy running the 10% blend. Now you can say for every 100 gallons of gas you buy thats 5 gallons that you didnt have to buy from the arabs. But wait. You have to figure in the energy it takes to grow the corn, harvest the corn, transport the corn to the ethanol plant, transport the ethanol via tanker truck to the reformulating plants. At this point habib is pointing and laughing at you. Then to rub salt in the wound I have to pay extra for this crap and I dont have a choice about it.

BTW. Ethanol produces considerably less horspower and GMC recomends that you do not use E85 when towing.
 

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I have been to or through Wisconsin the last 5 weekends. A gallon of 10% in Illinois is the same price as in Wisconsin , We have some of the highest gas taxes in the U.S. , You are already getting hosed by someone . We also have to get special blends (which you may also) that puts a pinch in . I'm sure your state will end up mandating the fuel , Special interests , clean air , less foreign oil etc. will sail it right through ! It may not be the best solution I agree ,but you have to agree oil is going to get scarcer and more expensive than alcohol , interuptions in oil supply can set this country back very easily also . I hope I can laugh at Habbib in my lifetime!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yep stuck with the same high taxes and in milwaukee area stuck with blended fuels. The only thing that is pushing this through is big money from special interest groups. Cleaner air? DNR has stated they are against it because of the increase in air polution. Less foreign oil? Not on 10% ethanol loss in fuel economy + energy needed to produce ethanol takes care of that.

This is my point. Im sick of being stuck with high taxes. I dont want to be told what fuel I have to run because someone is going to get rich off of it. Its time to stand up and tell these politicans no were not going to stand for it.
 
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