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The Detroit News Gets Ethanol Wrong, Again


TACH replies to The Detroit News' editorial "END THE ETHANOL MANDATE"

By Marc J. Rauch
Exec. Vice President/Co-Publisher

    Originally published October 26, 2017

Marc Rauch

For the past few years, The Detroit News has taken several swipes at ethanol in order to impugn its use as fuel, as well as to denounce the entire renewable fuel program. Their efforts were particularly incendiary during the time that David Shepardson was doing the writing, such as his entirely fallacious article "Carmakers fight hike in ethanol at gas pumps," and then his highly discombobulated article "70 House Members Urge Halt to E15 Fuel Use."

The Detroit News also used Robert Bryce to pen a very misinformed piece titled "Corn ethanol is now a climate-change scandal." Of course, in Robert Bryce's case, when it comes to ethanol everything he writes is misinformed.

Incidentally, on multiple occasions I informed Mr. Shepardson and Mr. Bryce of my disagreement with their writings about ethanol, and I published public replies to their stories. I gave them ample opportunity to rebut me, but they have always declined to do so.

In the most recent attack on ethanol by The Detroit News ("End The Ethanol Mandate" published October 24, 2017), they do it with an unsigned editorial. I guess no one at TDN has the octane to take credit for the wrong information.

The wrong information begins in the title of the editorial. There has never been an "ethanol mandate," there has been a "biofuel mandate." Ethanol is merely one of several options that could be selected to be blended with the poison known as "gasoline" (in the UK they call it "petrol," but poison by any other name is still poison). It just so happens that ethanol is the best of the options, which is why it has been the primary 'blending partner' with the gasoline poison.

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Gasoline is poison

(If you're wondering, I use the word "best" in place of writing out "cleaner, healthier, less expense, safer, more powerful, and better for the American economy." The one word "best" concisely supplants thirteen other words.)

Then, just like a dizzying fall from a precipice high above, as you read the latest editorial from TDN you fall deeper and deeper into a dark malodorous abyss of more Big Oil lies, misinformation, and out-of-context interpretations of public statements.

The first paragraph of the new TDN editorial states that "...blending the corn-based fuel into gasoline represents the worst sort of special-interest policy making." So it sounds like The Detroit News considers the health, safety, driving pleasure, and financial wellbeing of the American public to be just pandering to special interests?

Hmm, well, you know, the American public is pretty special, so maybe TDN inadvertently hit on something. But then since the blending of corn-based fuel with gasoline provides so many benefits to the American public, isn't this a good thing? Isn't this a great thing? Do you think that the folks at The Detroit News will even understand their error and what I just wrote?

Nah, me neither.

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Pelican covered by spilled oil

The second paragraph of the TDN editorial claims that the originally cited benefits for using ethanol-gasoline blended fuels has been debunked. But nothing could be further from the truth. For example, last year Dr. Daniel De La Torre Ugarte (Research Professor, Department Of Agricultural And Resource Economics University Of Tennessee) wrote an article that the ethanol haters claimed debunked the benefits of ethanol fuel. In fact, in very short order... and I mean in very short order... a fairly good number of people debunked Dr. Ugarte's debunking of ethanol. And this debunking of Dr. Ugarte's debunking was done by individuals with at least the same academic credentials as Ugarte. Others who debunked Ugarte's debunking included individuals such as myself who have not been shackled to the myopic teachings of dreary, out-of-touch instructors. In other words, people who have actually experienced and tested the benefits of ethanol fuels think of Dr. Ugarte's paper as simply flatupedantic ("flatupedantic" is my invented word meaning "Full of intestinally foul smelling hot air" or "he's full of s--t").

Also last year, George 'David' Banks, with some entity called the American Council For Capital Formation, wrote a piece that was claimed to debunk the benefits of ethanol fuel. Mr. Banks' article was simply a rehashing of Richard Rahn's absurd anti-ethanol gibberish, combined with wrong information from The World Bank - which The World Bank has subsequently admitted was incorrect. The big problem with Mr. Bank's article is that it was written well after The World Bank admitted the mistakes on multiple occasions. Therefore the insertion of the information by Mr. Banks had to have been intentionally meant to deceive readers.

By the way, I provide links to all my replies to these anti-ethanol Big Oil shills at the bottom of this response.

This year, the Big Oil lobby has treated us to hackneyed anti-ethanol claims authored by Professors William Shughart, Mark Perry, and Gary Wolfram. All three of the papers written by these guys were claimed by the oil industry to debunk ethanol benefits. In the immortal words of my progenitors, "Oy vey, they messugah!" In English this means, "Oh my God, they're crazy!"

All that Shughart, Perry, and Wolfram did was to repeat the same lame falsehoods about ethanol that the oil industry has been shoving down our throats for the past century.

To cut to the chase, on The Detroit News' claim that the benefits of ethanol have been debunked, it's a lot of bunk! The publishing of multiple false reports doesn't magically make the wrong published information correct, unless - I guess - you're a main stream media outlet that has adopted fake news instead of real news and you're trying to hoodwink the audience.

Anyway, let me move on since I've only advanced as far as the second paragraph of The Detroit News' editorial, and I've got a lot of ground to cover.

Paragraph three claims that Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has acknowledged that the ethanol-blended fuel now serves just one purpose: propping up the economy of the corn belt. They - The Detroit News - says that because Sen. Grassley only recently brought up the issue of Iowans losing jobs if ethanol usage is cut back (and not the overarching issues of health, safety, automobile performance, and lower cost of fuel), that it means he has conceded the lack of importance of anything but jobs. This is a clear instance of taking something out of context.

You know, if you go to an ocean beach on New Year's Day and stick your foot in the water and exclaim "That's cold!" it doesn't mean that you deny that the water is wet, that the sand gets in-between your toes, that there is fish in the water, and that the water tastes salty. And it doesn't necessarily mean that you've made the fact that the water is cold as the most salient issue.

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Turtle killed by spilled oil

Furthermore, a Senator represents his specific constituents first, so it's not surprising that he would cite the issue of job loss in his state. On top of this, it is hoped that no one needs to be reminded again that gasoline is poison, that it causes respiratory illnesses, that it pollutes the atmosphere, that the process of oil discovery and shipping has killed millions of mammals and fish, and that the oil industry is responsible for every major war in the last 103 years. Just as it's not necessary to exclaim: "The water is cold...and wet!" it's not always necessary to remind people that petroleum oil fuels are linked to Alzheimer disease, autism, and asthma. Gasoline is poison. It has always been poison, and it always will be poison.

But why is job loss not an important issue to The Detroit News? Why is having a crop that American farmers can grow profitably suddenly a bad thing?

Jumping way ahead to paragraph seven of The Detroit News' editorial, they state " The blending (of ethanol and gasoline) raises costs and complicates the refining process, leading to higher prices at the gasoline pump."

Hello, people at The Detroit News, gasoline is not a natural substance. It doesn't flow from out of the ground like mineral water. The process of making gasoline is COMPLICATED. And the process to find additives to gasoline that mitigate engine knock, raise octane, and clean the debris that forms in engines because of the dirty burning of gasoline is COMPLICATED.

The petroleum oil industry could replace ethanol in the gasoline blend with benzene and toluene, but guess what? It's more expensive to use benzene and toluene, and benzene and toluene are poisonous. Gasoline with benzene and toluene is more poisonous. Adding benzene or toluene to gasoline doesn't mitigate the poison-ness of gasoline.

Hey, people at The Detroit News, you are in "Motor City." The city got that nickname because of the automobile industry, not because of a style of music. Pretend that you know something about automobiles.

The Detroit News implores that the "ethanol boondoggle" should be ended and they say that "Instead of bowing to Grassley’s self-serving threat, Trump and Pruitt should have taken a much bolder step and dumped the mandates altogether."


What Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt should do is what Barack Obama should have done: Declare the end of manufacturing all new gasoline and petroleum diesel engines within the next three to five years. There is no reason...there has never been a reason... to be reliant on petroleum oil fuels; and there is definitely no reason whatsoever to be dependent upon foreign petroleum oil to supply our engine fuels.

There is the very mistaken belief that we enjoy the quality of living that we do because of so-called fossil fuels. No, we enjoy the quality of living that we do because of the inventions that require fuel, and all of these engines did run, and can run, as good or better on ethanol instead of gasoline; or biodiesel fuel made from ethanol instead of petroleum diesel fuel.

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Tar sands field vs. Corn field

The Detroit News concludes their editorial with the nonsensical assessment that because of new extraction techniques and new found reserves that there is a glut of oil available, and they make another try at attacking ethanol for being too carbon intensive to produce. What they miss; what they don't address; what they try to gloss over is the fact that regardless of how much petroleum oil can be found, it is poison. It pollutes the skies, and it causes serious health problems. And newer internal combustion engines require higher octane fuels. The easiest, safest, cheapest way to increase octane is by using ethanol.

And lastly, the claims of corn ethanol production being too carbon intensive relies upon the incorrect, out-dated preposterous studies conducted by David Pimentel and Tad Patzek; studies that were paid for by the petroleum oil industry.

The only boondoggle that exists is the boondoggle that keeps us enslaved to foreign dictators and unfriendly regimes.

To read my specific responses to the individuals mentioned above click any of the following:

Detroit News Story Goes Overboard in Slamming Ethanol

TRUTH ABOUT ETHANOL - 60+ page Reply to Robert Bryce's GUSHER OF LIES

Are Ethanol Opponents Sniffing Glue?

Meet The New 'Tool' In Big Oil's Efforts To Scuttle Ethanol

The Case Against Ethanol Opponents: They Are Simply Incorrect

It's Time To Rethink The Value Of PhD

Uncovering The Gas Roots of Contemporary Ethanol Opposition

Unmasking The Gas Roots of Contemporary Ethanol Opposition

Unmasking The Gas Roots of Contemporary Ethanol Opposition - Round 2