A Talent for Deception

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When establishment Republicans like Jim Talent pat the president on the back, he might want to check for a knife.

Talent recently praised Trump for not ending or even dialing back the Renewable Fuels Standard – a federal mandate which force-feeds billions of gallons of ethanol and biodiesel to American drivers, like it or not. The fact that there is no natural market for ethanol – which may be “renewable” but isn’t energy efficient – doesn’t seem to bother Talent, who is an ex-senator from Missouri and lawyer/lobbyist/PR flack by trade.

This probably explains his lack of economic and engineering knowledge about ethanol.

It’s astonishing, first of all, that he could write that ethanol “saves consumers at the pump.” If that were so, “consumers” wouldn’t need to be force-fed ethanol. This much ought to be obvious – even to a lawyer/lobbyist.

But ethanol does have to be force-fed to Americans –  because it costs them money.

To begin with, it contains less energy per gallon than gasoline. It takes 1.5 gallons of ethanol to equal the energy contained in a gallon of gasoline. That means your car doesn’t travel as far on ethanol-adulterated fuel – and you need to fill up sooner.

Which costs you money.

Ethanol – which is corn alcohol – costs in other ways, too.

Car engines and fuel delivery systems have to be “hardened” to handle ethanol-adulterated fuel, because alcohol is both highly corrosive as well as water-attractive. It accelerates internal rusting of fuel tanks and lines and – in car and other engines not designed for it – accelerates the deterioration of rubber and plastic seals, too – leading to leaks and potentially fires.

These are not problems for new cars designed to burn ethanol-laced “gas” (most “gas” sold in the United States is E10, 10 percent ethanol; the ethanol lobby is pushing for E15, 15 percent ethanol). But it is a huge problem for older vehicles – those made before the early 2000s – and there are millions still in service.

it is also a major problem for seasonal/outdoor power equipment because ethanol-adulterated fuel does not store as well nor as long – leading to problems  come spring, when the time comes to fire up the gummed-up lawn mower/tractor. Some outdoor power equipment manufacturers – Stihl chainsaws, for example – expressly warn owners about using ethanol-laced fuel.

And ethanol is a problem for every car, in terms of decreased fuel economy vs. 100 percent gasoline.

Which – again – is why it has to be mandated. Very few people, if given the free choice, would choose to fill their cars with a fuel that takes them less far – and so costs them more.

Talent turns this simple, obvious logic on its head – asserting that getting rid of the mandate that forces people to buy ethanol-adulterated fuel would be “rolling back competition” – an embarrassing display of economic ignorance.

If ethanol made economic sense, it wouldn’t be necessary to shove the proverbial funnel down the throats of American drivers. The free market would ensure the success of ethanol and other biofuels  – in the same way that the market has made sure that Starbucks coffee is available on every street corner. 

No Starbucks Coffee Standard needed.

As a “policy analyst” at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, it is startling that Talent doesn’t understand this.

But he’s not done.

Talent also says the RFS mandate “ensur(es) that U.S. biofuels can reach consumers at the gasoline pump, breaking a once-solid monopoly on motor fuels.”

Come again?

A monopoly can only exist when it is legislated – when people are forced to do business with a particular business. When they have no free choice, in other words. What Talent and other pushers of the RFS standard are demanding is, in fact, a monopoly – a legal requirement that people buy “renewable” fuels, that refiners and distributors be forced to adulterate gasoline with it – regardless of the market’s desire for it.

The very definition of “monopoly.”

These are facts, not matters of opinion.

And the fact is, ethanol has been unable to compete on the merits.

The fact is, ethanol requires government shoving a bayonet in the backsides of American drivers.

The fact is, the ethanol lobby uses its considerable resources to strong-arm politicians – current and ex – to press for legislative favors that keep this crony capitalist con alive and profitable.

Ironically, the one element of the renewable fuels boondoggle that did make a little sense is the one Talent and other corn-pushers oppose. A rule change was proposed earlier ths year that would at least have given mandated ethanol producers and distributors credit (with the EPA) for selling surplus renewables to other countries. This would have put money in American hands, without putting as much corrosive, fuel-inefficient ethanol in the tanks of Americans’ cars.

Talent calls this a “dodge” in his recent op-ed piece on the subject.

Meanwhile, he and others in his camp are pushing for an expansion of the RFS mandate; that more rather than less be produced – at gunpoint. This language may sound harsh, but it’s reality. The ethanol lobby isn’t “asking” that ethanol be produced and purchased.

You can’t say ” no thanks” to a mandate.

President Trump might want to look into the reality of renewables – as opposed to the disingenuous PR peddled by Talent, et al – and ask the question that arguably got him elected.

It is, simply – who benefits?

Is it the American driver? Is it America?

Or is it a handful of politically powerful corn pushers, talking up “renewable fuels” for the sake of padding their own pockets at the expense of Americans – and America?

. . .

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Author of “Automotive Atrocities” and “Road Hogs” (MBI). Currently living amongst the Edentulites in rural SW Virginia.

24 COMMENTS

  1. You want to get rid of the ethanol mandate? Fine. There’s one and only one way: get the Iowa Caucuses rescheduled for June in an election year. They currently go first with New Hampshire. Anyone wishing to cleanse us of this extortion will be destroyed in Iowa and will likely see his political future evaporate.

  2. The part of the ethanol deception that doesn’t get much press – gasoline aside – is what it does to the price of food. By force feeding corn into our cars, we’ve taken away feed that is used in beef production. A number of ranchers across the country have been forced to sell off large parts of their herds just to be able to feed the few remaining head they have left. With the mandate for how much corn has to be turned into “fuel” a great deal of farmland once used for food crops is now being used for corn instead.

  3. Environmentalism has been the method used to impose communist principles on western society–especially in the USA.
    Environmentalists are not content with promoting clean water, air and land, but are hell-bent on controlling human behavior, and yes, promoting extermination plans for much of humanity as these “anointed” types consider mankind to be a pestilence (except for themselves) to be reduced in population “by any means necessary”.
    Environmentalists HATE the God-given concept of private property and have imposed government-backed and enforced “land use controls” on private property owners without compensation–clearly an unconstitutional “taking” of private property. If environmentalists want to control land use, let them purchase it themselves–not by government force. Today the only method of negating government-imposed land use restrictions is “shoot, shovel, and shut up”.
    If environmentalists had their way, the earth’s human population would be reduced by approximately 90%, with the remainder to (be forced) to live in cities, in soviet-style high rise apartments, utilizing bicycles, buses and trains for transportation. The use of automobiles and access to “pristine wilderness (rural) areas” would be off-limits to us mere mortals, and would only be available for these “anointed” environmentalists.
    The “endangered species act” is another abuse of environmentalism. Species are always changing, to adapt to their environments–”survival if the fittest”. In fact, the hoopla over the “spotted owl” (that placed much northwest timber land “off-limits” to logging) turned out to be nothing but scientific misconduct and arrogance. There are virtually identical species in other parts of the northwest.
    More scientific malpractice occurred when government biologists attempted to “plant” lynx fur in certain areas to provide an excuse for making those areas “off-limits” for logging or development. Fortunately, these “scientists” were caught–however, no punishment was given.
    In a nutshell, today’s environmentalism IS communism… like watermelon…”green” on the outside and “red” (communist) on the inside…

    • “Environmentalists HATE” no, communists, collectivists, statists, and so on hate private property and so forth and they hijack other things to push their agenda. They hijack environmentalism, they hijack the fight against cronyism of the medical industry, they hijack bicycling, they hijack whatever they can hide behind and then shape it into pushing their agenda.

      Back in the 1990s bicycling politics was dominated by militant vehicular bicyclists like myself that demanded their rights in traffic. Today we have anti-private-motoring collectivists dominating the agenda that carve out dedicated road spaces. There are few real environmentalists left, but if you want to see one slide over to realclimatescience.com.

      • Mr Brent,

        I’m not at all smart enough to opine about the geohealth, but I’ll do so anyway as a distraction from my very unresolvable idiomatical hebrewsky dilemmas of whether or not to eat this plate full of free ham.

        In the same way, I’m still an angry young incel, who’s never got over the rage of learning that all my schoolfriends were getting mad action, and I’ve had to play catch up ever since.

        For this I have swallowed the red pill.

        But mayhaps, I needn’t ford this styxian river, and am merely as you might say FOOLING MYSELF
        https://youtu.be/RwPS19swwiA?t=30

        For an analogy, environmentalists have swallowed the green pill. I’m genuinely interested in how far down the green rabbit hole goes.

        Maybe they didn’t grow up in far northern midwest paradises, but rather in urban heaths, where the average human lived in dwellings resting on hundreds of tons of concrete foundation, breaking the back of poor ol’ Gaia.

        To my mind, my red pill claim is higher than any green pill claim, because from my perspective, the pain one feels hearing the imagined cries for help of mudder earth are wholly illusory.

        But perhaps my own procreative cries are equally a grand illusion, and I shouldn’t still be such an immature angry young man, even though I’m fifty now. And like the green weenies, i also am fooling myself and need to get back on my feet i’m the one they can’t beat and I know it.

        One thing about my presex self, is the joy I had riding around on my AMF renegade musclebike Aerobee. Freest time I ever enjoy that I can remember of being alive.
        https://i.pinimg.com/564x/06/d7/03/06d7038ae1e440d198d36982e38ca74c.jpg

        Sing it my Black African savior Freddy Mercury. Preach it Pastorial Musical, all i wanted to do was bicycle bicycle bicycle i wanted to ride my bicycle where i liked among the fat bottomed girls who were out of my reach and all riding that day.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncQsBzI-JHc

        I guess it’s a clash of testosterone, but it does seem You say black I say white You say bark I say bite

        You say shark I say hey man Jaws was never my scene
        And I don’t like Star Wars You say Rolls I say Royce

        You say God give me a choice You say Lord I say Christ
        I don’t believe in Peter Pan Frankenstein or Superman

        All I wanna do is bicycle bicycle bicycle bicycle bicycle bicycle bicycle bicycle bicycle bicycle bicycle bicycle bicycle bicycle bicycle bicycle bicycle bicycle bicycle bicycle, race.

    • The irony of environmentalism is that they are all under the delusion that communism somehow is in harmony with protecting the environment. One doesn’t even need to read The Tragedy Of The Commons to understand if no one owns the land, no one feels a need to maintain or protect it.

      Once again, I’m reminded of the fact that there’s no graffiti in Aspen.

      • Hi ReadyKilowatt. I understand the theory of ‘the tragedy of the commons’, but I think that there must be something else which causes that problem. The American Indians lacked any sense of land ownership; yet they took care of the land so that their children would also have abundant recourses in the future. They likewise managed very well without having cops and prisons. I suspect that said tragedy stems from philosophical beliefs, or lack there of.

        • Brian, there’s a difference between individual ownership of land and tribal ownership of territory. That whole Ayn Rand idea that indins had no concept of land ownership, which she extended into her bizarre idea that indins had no concept of private ownership of anything, is false.

          Tribes held territory for their own common use and guarded their territories jealously, even going to war to defend their hunting and farming lands. The “tragedy of the commons” theme, as you correctly observe, doesn’t apply to lands held and used by tribes, but it does apply to lands claimed by governments which are then declared “public land”, mainly because the government making the declaration does still claim the power to limit the usage and/or ownership of those lands.

          The tragedy, I think, occurs because governments never really allow any of their subjects to claim a property right in regard to the land, and so when a government claims that everybody owns the land, then actually nobody owns it, except the government which makes the claim.

  4. Boy Trump got BTFO on that cornshine stuff so far.

    Hard to drain a swamp or even a cornfield when you’re up to your ankles in oozing sucking muck.

    I apologize for using the word incel here. Which means involuntary celibate, I don’t think anyone here is that.

    What is here are volcels. Which means voluntary celibates. A gross error mea muy muy culpa.

    Down the VolCel Rabbit hole a bit more…

    https://www.reddit.com/r/volcels/top/

    damn guys I have to stop modding here because my girlfriend told me so 🙁 (self.volcels)
    submitted 2 months ago by ShrekDreck

    fuck women amirite (self.volcels)
    submitted 9 months ago by ShrekDreck – announcement

    whoa guys I dont think im volcel anymore (self.volcels)
    submitted 4 months ago by ShrekDreck

    how do women pee if they dont (self.volcels)
    submitted 1 month ago by tajjet

    I saw a woman with big tits today and kinda wanted to fuck her am i incel now??! (self.volcels)
    submitted 3 months ago by lunaticLipid

    Time to go down the rabbit hole further, extreme cringe ahead.

    Chad – Full name is Chad Thundercock. Basically a man who easily attracts women who want to have romantic relationships with him. Not the type of guy to browse reddit or online forums in general because he’s too busy with friends/hot chicks blowing up his phone. Note: The black version of Chad is Tyrone. This is for the occasional blackcel.

    Normie – You already know what this is. Derived from normalfag.

    White Knight – You probably already know what this is as well. Basically just someone who moralizes without understanding communities at all. Typically seen as seeking to win a perceived woman on the internet’s favor (though this is not always the case). SJWs who brigade for social issues that have no real world impact on them fall into this category as well.

    Difference between cuck and cuckold – Is there a difference? Cuckold is really just a term for someone who allows other people (typically of their partner’s sex) to have sex with their SOs. Cuck has a variety of meanings, but in the context of inceldom it generally means someone who disagrees with incel theory and worships women regardless. Basically the same thing as blue-pilled.

    Red Pilled – Woman can’t be trusted in the sphere of romantic relationships to not use and abuse you for things other than simply your romantic affections.

    Black Pilled – No one can be trusted in the sphere of any relationships to not use and abuse you for things. This includes friends and family. Honestly, the black pill is open to a lot of interpretation. It’s typically seen as nihilism, but I don’t see that as the case.

    Purple pilled – Really don’t know what this means. I assume it’s a combination of blue and red pill? Meaning that someone isn’t completely redpilled and still holds on to certain blue pill philosophies. Probably an insult.

    Volcel – voluntary celibate. Basically someone who could attract female attention but simply doesn’t try. As opposed to someone who is so horrendously ugly and genetically inferior that no woman would voluntarily want to have a relationship with them.

    Currycel – Indian incel. Basically assumes that women aren’t attracted to average Indian men who would otherwise be fair game in Indian society.

    Ricecel – The same thing as currycel but for Asians. Asian men have tons of insecurities about their masculinity and think women aren’t attracted to them simply because their asian. Also, they typically have problems with being short so this compounds their romantic failures.

    Gymcel – Someone who is physically fit but still incel. Because they’re just so damn ugly.

    For the last line, I don’t recognize Blackoppscel or Azavii so I’ll just define the others.

    Fakecel – One step beyond volcel. These people have had relationships on a regular basis and have no problem attracting female attention.

    Truecel – Someone who is the lowest of the low. So ugly that they’re a supreme God of incels.

    Cope- Hard to define, but more or less describes incels trying to make it. If someone is coping, they find happiness in certain things outside the realm of relationships despite realizing that they are permavirgin incels.

    Femoid- Basically just women. Not sure why they’re seen as robots? Perhaps because they are so different from incels that they might as well be different species.

    Disclaimer – I only recently browsed /r/incels within the last couple of months. All of these definitions are fluid and liable to criticism from other incels. Just take them with a grain of salt, I guess. Also, please keep in mind that some incels, like many people on 4chan, presumably Voat and other forums where free speech isn’t limited, browse with a certain level of irony. Sometimes with multiple levels of irony. Don’t take everything at face value.

  5. Back in the early 1990s I caught one of the very early hearings on ethanol on CSPAN by accident while flipping through the channels. It was quite clear it was money grab.

    • Closest one for me is about 50 miles away, but we also have 3 natural gas filling stations within 4 miles of my house. Loved driving the ol truck through Oklahoma (strange, corn doesn’t grow there) and filling up on ethanol free gas.

    • Not a one in the entire Chicagoland area. Of course it probably has to do with the dreaded “summer blend” that we just have to have.

      Sometimes marinas have pure gas since most boat owners don’t want to trash their engines. The downside, it generally costs about double the going rate, and they often can’t fuel a non boat.

      • Cook and surrounding counties have been in an EPA containment zone since 1995. This means oxygenated fuel aka RFG as was called in 1995 (read ethanol) is required. It is illegal to sell fuel that does not contain ethanol (the remaining legal oxygenate) for road going motor vehicles.

          • They used MTBE which was a byproduct of refining the oil into gasoline. It had been used as an octane booster for decades before the mandate. It does not harm fuel systems. Trouble is when used in the amounts required by the law it started ending up in the water supply. Thanks EPA! I am sure the ethanol variant ends up in the water supply too but being ethanol its not going have the particularly ill effects on people of MTBE.

        • Yeah. Oxygenated fuels are the real problem. I remember in 2000, fuel prices in Chicago were about $2.25 per gallon due to a shortage and allocation problems with oxygenated fuels. Same thing happened in LA, Dallas, NY, NJ and other areas. Regular blend gas was selling for about maybe $1.65 elsewhere. (Oil prices jumped that year from about $19.00 per barrel to about $30.00. When I found out that at a later date, the government was going to add to the Ozone Non attainment areas requiring oxygenated fuel it pissed me off. I believe that it was 2008 or so when the requirement covered the country. Beginning around that time, the price gap between summer and winter fuel began widening from about 5 cents a gallon to about 30. Every year since, it has been like that. I personally predict that if oil prices stay where they are, we will be paying $2.70 per gallon by March as the refineries switch blends. Maybe more. If oil prices firm up to $60.00-70.00 per barrel, we will be back to $3.00. I think that this is the last year for cheaper fuel. Thanks Republicans. Thanks Democrats. I hope they all die.

          • Even here there’s folks that think clean air is worth a high price.

            It’s a complex issue, because no one will let things be simplified so a clear decision can be made, and winners and loser will at least know where they stand.

            Muh clean air is even worse than muh roads.

            Someone is smoking. Something stinks. You can’t have chickens in an inner urban area because blank out.

            No suburban cattle and grazing and crops in your bedroom community because muh HOA. Most of us are highly intolerant, it’s not just the government and cronies who are freedom’s enemy.

            For whatever reason only Uncle can provide us clean air, can’t authorize any kind of joint stock companies to do that.

            Only the magic of government can take rainbow sprinkle it with do, cover it in hepa filters and a particulate ban or two. The government can. The government can.

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