April 2009 Issue

First Word: 04/09

The more I learn about the biofuel and alternative fuel industries, the more depressed I get. But this doesnít necessarily apply to Swift Fuel, a proposed replacement for 100LL, which is analyzed on page 12 of this issue. Stay with me to follow the reasoning. Any sane person who reads much about the history and economics of the U.S. ethanol industry could only conclude one thing: Itís nothing but corn state lunacy. The entire industry is heavily subsidized and is really nothing but agricultural subsidies by another name. With oil prices in the tank, ethanolís high cost of production isnít remotely competitive with gasoline and unless oil hits $200 a barrel, it probably never will be. The notion that ethanol is somehow greener that gasoline has been pretty well shot to hell, too. Corn ethanolís energy balanceóthe amount of energy input compared to energy gainedóis generally accepted as a pathetic 1.3.

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