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Barack Obama Vs John McCain On Ethanol

ethanol.jpgAs with every other aspect of energy related legislation, there is no question in my mind that the renewable fuel plans put forth by both John McCain and and Barrack Obama are egregiously poor. Neither candidate has a viable long term plan that will benefit this nation, or the environment.

John McCain’s Position

Historically, McCain has been hesitant to embrace ethanol.   As the economy continues to collapse under the burden of warfare, taxes, and interest rates, McCain is beginning to see some advantage to increasing ethanol production.  Chances are, he may embrace ethanol and other renewable fuel products as a means to try and stem the rising cost of fuel.  Fortunately, McCain does not sponsor the type of tax breaks and other legislation for the ethanol industry that has led to the enormous number of complaints being lodged against oil producers.  Perhaps in this case, Senator McCain shows a bit of foresight in the sense it is highly impractical to trade the chains of one industrial monster just to take on another one.

Barrack Obama’s Position

By contrast, Senator Obama has been one of the most consistent supporters of ethanol fuel production.  Among other things, Senator Obama has  helped to craft and sponsor legislations that now make it possible for gas stations to mix ethanol into gasoline.  While Obama focuses heavily on the development and production of renewable fuels, his agenda remains unsatisfactory on a number of criteria, including the specific promotion of flex fuel engines as opposed to simple hybrids.

Why Both Candidates are Confused on the Issue of Renewable Fuels

Environmentally Irresponsible

We already know there are serious issues related to the carcinogenic and toxic side effects of fertilizers and pesticides polluting our waterways.   Logically, if we decide to grow more plants for biofuels, it stands to reason that soils will degrade and erode even faster.  As a result, farmers will rely even more on fertilizer and pesticides.

Disease and Food Shortages

As I write this, millions of pounds of tomatoes are rotting in Florida warehouses because of the salmonella outbreak. Combine that situation, with the flooding in Iowa, plus the hurricane season is just about getting underway.  Not only have we got a recipe for food shortages on our hands, if we had to rely on farms for our fuel, we would be in even worse condition.

Characteristics of Ethanol

It is crucial to realize that ethanol occupies more volume than gasoline. As a result, a gallon of ethanol will produce significantly less energy than a gallon of gasoline.  This alone may have an enormous impact on prices at the pump, as well as consumer fuel usage.


To my thinking, if we embrace ethanol, all we will do is put an undue burden on the environment, and gain little benefit from it.  At the same time, families that can barely put food on the table now will suffer even more if the land used to produce that food must also be used to produce ethanol.

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