Renewable Lies

Seldon B. Graham, Jr.
The ethanol industry has issued a campaign of lies about the oil industry.  As Hitler's Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."  The American Petroleum Institute, the only lobby for American oil, will not defend the oil industry, so I will give it a try.

The Ethanol Renewable Fuels Association, (hereafter "Ethanol") sponsors a website containing seven lies about the oil industry. 

Lie No. 1 is that "big oil" has been "rigging Congress."  Ethanol intends to deceive the public into thinking that legal campaign contributions to congressmen are somehow improper or unethical.

Lie No. 2 is that "big oil" has a near-total monopoly on the marketplace so when oil prices go up, you get gouged. This shows Ethanol's ignorance about "big oil," oil prices, the market, and gouging. Ethanol has no idea who "big oil" is. The "Seven Sisters" were destroyed by Carter. XTO, Devon, Chesapeake, Anadarko, EOG, Enervest, Pioneer, Lewis, BHP, and Burlington are the top 10 oil producers in Texas. These names are not familiar to the public. Ethanol does not know that U.S. oil prices are cheaper than foreign oil prices. So, if foreign countries are "gouging" by an excessive oil price, then, since Obama was elected president, foreign countries have "gouged" Americans out of $64.7 billion at the pump.

Lie No. 3 is that, for over 100 years, oil companies have held onto sweetheart tax breaks, supercharging "big oil's" profits with hard-earned wages from American families. This lie is especially defamatory and egregious. Oil is the only depleting resource industry that has lost its depletion allowance. The aforementioned Domestic Crude Oil Windfall Profits Tax caused half a million Americans to lose their jobs and wages, and caused hundreds of oil companies to go bankrupt. Those are "sweetheart tax breaks" to Ethanol?

Lie No. 4 is that oil companies made $100 billion in profits last year but have refused to pay for infrastructure to sell more renewable fuels in spite of a law requiring them to do so. Benjamin Franklin said, "Half a truth is often a great lie." This is that great lie. This half truth intended to deceive the public would require a for-profit company to throw away money on capital investments which could never be used. Ethanol production peaked in 2011 and has been less since. Ethanol production can never be more than 6% of oil demand. The EPA's Renewable Fuel Standard for 2013 was 16.55 billion gallons of ethanol; yet, ethanol production in 2013 was only 13.3 billion gallons, a 3.25 billion gallon shortfall. Only the stupid would spend money relying upon a shortfall to vanish.

Lie No. 5 is that oil companies like to quote a study that said ethanol damages engine valves, suggesting that the study was false. The AAA has warned that increasing the percentage of ethanol blended in gasoline could damage engines. Is Ethanol calling the AAA a bunch of liars?  If so, why did Lexus recalled 214,500 vehicles in 2009 due to ethanol having a potential to corrode fuel delivery pipes?

Lie No. 6 is that "big oil" has spent millions on slick advertisements attacking clean ethanol. "Big oil" is the villain again.  Somehow, I have not seen any of those alleged advertisements.  Do they even exist?  Clean ethanol?  Ethanol is not clean.  Ethanol is dirty. Ethanol emits more carbon dioxide into the air than using gasoline. A gallon of gasoline contains 124,238 British Thermal Units (BTUs) of energy and 19.64 pounds of carbon dioxide. A gallon of ethanol contains 77,000 BTUs and 12.57 pounds of carbon dioxide. Thus, for every 10,000 BTUs of energy used, gasoline emits 1.58 pounds of carbon dioxide, and ethanol emits 1.63 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Lie No. 7 is accusing the American Petroleum Institute (API) of getting money from unknown non-American sources to attack ethanol. That smear is so pathetically false it is almost laughable. The API doesn't even defend the American oil industry, much less attack its attackers. Yet, it gets its money from American oil and natural gas companies.

The ethanol industry has issued a campaign of lies about the oil industry.  As Hitler's Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."  The American Petroleum Institute, the only lobby for American oil, will not defend the oil industry, so I will give it a try.

The Ethanol Renewable Fuels Association, (hereafter "Ethanol") sponsors a website containing seven lies about the oil industry. 

Lie No. 1 is that "big oil" has been "rigging Congress."  Ethanol intends to deceive the public into thinking that legal campaign contributions to congressmen are somehow improper or unethical.

Lie No. 2 is that "big oil" has a near-total monopoly on the marketplace so when oil prices go up, you get gouged. This shows Ethanol's ignorance about "big oil," oil prices, the market, and gouging. Ethanol has no idea who "big oil" is. The "Seven Sisters" were destroyed by Carter. XTO, Devon, Chesapeake, Anadarko, EOG, Enervest, Pioneer, Lewis, BHP, and Burlington are the top 10 oil producers in Texas. These names are not familiar to the public. Ethanol does not know that U.S. oil prices are cheaper than foreign oil prices. So, if foreign countries are "gouging" by an excessive oil price, then, since Obama was elected president, foreign countries have "gouged" Americans out of $64.7 billion at the pump.

Lie No. 3 is that, for over 100 years, oil companies have held onto sweetheart tax breaks, supercharging "big oil's" profits with hard-earned wages from American families. This lie is especially defamatory and egregious. Oil is the only depleting resource industry that has lost its depletion allowance. The aforementioned Domestic Crude Oil Windfall Profits Tax caused half a million Americans to lose their jobs and wages, and caused hundreds of oil companies to go bankrupt. Those are "sweetheart tax breaks" to Ethanol?

Lie No. 4 is that oil companies made $100 billion in profits last year but have refused to pay for infrastructure to sell more renewable fuels in spite of a law requiring them to do so. Benjamin Franklin said, "Half a truth is often a great lie." This is that great lie. This half truth intended to deceive the public would require a for-profit company to throw away money on capital investments which could never be used. Ethanol production peaked in 2011 and has been less since. Ethanol production can never be more than 6% of oil demand. The EPA's Renewable Fuel Standard for 2013 was 16.55 billion gallons of ethanol; yet, ethanol production in 2013 was only 13.3 billion gallons, a 3.25 billion gallon shortfall. Only the stupid would spend money relying upon a shortfall to vanish.

Lie No. 5 is that oil companies like to quote a study that said ethanol damages engine valves, suggesting that the study was false. The AAA has warned that increasing the percentage of ethanol blended in gasoline could damage engines. Is Ethanol calling the AAA a bunch of liars?  If so, why did Lexus recalled 214,500 vehicles in 2009 due to ethanol having a potential to corrode fuel delivery pipes?

Lie No. 6 is that "big oil" has spent millions on slick advertisements attacking clean ethanol. "Big oil" is the villain again.  Somehow, I have not seen any of those alleged advertisements.  Do they even exist?  Clean ethanol?  Ethanol is not clean.  Ethanol is dirty. Ethanol emits more carbon dioxide into the air than using gasoline. A gallon of gasoline contains 124,238 British Thermal Units (BTUs) of energy and 19.64 pounds of carbon dioxide. A gallon of ethanol contains 77,000 BTUs and 12.57 pounds of carbon dioxide. Thus, for every 10,000 BTUs of energy used, gasoline emits 1.58 pounds of carbon dioxide, and ethanol emits 1.63 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Lie No. 7 is accusing the American Petroleum Institute (API) of getting money from unknown non-American sources to attack ethanol. That smear is so pathetically false it is almost laughable. The API doesn't even defend the American oil industry, much less attack its attackers. Yet, it gets its money from American oil and natural gas companies.