The Iowa Payoff?
Secretary Of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is now proposing that the allowed amount of corn or other agriculture product produced ethanol content in gasoline be increased from 10% to as much as 15-20%. Certainly, such a move would be a big boost to the corporate farming community who profit handsomely from diverting so much corn production into ethanol. Vilsack's own state of Iowa would witness a big jump in corporate business as a result of such a move.
Not only is this a questionable use of the Secretary Of Agriculture's official department to boost corporate interests in their own home state, but such a decision comes with many serious questions about the impact of so much ethanol content in gasoline on car and motorcycle engines, possibly causing fuel line, carburetor or other engine problems. For example many motorcycles tend to run poorly on too high of an alcohol content in gasoline as many require premium fuel to begin with, and the dilution of high grade fuel can cause serious performance problems. Because of such concerns, Vilsack proposed allowing 12% ethanol for a trial period before increasing the amount over time.
Both environmentalists and corporate farmers might love ethanol. During the first Bush Administration that started in January 1989, corporate interests pushed for the first required use of ethanol because of their political clout. And such a move by the Obama Administration just seems like more of the same old politics, lobbyist interests and corporate special favors that we've all seen under the Republicans m any times before.
Another problem besides the possible negative performance or mechanical problems with a high ethanol content on motorcycles and automobiles, is that by diverting so much corn production into ethanol will only drive the price of corn up, and likely create a food price cycle of inflation in products that use corn oils or other corn products. And possiby less corn will be available for use in plastic bags that use corn starch content to assist in biodegrading ability as some communities are concerned about banning plastic shopping bags for environment reasons.
Vilsack will likely attempt to defend using more ethanol content using environmental or less gasoline consumption reasoning. However, this is really a controversial grey area decision, and could cost many motorists some unwanted motorcycle or automobile performance and repair problems. The government should really look towards new technology automobiles such as extreme hybrids or even requiring all new vehicles to come standard with high quality synthetic motor oils which will increase both engine life by more than double, cut tailpipe emissions and hydrocarbon blowby, and increase fuel mileage by up to 10% as well as improve horsepower and performance.
Automakers with the exception of the Chevrolet Corvette and a few luxury or high performance brands don't usually include standard synthetic oil because it costs more and it increases engine life and cuts repair work done at their dealer networks. Normal engine oil increases engine wear and tear, and results in much higher repair bills and quicker vehicle replacements creating a bigger market for the automakers. So the automakers have little incentive to use synthetic oil products that may allow some car engines to log over one million miles without replacement, when using standard engine oil will pretty much insure that by 70,000-150,000 most vehicles will suffer significant engine wear or head gasket loss because of the high wear factor and excessive engine heat produced by normal engine oils versus the use of high grade synthetics such as AMSOIL or other top brands which may run up to 40degrees cooler in some engines due to significantly less friction.
Even in older automobiles where the engine begins to visibly smoke due to wear, in most cases the use of a high grade of synthetic oil will immediately stop visible oil smoke burning due to far better combustion chamber sealing as well a huge drop in hydrocarbon blow-by. Some high quality synthetic oils such as AMSOIL will only burn at the extreme temperatures created by a blowtorch, and will not really combust at normal engine operation temperatures, creating far less oil burning and hydrocarbon blow-by than with normal engine oil and it's much lower combustion temperature.
Secretary Of Agriculture Tom Vilsack may be looking to decrease gasoline use or pollution. But he's certainly not looking at the best possible solutions here.