Ethanol - The Stench of Corruption!
The government wants to make petrol that is 10% ethanol available for all Australians to use in their cars. Oh good. I’m sure this idea will work very well. You see Australian ethanol producers have a magic pixie dust they can spread on sugar cane and sorghum to make economical what has been a giant money loser in Brazil and the United States. The pixie dust is a special blend consisting of 60% winning votes in marginal seats, 40% corruption and 17% mathematical incompetence.
You see ethanol is good because it’s environmentally friendly. Sort of. Well, it uses solar energy stored by plants and there is nothing more environmentally friendly than solar energy, right? Of course, agricultural machinery used to grow and harvest the plants does use fossil fuels, as do chemical fertilizers. Transportation of crops to ethanol plants requires fossil fuels and the energy used at ethanol plants to create the ethanol also requires fossil fuels. Of course, all this fossil fuel use is only temporary. In the future we will be able to make the entire process powered by ethanol itself. Of course this would require approximately all the ethanol the process produces, so there wouldn't be any left over to actually add to fuel, but just think of all the jobs that will be created. Of course it wouldn't be fair to actually pay anyone in the ethanol business any money as they're not actually producing anything, but at least they would be kept busy. Besides, sniffing ethanol fumes before they're denatured is its own reward.
One columnist says that government subsidies to ethanol production are about $118,000,000 a year. I have no idea if that figure is correct, but it is obviously much better to spend taxpayer’s money on something that is economically inefficient rather than doing something like reducing the tax on fuel-efficent cars. Spending the money on subsidies for hybrids and other fuel efficient cars instead would drastically reduce the amount of oil consumed by Australians over the course of the decade and have a major impact on the amount of carbon dioxide released. But spending the money on ethanol is a much better idea. I mean, have you ever tried getting high by sniffing the exhaust of an electric car? It's damned near impossible. But ethanol exhaust is easy on the lungs and hard on the brain.
Then there is the fact that ethanol only has 68% of the power of petrol per litre which means that 10% ethanol fuel would have 3.2% less power than normal petrol and only an idiot would buy it unless it was at least 3.2% cheaper than ordinary petrol. But this isn't a problem. It can be easily fixed with more subsidies!
Now some people say that if ethanol is a practical energy source then it only needs a tax break equal to it's environmental benefit and then this thing called the free market will take over and provide ethanol. But I went to the Sunday market, which wasn't free but was pretty cheap and there was no ethanol there. So I think the free market is for losers and poor people.
Soon I shall open a plant that will render lepricorns into biodisel fuel. It shall be going into operation as soon as the government drops off my wheelbarrow full of subsidies.