Thursday, October 10, 2013

The $772.30 Stubby Screwdriver

The USDA gave away a sweet 16.2 cents a pound of beet sugar in their recent deal with Pacific Ethanol for the manufacture of bioethanol for blending into gasoline.  The USDA bought the 170 million pounds of crystalline sugar for 20.3 cents a pound and then sold 98.5% of the sugar they bought for 4.1 cents a pound.

I did some heavy duty heat and mass balances of making fuel grade ethanol out of crystalline sugar from beets.  The data on a well to wheels basis show that 7.82 pounds of CO2 emissions will be saved for each gallon equivalent of fossil gasoline not used.  The subsidy at 16.2 cents per pound of sugar equals a subsidy $3.02 per gallon of fossil gasoline equivalent.  Dividing the $3.02 per gallon by the 7.82 pounds of CO2 saved per gallon and multiplying by 2,000 pounds in a short ton we have a cost (carbon tax) to the tax payers of $772.30 per short ton.

This is a massive tax when the true value of CO2 is only $6 per short ton.  Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack gets the Stubby Screwdriver Award for this rip-off.  Dr. Moniz the Secretary of Energy got a long handled screwdriver as his award for his gift to Verizon for the Via truck as that carbon tax on us was $2,857 per ton.  Mr. Vilsack is only 27% as gangrene as Dr. Moniz ($772.30 divided by $2,858).   Their boss is sum of all of his cabinet and these Secretaries are making him look pretty awful with gangrene all over his entire administration.