In Defense of Trash

This week, in a rare show of bipartisanship, the U.S. Senate voted 62-37 to back military aviation biofuels. This means the "Green Hornet" will continue to fly despite objections from fossil fuel supporters. The Department of Defense consumes 4.6 billion gallons of fuel per year making it the largest single consumer of energy in America. With operations stretched all over the globe, the Air Force and Navy consume about 85% of that total combined. Therefore the DoD has a strategic interest in fuel diversity and security, especially in times of crisis. The United States generates about 250 million tons of Municipal Solid Waste each year of which about a third is recovered through recycling programs, etc. Another 13% is combusted for energy recovery, leaving about 135 million tons going to landfills each year. There is sufficient organic material in that MSW to generate well over 5 billion gallons of biobutanol (jet fuel) - more than required to meet the military&#

Big Oil's Stolen 35 Minutes

By Ronald H. Miller A recent article entitled "Clean Green Scam" highlighted the case of Rodney Hailey whose company sold  approximately $9 million worth of fraudulent biodiesel credits to the oil industry. Petroleum companies  need those credits to show compliance with the national Renewable Fuels Standard. Mr. Hailey was  convicted of 42 counts of fraud, money laundering and other charges and will likely spend several years  as a guest of the federal government. Justice was served, right? Not so, stated the article. What about  the innocent victims, in other words "Big Oil"? The focus of the article was on "Washington's torrid 40-year love affair with the ethanol lobby". The "victims" not only paid $9 million for bad biodiesel (not ethanol) credits but also were fined by the EPA for not conducting proper due diligence to make sure the credits were legit. This cost Big Oil another $40 million. In fact the article went on to say, &quo


by Ronald H. Miller Desperate times call for desperate action.  That is the situation facing Big Oil at the moment.  After spending billions and billions of dollars to extract increasingly expensive oil out of the ground, USEPA is about to hand another 5% market share to its cheaper competitor, ethanol.  Time to spend as much money as it takes to destroy the competition. The Coordinating Research Council (CRC), an oil industry front, recently issued a scathing study noting that 15% ethanol blends (E-15) are far more damaging and constitute a safety problem as compared to E-10, or good old E-0 which hasn't been seen in years.  Never mind that NASCAR runs on E-15 and Indy Race Cars run on E-100.  Never mind that Brazil has been running successfully on E-25 for over 3 decades.  Never mind that USDOE, with significantly more test data on E-15, quickly debunked the CRC study noting their flawed science.  It's an embarrassment for an industry that historically has relied on sol

Gas Price Relief -- Now

Ronald H. Miller, 2012 Prisma Advisors, LLC., With gasoline prices soaring to $4 and $5 per gallon, it is good to know that relief is available now, but only if the President will act.  His "all of the above" strategy has merit.  New oil and gas production is not the answer, but it is part of the solution.  The Keystone Pipeline is not the answer, but it is part of the solution.  Wind and solar the same.  And biofuels - to date ethanol has made the only significant renewable contribution to energy security and a better economy.  We now enjoy nearly a million barrels a day of clean, renewable ethanol production at the expense of those who hate America..  What's more, the U.S. Navy is not required to escort this sustainable energy source to our gasoline stations. Today ethanol costs $0.90 per gallon less than gasoline and it's not taxpayer subsidized like oil and gas.  That means an E10 blend is $0.09 per gallon cheaper than s

The Rest of the Story....

The Rest of the Story.... by Ronald H. Miller As a young boy growing up in mid-century Kansas I remember Paul Harvey on the radio with "The Rest of the Story...". When it comes to renewable ethanol and the "food vs. fuel" debate it is time for "the rest of the story". USA Today, no fan of ethanol, noted in its March 18 article, "Hunger, despair for millions" that "The farm value of food - what goes to the farmer - is about 19% of the cost in the U.S., according to the U.S Department of Agriculture. The rest goes to labor, packaging, transportation, energy and corporate profits." USA Today goes on to take a swipe at corn demand for ethanol causing higher farm prices but clearly by their own admission 81% of the cost of food comes from beyond the farm. Given the great recession, labor costs have barely nudged but packaging and transportation costs are functions of energy costs. The average cost of crude oil in 2009 was $53.48 pe


by Ronald H. Miller Twenty-five percent of our gasoline from renewable sources by 2022. Eighty percent of our electricity from renewable sources by 2036. Is this a trip to Fantasy Island or a challenge worthy of America's innovative prowess? Your answer probably depends whether you support "old" energy or "new" energy. In 2007, Congress and President Bush codified the Renewable Fuels Standard requiring 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels in our motor fuels by 2022. Now President Obama has laid down a gauntlet reminiscent of the 1960's moon race by calling for a near universal use of renewable power within twenty-five years. Whether America will achieve a clean, sustainable and independent energy future will depend on whether we as a nation can coalesce around this achievable goal. We have the innovative prowess but do we have the necessary commitment? That remains to be seen. Already some "old" energy pundits are suggesting we go sl


by Ronald H. Miller The other day I was talking to a friend when I mentioned the Oil Embargoes of the 1970's. She was 7 years old in 1973 and has little remembrance of the long gas lines or the "odd" and "even" license plate days just to qualify getting into those long lines. It dawned on me that the post-Boomer generations have no real idea as to the trauma that is inflicted when our oil supply is shut off. As we watch the current events unfold in the Middle East, we must wonder whether possible regime change will take us back to those tumultuous days of four decades ago. Could it even be worse? From a dependency standpoint things are worse. In the 1970's we imported about 30% of our oil, today it is around 60%. Things would be even worse if it were not for 10% of the gasoline barrel now being provided by domestic biofuels. That's about one million barrels a day of secure domestic production not subject to regime change. It is also $100 mill