Skip to main content

The Corn Craze!

  • Author:
  • Updated:

It’s “Ethanol Schizophrenia”. . . that’s what I call the current mad rush to corn-based fuel. The way politicians have wrapped their arms around it you’d think it was the one great solution to the nation’s energy problems. But logic says otherwise.
The large ethanol subsidies (51-cent-per-gallon federal) doled out by Congress are a boom for the farmers. The price per bushel of corn is giving marijuana a run for the “top cash crop” title! Last year, nearly 5 billion gallons of ethanol were produced. It’s supposed to quickly increase to 12 billion gallons due to the current building boom in ethanol plants. There will soon be 200 of them. This triggers marine industry fears that the gas/ethanol ratio could be pushed up to 80/20 or higher from the current 90/10 ration and that would create major problems for us.

However, a look at some basic facts indicates it’s more likely that we will not see an increase above the current 90/10 ratio. A battle is shaping up over the amount of ethanol in this country and it will revolve around corn. Here are a couple of examples:

As the need for corn for ethanol rises, so will the price of corn. As such, there will be less available for feed and food needs and the prices will rise more. Will consumers quietly pay more and more at the dinner table? Not likely.

In addition, President Bush has called for increasing ethanol to 35 billion gallons annually over the next 10 years. But to do that, some estimates say we’d have to use virtually all the corn grown in the nation. No more feed or food at all? Again, not likely. Now, add in the fact that ethanol, feed and food aren’t the only demands for corn. There’s competition. How about plastics? For example, today literally billions of petroleum-based plastic water bottles are pouring into our landfills. They’ll never degrade.

Relief, however, is in sight. Cargill has developed a bio-degradable polymer. The packaging industry has jumped on it. Only one problem – it’s a corn-based plastic! More competition for the corn!

The bottom line of these, and more, demands for corn is that we will not likely have enough corn to see ethanol rise to a higher ratio than the current 90/10. If America is going to lower its dependency on foreign oil, we’re going to have to look to more than corn and the marine industry can breath a little easier about the subject.

That’s how I see it, how about you?



Industry Pushes Back Against Speed Restrictions

A NOAA Fisheries proposal would restrict boats 35 feet and larger to a 10-knot speed limit along the East Coast to protect right whales from vessel strikes.


Magonis Opens Connecticut Office

The Spain-based, electric-boat builder offers an 18-footer that’s available with motors from Torqeedo and Mag Power.


Bill Seeks to Increase Youth Fishing

The bipartisan Coastal Fishing Program Act of 2022 would ease barriers to accessing the outdoors in underserved communities.


Fall Is in Full Swing

With the autumnal equinox ushering in a new season today, the fall boat-show circuit is in high gear. Here are some recent reports and a look at what’s to come.


Manufacturer Confidence Drops

Still, U.S. builders remain largely optimistic despite ongoing constraints with the supply chain and workforce, as well as yesterday’s interest rate hike.


Defender Adds TEMO Electric Boat Motor

Defender Industries is the official U.S. dealer for the French company’s lightweight, portable electric motors.


Twin Disc Sells Belgium Facility

The transmission manufacturer is still using the facility in a leaseback transaction as it looks to reduce costs.