Randy Wants Some Sugar In His Bowl

Ladkiddo at Rochesterturning has been having some fun with Randy Kuhl's junket to Brazil.  Kuhl is in Brazil right now, as part of a bi-partisan trip to understand Brazil's successful ethanol industry.  At his Allentown town meeting, Kuhl said that he was making the trip to be "fully informed".

Here's a little information:  Brazil uses sugarcane to make ethanol, which yields 8 gallons of ethanol for every gallon of fuel consumed to make it.  Corn-based ethanol yields 1.3 gallons of ethanol for every gallon of fuel.   Brazil produces [pdf] 300 million metric tons of sugar per year.  The US produces [pdf] less that 24 million, and we grow it only in Florida, Hawaii and Louisiana and Texas. 

By the way, all but one of the links in the last paragraph are from US Government reports.  The last one is from a 78-page report by the US Department of Agriculture titled "The Economic Feasibilty of Ethanol Production from Sugar in the United States."  Randy sits on the Agriculture committee.  He could have just asked for the report instead of taking a six-day trip to Brazil.  If he did, he'd have learned that our entire entire production of sugar cane would make 468 million gallons of ethanol.  Brazil produced 4.2 billion gallons last year.  Our own corn-based ethanol program made about 4 billion gallons, too.  Sugarcane is literally a drop in the bucket, and it's not worth a six-day trip, or even a three-hour tour, to figure that out.

Update:  Eric Massa referred to this scathing Washington Post description of Kuhl's junket in today's press conference.  It is a damning piece, indeed.


If Massa wins in 2008, I suspect that he will be participating in similar junkets. It would probably make me sick to read about all the places (and all the reasons for the trips) our elected officials go to.

I vaguely recall some Tom Friedman piece a year or two ago about how Brazilian sugar cane ethanol is 8 times as efficient as our own corn ethanol (in terms of the ratio of output energy versus input energy required to produce the stuff). I will try to find it. Most of what Friedman writes is gibberish, but I actually remember this being an interesting piece. I'll try to find it.

Elmer: I'll get into more detail on this when I post my press conference story, but Massa pledged not to take junkets, in great detail.

Exile: Massa also addressed this in the press conf. The 8x number I quoted in the piece was from ABC news, but I'd be interested. Friedman is usually pretty good on factual stuff like that.

I was confused -- your numbers are correct.

I think "Pour a little sugar on me, honey" would have been a better title for this post.

So, I see you're not a fan of the inimitable Nina Simone. More's the pity.

Au contraire, big Nina Simone fan. I have a hard time believing Ms. Simone would want her music associated with wasteful junkets to South America. (I could be wrong, maybe "Mississippi Goddamn" will appear in an ad for Sandals resorts, with the blessing of her estate.)