Deal sweeteners – the new yorker

America has one heck of a sweet tooth. British gas electricity cost per kwh uk We consume more sweeteners per capita than any other country, and close to ten million tons of sugar every year. Fuel cost per mile But American sugar producers aren’t satisfied with supplying the most sweet-hungry population in the world. Average cost of gas in u s They’ve relentlessly sought—and received—special favors from the federal government, turning the industry into one of the most cosseted in America today.

How to estimate gas cost The government guarantees producers a fixed price for domestic sugar and sets strict quotas and tariffs for foreign sugar. Car fuel cost calculator Economically speaking, this has many obvious bad results. Gas calculator road trip america It keeps sugar prices in the U.S. Cheap gas prices by state at least twice as high as the world average. How to calculate petrol cost per km south africa It makes it harder for companies that use lots of sugar to do business here—in the past decade, an exodus of candy manufacturers from the U.S. Compare gas boiler maintenance has eliminated thousands of jobs. Cost of a gallon of gas in 2006 And import restrictions make Third World countries poorer than they’d otherwise be. Price of gas in states But protecting sugar also has a surprising consequence: it’s hurting America’s efforts to become more energy-efficient.

In recent years, as politicians have tried to deal with high gas prices, concerns about global warming, and America’s dependence on OPEC, a new savior has been found: ethanol. The cost of gas in 2000 Ethanol has all sorts of virtues. Fuel cost trip calculator by vehicle When it’s blended with gasoline, it reduces greenhouse-gas emissions. Gas station road trip planner Unlike fossil fuels, it doesn’t get depleted over time, since it’s made from biomass. Cost of running a gas boiler And sources of ethanol can be found all over the world, unlike those of oil, which are mostly in unstable or autocratic countries that are unfriendly to the U.S. Gas prices san diego average So Congress has mandated that four billion gallons of ethanol annually be blended with gasoline, and it also subsidizes ethanol production with a fifty-one-cent-per-gallon tax credit. Single burner gas stove with cylinder price in india These policies have stimulated an ethanol boom; the number of ethanol plants is set to rise by nearly fifty per cent in the next few years.

Unfortunately, the ethanol produced in the U.S. Calculate travel fuel costs comes from a less-than-ideal source: corn. Gas prices mesa az Corn ethanol’s “net energy balance”—the amount of energy it yields in proportion to how much energy goes into its production—is significantly lower than that of other alternatives, and modern corn farming isn’t easy on the land. Cost of gas in northern ireland By contrast, ethanol distilled from sugarcane is much cheaper to produce and generates far more energy per unit of input—eight times more, by most estimates—than corn does. Average gas cost per month for one person In the nineteen-seventies, Brazil embarked on a program to substitute sugar ethanol for oil. Fuel cost per km Today, every gallon of gas in Brazil is blended with at least twenty per cent of ethanol, and many cars run on ethanol alone, at half the price of gasoline.

What’s stopping the U.S. Costco gas station hours today from doing the same? In a word, politics. Gas price for my trip The favors granted to the sugar industry keep the price of domestic sugar so high that it’s not cost-effective to use it for ethanol. Fred meyer gas prices medford oregon And the tariffs and quotas for imported sugar mean that no one can afford to import foreign sugar and turn it into ethanol, the way that oil refiners import crude from the Middle East to make gasoline. Current price of gasoline in canada Americans now import eighty per cent less sugar than they did thirty years ago. How much gas will it cost So the prospects for a domestic-sugar ethanol industry are dim at best.

We could, of course, simply import sugar ethanol. Cost of gas calculator But here, too, politics has intervened: Congress has imposed a tariff of fifty-four cents per gallon on sugar-based ethanol in order to protect corn producers from competition. Cost of gas at costco A recent study by Amani Elobeid and Simla Tokgoz, scientists at Iowa State University, projected that if the tariffs were removed prices would fall by fourteen per cent and Americans would use almost three hundred million gallons more of ethanol.

But that isn’t likely to happen anytime soon: the Bush Administration proposed eliminating the ethanol tariff this past spring, but Congress quickly quashed the idea—Barack Obama was among several Midwestern senators who campaigned in support of the tariff—and the sugar quotas appear to be as sacrosanct as ever. Rheem performance platinum 50 gallon gas water heater review Tariffs and quotas are extremely hard to get rid of, once established, because they create a vicious circle of back-scratching—government largesse means that sugar producers get wealthy, giving them lots of cash to toss at members of Congress, who then have an incentive to insure that the largesse continues to flow. Google fuel cost calculator mpg More important, protectionist rules flourish because the benefits are concentrated among a small number of easy-to-identify winners, while the costs are spread out across the entire population. Fuel cost calculator by miles It may be annoying to pay a few more cents for sugar or ethanol, but most of us are unlikely to lobby Congress about it.

Maybe we should, though. Estimate your gas cost for a road trip Our current policy is absurd even by Washington standards: Congress is paying billions in subsidies to get us to use more ethanol, while keeping in place tariffs and quotas that guarantee that we’ll use less. Calculate cost of gas used And while most of the time tariffs just mean higher prices and reduced competition, in the case of ethanol the negative effects are considerably greater, leaving us saddled with an inferior and less energy-efficient technology and as dependent as ever on oil-producing countries. How much does a gallon of gas cost Because of the ethanol tariffs, we’re imposing taxes on fuel from countries that are friendly to the U.S., but no tax at all on fuel from countries that are among our most vehement opponents. Estimate fuel cost uk Congressmen justify the barriers to foreign ethanol with talk of “energy security.” But how is the U.S. Costco gas prices commerce ca more secure when it has to import oil from Venezuela rather than ethanol from Brazil? These tariffs are bad economic policy, bad energy policy, and bad foreign policy. Gas prices san diego Talk about your Domino effect.

James Surowiecki is the author of “The Wisdom of Crowds” and writes about economics, business, and finance for the magazine.

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