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OpenMarket: Brian McGraw

  • Declining Access to Non-Ethanol Fuel

    January 6, 2011
    Via EENews ($ubscription required), and a letter (PDF) from Senator Inhofe and Senator Snow to the EPA on the declining availability of pure gasoline.

    Despite the alleged ability of higher blends of ethanol to perform without problems in newer automobiles, there seems to be sufficient evidence that it doesn't work well in non-automobile engines: snowmobiles, chainsaws, boats, lawnmowers, etc. With the government sponsored push for more ethanol all the time everywhere, pure gasoline (E0) is becoming increasingly scarce as demand for it shrinks because of ethanol mandates and the Clean Air Act.

    A spokesman for Growth Energy, Chris Thorne, justifies the unavailability:
    On the broader policy question, Thorne said the fueling needs of little-...
  • Update on D.C. Metro Bag Inspections

    January 4, 2011
    Last night, a crowded audience gathered at the WMATA headquarters to discuss the recent decision to begin randomly screening passengers bags for potential explosives. It is yet another example of how the regulatory state reacts when citizens find its actions untenable: the citizens are ignored.

    According to Greater Greater Washington, of approximately 30 speakers given time, only one supported the initiative -- while the rest strongly opposed it.
    Representatives of Metro Transit Police (MTPD), though, weren't fazed by the opposition. Deputy Chief Ron Pavlik gave a very brief presentation of the program without addressing concerns around effectiveness or the fear of an ever-encroaching police state.

    In fact, when asked if MTPD would ever voluntarily discontinue...
  • Paris Contemplates SUV Ban

    December 30, 2010
    Paris is looking to potentially ban "gas-guzzling" vehicles from city limits. The proposal, still in its infancy, lacks important details but nonetheless appears to be a senseless attack on politically unpopular vehicles that will have an insignificant effect on congestion or the environment. France is known for having high fuel taxes, but an outright ban seems to be unprecedented. This link estimates SUV ownership in France at about 4.5 percent, much lower than the 40 percent (including light trucks) in the  United States.

    A quote from a...
  • Ethanol and NASCAR

    December 23, 2010
    The ethanol industry earlier this year teamed up with NASCAR in order to better promote expensive, highly subsidized, not so environmentally friendly homegrown, "renewable" ethanol, including the usage of E15 by NASCAR competitors. What could be more American than combining America's love for driving cars really, really fast with the idealistic notion of the heroic family farmers growing our own fuel here in America? (Nothing)

    The framing of ethanol in the announcement is generous: "NASCAR Gives Ethanol Green Flag." Given the announcements you might expect that the industry is actually running on ethanol entirely, rather than a blend of 85 percent...
  • Compare and Contrast Biofuel Predictions

    December 22, 2010
    From the Ethanol Producer Magazine:
    For years, cellulosic ethanol has been five years away from commercial viability. With several companies making significant progress in 2010 towards groundbreaking and five expected to be in production, will 2011 be the year that cellulosic ethanol finally makes its commercial debut?


    The U.S. EPA, which still projects volumes well below the initial targets, on Nov. 29, announced the final volume requirements for the 2011 renewable fuel standard, with the cellulosic biofuel volume set at only 6.6 million gallons. The EPA named DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol LLC, Fiberight LLC, KL Energy Corp., Range Fuels Inc. and KiOR, a cellulosic diesel fuel producer, as the companies it expects to produce cellulosic biofuels in 2011.
  • Update on D.C. Metro Bag Checks

    December 20, 2010
    Though WMATA has supposedly launched the new bag searches, little has been reported on the experiences of D.C. metro riders. A small online petition was put up to collect signatures from those opposed to bag checks being implemented for Metrorail and Metrobus riders. Online petitions are not known for their effectiveness, but you may consider signing it if these new searches are troublesome.

    Here is a video created by WMATA documenting how quick and painless the scans will be. I can only imagine that it will not always be that nice and easy. Given the frequency of delays on the Metro, potentially missing a train that has actually made it to the platform during rush hour will not painless. ...
  • Pennsylvania State Lottery Commission Opposes Internet Gambling

    December 17, 2010
    When a government agency is threatened, it will inevitably lash out in efforts to keep the government jobs safe and the tax money flowing. This has played out numerous times in the ongoing efforts to liberalize the alcohol industry in the United States.

    Now, the Pennsylvania State Lottery Commission released a statement encouraging lawmakers to oppose Senator Reid's efforts to re-shape the laws of internet gambling in the United States.

    From their statement:
    Additionally, the Lottery provided more than...
  • Security Theater, D.C. Metro Edition

    December 16, 2010
    Everyone wants our transportation systems to be safe. But safety must also be balanced with respecting the privacy of citizens, and not wasting money on things that do not make us safer. Sometimes, our safety overlords do things that utilize scarce resources (including taxpayer dollars!) that seem mind-bogglingly dumb.

    See WMATA's recent decision to begin randomly screening bags in D.C. Metro stations.
    The inspections are expected to take only minutes and are designed to be non-intrusive, as police will randomly select bags or packages to check for hazardous materials using ionization technology as well as K-9 units trained to detect explosive materials. Carry on items will generally not be opened and physically inspected unless the equipment indicates a need for further...
  • There are No Victors in Trade Wars

    December 13, 2010
    Today the World Trade Organization issued a decision confirming that the United States did not break any of its obligations with China over the tariffs imposed on Chinese tire imports earlier last year.

    Ambassador Ron Kirk of the United States Mercantilist Trade Representative, commented:
    This is a major victory for the United States and particularly for American workers and businesses. We have said all along that our imposition of duties on Chinese tires was fully consistent with our WTO obligations.

    This might be a victory in that it is one of the few times that the United...
  • The Extension of Ethanol Subsidies

    December 10, 2010
    Despite opposition from academics, environmental organizations, libertarian organizations, editorial boards across the country, and dozens (PDF) of other groups, the...


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