The Physics
An encyclopedia of scientific essays

Price of Ethanol (Grain Alcohol)

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Iowa Petroleum Commission. Who Would Pay For Corn Alcohol? 1935: 23. "Ethyl alcohol 1/10 gallon (at 39.3 cents a gallon) 3.9 Cents" $1.48/liter
English, Burton "Under What Conditions is Ethanol from Corn Stover Economically Viable?" June 1, 2005. Oral Presentation 1A-06. "This research examines how many ethanol plants would be economically feasible in the Midwest when ethanol is priced at $1.15, $1.25, or $1.35 per gallon, and what size plant (1,000 or 2,000 metric tons per day) should be constructed." $0.29–$0.34/liter
(E1020) Ethyl Alcohol, 190 Proof, FCC. Spectrum Chemical Manufacturer. 1 June 2005. E1020
Unit SizeSku NumberCatalog
100 MLE1020-49$14.80$14.80
500 ML PVCE1020-51005$43.15$43.15
6 x 500 ML PVCE1020-0R005$202.40$202.40
1 LT PVCE1020-52005$68.30$68.30
6 x 1 LT PVCE1020-AI005$331.55$331.55
4 LT PLSE1020-55003$187.35$187.35
4 LT PVCE1020-55005$193.55$193.55
4 x 4 LT PLSE1020-97003$670.75$670.75
4 x 4 LT PVCE1020-97005$695.85$695.85
20 LTE1020-56$804.20$804.20
200 LT BLKE1020-AH008$3,803.10$3,803.10
Society of Automotive Historians. Henry Ford, Charles Kettering, and the Fuel of the Future. "History of Light 4." May 30, 2005. "In the 1850s, camphene (at $0.50 per gallon) was cheaper than whale oil ($1.30 to $2.50 per gallon) and lard oil (90 cents per gallon). It was about the same price as coal oil, which was the product first marketed as "kerosene"23 (literally 'sun fuel')" $1.89/liter
Ohio Corn Growers Association. Ethanol/Gasoline Prices Talking Points. April 12, 2005. "Ethanol prices have tumbled from a 2005 high of nearly $1.75 per gallon (rack) in January to $1.23 in early April. Ethanol splash/rack prices were as low as $1.14-$1.19 per gallon in high-volume markets like Des Moines, Iowa City, Sioux City and Omaha last week (week of April 4-8)." $0.44–$0.31/liter

Ethyl alcohol, also known as ethanol, or grain alcohol, is a flammable, colorless chemical compound found in alcoholic beverages. It is the active ingredient of alcoholic beverages. Its isolation as a relatively pure compound was probably first achieved by Persian alchemists, such as Geber (721-815) and Al-Razi (864-930), who developed the art of distillation. In common parlance, it is often referred to simply as alcohol. Its chemical formula is C2H5OH.

Wholesale ethanol prices fell almost 30% between the first four months of 2005, according to the Oil Price Information Service. Economists associate the decline in price with an oversupply of ethanol, which in turn is caused by rather low domestic consumption and increased ethanol production. Ethanol prices have tumbled from a 2005 high of nearly $0.44 per liter (rack) in January to $0.31 in early April. The lowest prices of ethanol were recorded at $0.28–$0.29 per liter in high-volume markets like Des Moines, Iowa City, Sioux City, and Omaha during the week of April 4-8. An average gallon of vodka costs anywhere between 40 and 100 dollars. Thus a profit from any given bottle of vodka, considering that no extra costs are required, is almost as much as the vodka itself costs to the consumer.

Ethanol is used as a fuel, often mixed with gasoline, and in a wide variety of industrial processes. Ethanol is also used in antifreeze for its low melting point. In the 1950s some concept cars, such as the Cadillac Cyclone, were made to run both on ethanol and gasoline. Comparing the average gas prices of over $2 to the price of ethanol at $1.23, one might look back at the 1950s with envy. The oil crisis in the 1970s may have made much less of an impact on society if car manufacturers had taken advantage of running the automobiles on ethanol.

Natalie Gertsik -- 2005