Chronicles of Less Urban Living, Fresh from In the Night Farm

Gas Prices

I am not Catholic.  I am pissed off.  I am giving up Monsanto for Lent.

This is Day 3.

Okay, here we go.  Another tough one.  My little Hyundai’s tank is nearly empty, and I need to fill it without Monsanto’s help…or rather, without helping Monsanto.

The obvious problem is that most gasoline contains about 10% ethanol.  Ethanol is made from corn.  86% of corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified.

If I buy ethanol, I buy Monsanto. 

This is special:  Just last month, the USDA deregulated Syngenta’s Enogen, a corn seed genetically modified to make ethanol production easier by inducing the crop to produce an enzyme that hastens the chemical conversion of starch into sugar.

Syngenta, incidentally, is Monsanto’s rival.  Lawsuits fly between the two like arrows.  Normally, an enemy of Monsanto would be a friend of mine, but I have to make an exception for Syngenta.

In a twist as alarming as it is bizarre, many of the very same Big Ag trade associations that pump unlabeled GM foods into our grocery stores are screaming bloody murder about the Enogen approval.  It seems they’re alarmed about liability issues when Syngenta’s specialty seeds cross-contaminate the human food supply.

I worry about that, too.  The difference is that I actually care about the human lives at stake.

Perhaps the Enogen blow would feel softer if ethanol was, at least, good for the environment.   Alas, plant-based fuel additives burn more fossil fuel than they save, and monocropping is murder on ecosystems.

All the more reason to avoid ethanol.  But how?

My commute is 35 miles each way.  Walking, cycling, and horseback riding are out of the question.

Homemade biodiesel for my truck crossed my mind.  Briefly.  Until I remembered that it is made from leftover restaurant fryer fat…which is usually GM soybean or other vegetable oil.


Google to the rescue!  Twenty minutes of searching yielded this site, which lists stations that still sell 100% gas.  I’ll be testing it this afternoon.  It had better be accurate, or I’ll have to fill up on ethanol so I can get home to feed my menagerie.

Which reminds me, I’m running out of chicken feed. 

Oh, dear.


By the way, I found an updated statistic on cotton.  93%.  That’s how much of the U.S. cotton crop is GM.  Worldwide?  49%. 

Is anyone else feeling ill?


Read all posts in the Monsanto Project Series.


3 responses

  1. Michelle

    Wow, 93%???? I am stunned…

    March 11, 2011 at 6:03 am

    • I know. And get this — most corn raised by home gardeners is also GM. Check out a supplier like Baker Creek Heirloom seeds for REAL corn.

      March 11, 2011 at 9:03 am

  2. Pingback: Farm Facade « NightLife

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