Blue agave

MEXICO CITY, May 29 (Reuters) – Mexican farmers are setting ablaze fields of blue agave, the cactus-like plant used to make the fiery spirit tequila, and resowing the land with corn as soaring U.S. ethanol demand pushes up prices.

The switch to corn will contribute to an expected scarcity of agave in coming years, with officials predicting that farmers will plant between 25 percent and 35 percent less agave this year to turn the land over to corn.

Despite rapid growth in tequila drinking, especially overseas, the over-supply of agave has driven prices for the plant to rock-bottom levels.

    Uh-Oh, the price of tequila is gonna go sky high.

    Found by Bubba Martin

  1. GregA says:

    Um, has using sugar cane products to make fuel affected the price of rum at all? ok.

    Why no place to comment on Ms Table today?

  2. Jägermeister says:

    Going from gasoline to ethanol is like going from Microsoft Windows to Apple OS X… same shit, different dealer. Go electric. Oh, no… that means we won’t have trucks driving this liquid fuel across the continent to fill up fuel stations, and we wouldn’t even have these fuel stations, and car repair guys have less reasons to fish money out of your pocket. And poor farmers… can’t become the new energy barons. No, we can’t allow that to happen, can we…

  3. BubbaRay says:

    Why hasn’t this new portable hydrogen generator made the headlines? A simple catalyst, aluminum and here we go. The method makes it unnecessary to store or transport hydrogen – two major challenges in creating a hydrogen economy.

    Food prices rise as a result of crops switched to methanol production. Oh boy, corn, now we can make whiskey!!

  4. OmarThe Alien says:

    I wouldn’t have a problem with the demise of tequila, last time I drank it I fell off the bar stool in Naha. I think the whole biofuel thing is being hyped at incendiary levels, and for no other reason than it’s a damned bandwagon and everybody wants to ride.
    I feel electric, powered by hydrogen, is the ultimate answer. And yeah, anti-grav would be cool, too, while we’re at it.

  5. hhopper says:

    I guess I’d better enjoy my tequila now.

  6. faustus says:

    the problem with the ethanol plan is it was always just going to be another farm subsidy program… they cant produce enough to matter and they know that… but now they are effect the booze market??? where does it end??? and where are the supercapacitors that are suppose to hit the market??? those along with natural gas, wind, and solar should carry us through… without them…. well… it could get ugly

  7. ECA says:

    ITs funny, that the Cheapest, Easiest material to GROW to make alcohol, is MJ… You could get 6 crops a year from it. and PLANT it 1 time.

  8. mark says:

    5. Thanks hop.

  9. venom monger says:

    Tequila has been expensive for several years now. Most of the consumer-grade stuff only has a portion of agave based alcohol in it anyway.

  10. Angus says:

    [Double post. – ed.]

  11. Angus says:

    NOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not Tequila!!!!

    Seriously, to get our country converted to E85, like Brazil has done, would require most of our farmland to be converted over to corn or switchgrass for Ethanol, to the exclusion of other less important things, LIKE FOOD! It’s not a reasonable alternative, it’s just another bandaid, like Hybrids.

    Even so, I’ll be looking at flexfuel vehicles for my next car purchase. The 2.39 E85 price I saw at the pumps the other day makes it tempting.

  12. bobbo says:

    Corn based gas as already said is just another agra-business subsidy==and I read once, and not again, there was even an “offset payment” to ———–the oil companies———for every gallon of ethanol made so that they would not be adversely impacted. ((If true, I’d love to find authority for that!))

    Anyway, reported several times that it takes about a gallon of gas to move a gallon of ethanol into the market—ie, no net energy gain for GOUSA, increased corporate welfare, fraudulent tax special interest legislation, and a net increase in pollution. Good deal all around?

  13. gquaglia says:

    The appeal of Ethanol is not that it pollutes less, but that we don’t have to deal with the like of Chavez or the Middle East for our energy needs.

  14. ECA says:

    Who knows about the $1.50 per gallon tax on Palm based alcohol Imported from S. American…

  15. MikeN says:

    We need to cut down all our forests to plant ethanol in order to comabt global warming.

  16. venom monger says:

    Even so, I’ll be looking at flexfuel vehicles for my next car purchase. The 2.39 E85 price I saw at the pumps the other day makes it tempting.

    I wish they sold it around here. My wife’s truck (Nissan Titan) will run on it. Keep in mind, it’s not a money-saver, though. There’s a LOT less energy in alcohol than in gasoline, so if you’ve been getting 20MPG on gas, expect about 12 on ethanol.

  17. ECA says:

    Almost right…
    Flexfuel cars Loose efficentcy, but PURE alcohol based cars and trucks GAIN and Equal regular cars…
    I should add that a little Alcohol in Diesal, adds abit more milage..

  18. TheGlobalWarmer says:

    #9 – Based on taste, I’ve always considered consumer grade Tequila suitable for use a fuel already. 😉

  19. tallwookie says:

    The mexicans are gonna get pwned even more when the price of corn skyrockets because of american ethanol interests, and then they wont even have tequila to drink away their sorrows…

    oh well, theres always cerveza…

  20. Angel H. Wong says:


    You can thank that to your farmers subsidized to not grow corn.

  21. OmegaMan says:

    Good luck going from a desert based low water plant to a high water needs plant…especially with that darned climate change coming….

  22. joshua says:

    #5…hhopper….lol….boy does that look familiar. Everytime we go down to the house in Mexico, my older brothers and I do just what your little smily is doing…..then crawl home up the beach.

    #21….your right. Corn is a hig maintaince crop…even feed corn requires a lot more water than agave.

  23. TJGeezer says:

    #3 – BubbaRay – That PhysOrg link is fascinating – thanks. I wonder if the relative silence about that, even with the Bushies pushing for hydrogen as a replacement fuel, has to do with the inherently decentralized nature of the technology (no centralized big bucks for our corporate overlords).

    I note it requires gallium, which can be cmplicated to handle. Still… it promises to enable internal combustion engines that run on water. Like you, I’d think people would be more excited about it.

  24. jbellies says:

    #19 – based upon the USA reserve for biofuel, the price of corn already did shoot up in Mexico, around 6 months ago, and caused widespread protests and unrest. That happened in Mexico, though, so you wouldn’t have heard about it.

    Regarding agave, there was a natural disaster in Mexico about 6 years ago. A frost? Which killed a lot of the agave plants. The price of Tequila has been sky high for 5+ years. It might have been beginning to fall now, were it not for this, ah, market adjustment. The price of agave shot up, so Mexican farmers planted it like crazy (at the same time they were taking cornfields out of production because the international price of US corn was so low). The rest you already know from the article.

    Corporate profits are high, people are starving. Cocoa, maize, … it’s an old story. And you don’t see the World Bank suggesting commodity price stability, just the opposite, even though it would cut out a lot of hardship for ordinary people around the world. Corporate profits are highest when the commodity price is based on supply and demand, not upon an intrinsic value of the commodity (an intrinsic value of corn maize for example would be that people can eat it).

    I wonder if they are really burning their fields, or harvesting (the manufacture of tequila does involve toasting the agave flesh) the plants. But if the agave price really is rock bottom, then I fear the former.

  25. BubbaRay says:

    #23, TJGeezer, package the gizmo up (gallium included), and in a short time you’re feeding beer cans and water into the “gas tank”, sort of like the Mr. Fusion in “Back to the Future.” Well, it’s not yet quite that simple, but who knows? It could be.

    “This reaction splits the oxygen and hydrogen contained in water, releasing hydrogen in the process. ”

    I’m honked that there isn’t a lot of investment money going into this tech right now.

  26. SteveO says:

    The worst thing about the ethanol scam isn’t that it’s a redistribution of wealth to farmers and ADM. When we wake up from our ethanol hangover in five or 10 years and realize it has made no difference in our dependence on foreign oil, we will have squandered that much more time to find a REAL solution.

  27. bmulligan says:

    This makes no sense at all to me. The Blue Agave sugar could be used to make the same ethanol that is made from corn. In fact, it’s sugar is more readily available than corn. And since Ethanol at the pump is still $3 a gallon and my tequila costs $40-50/gal, you’d think the Agave is still more profitable. I call shenanegans on this story.

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