The Ethanol Scam: One of America’s Political Boondoggles, via Rolling Stone

 Although this article came out last June in Rolling Stone magazine, it is an excellent discussion of the scam that is corn ethanol. As you know, I’m all for eco-friendliness, but through political manipulation, lobbying (ie: bribery), and as Rolling Stone puts it, boondoggling, corn ethanol has become the country’s fastest growing biofuel, while at the same time being the least efficient and most fossil-fuel intensive to produce. For every 1 gallon of fossil fuel you put in, you only get 1.3 gallons of ethanol out. Add in the chemical pesticides, petroleum-based fertilizers, and the fact that ethanol provides up to 20% less energy than petrol, ethanol efficiency drops into negative numbers. (previous seep post)

If the numbers for corn-based ethanol are so bad, why are we subsidizing this horrific waste of food when there are starving people around the world?  It’s an environmental and social catastrophe.  It seems that for many Americans, filling your SUV is more important than feeding a hungry family.  I know that may sound harsh and unreasonable, but when you lay it all out, that is really the choice that we’re making. 
Who has the political guts to stop allowing corporate interests to dictate national energy policy and start making rational, well-thought out decisions that will provide us with energy security into the next century?  Obama?  Hillary?
Nobody yet. 
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2 Responses to “The Ethanol Scam: One of America’s Political Boondoggles, via Rolling Stone”

  1. The claimed 1.3 units of energy produced for every unit energy used (not gallons) is incorrect. Proponents claim an inferred energy credit for a non-energy coproduct. “Inferred” energy credits would be valid for an economic analysis, but have no place in an energy balance. The actual USDA net energy value is 1.06. The required land area and processing systems would thus have to be multiplied by a factor of 16-17.

  2. Even better! Corn ethanol is even less efficient than most estimates.

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