07

Aug

2008

E.P.A. Will Require Ethanol in Gas

 

The Environmental Protection Agency will continue to require that ethanol be used in gas, as the NY Times reports:

“…the goal of reducing the nation’s reliance on oil trumps any effect on food prices from making fuel from corn.”

Look, I’m not a fan of higher food and grain prices. I love beer, and boy oh boy, it’s getting pricier every month from this squeeze, as are my home brewing supplies.

Food prices aside, this seems to be a purely economic, and not terribly environmental decision. Are weproducing ethanol efficiently enough yet? Corn farming is devastating to the environment, and

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processing it is very energy-intensive. I’m not certain that we are creating enough fuel to justify the energy input. On top of that, it’s cost-effective because we subsidize it!

This is frustrating.

Here’s a graph from Mother Jones detailing the price relationships. According to this source, it’s a 1:1.3 relationship of energy input:output. Not too great.On the other hand, the folks wishing to lift the ban run cattle feedlots that fatten beef on corn (something they’re not supposed to eat). Which side am I supposed to take? Am I making any faulty assumptions?

Anyone with more expertise in this matter, sound off!

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