Monday, March 5, 2007

Biofuel problems

Use of ethanol as fuel has in the US always been pork for Archer-Daniels-Midland. If we were serious about using more alcohol and less gas, we would not have a high tariff on imported ethanol. But there are more problems with this substitution than the porkiness of it and the corrosion of tanks, lines, and engine parts. The sheer amount of energy required to produce the fuel is a problem, then there's the amount of land needed. And the ethics of using arable land for fuel, rather than food, production. GR points to this from the (UK) Independent:

The American economist Lester R Brown, from the Earth Policy Institute, is leading the warning voices: "The competition for grain between the world's 800 million motorists who want to maintain their mobility and its two billion poorest people who are simply trying to stay alive is emerging as an epic issue."
Oil can be found in the desert, the ocean, the icy wastes. Crops need farmland.

Update: John Stossel on ethanol.

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