Ethanol: The Big Disappointment
Congress had it wrong when it started the Ethanol subsidy years ago, and they still have it wrong. Ethanol is a waste of taxpayer money.
I recall the days growing up when I would hear all about the wonders of Ethanol and how corn was going to save our environment and release us from our dependency on fossil fuels. Well those newscasters and environmentalists probably would cringe at the thought that ethanol might actually be hurting our environment and only increasing our dependency on fossil fuels, not to mention its responsibility for higher food prices leading to riots and deaths in Asia and Africa.
“Ethanol produces 5-35% more greenhouse gasses than the equivalent petroleum.” – EPA
According to the article “Ethanol’s Grocery Bill” in the Wall Street Journal today, (subscription required) the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) did a study where they ran scenarios over the course of 30 to 100 years, and found that, “Ethanol produced in a ‘basic natural gas fired dry mill’ will over a 30-year horizon produce ‘a 5% increase in GHG (green house gasses) emissions compared to petroleum gasoline.’ When ethanol is produced with coal burning mills, the process ‘significantly worsens the life cycle GHG impact of ethanol’ creating 34% more greenhouse gasses than gasoline does over 30 years.”
This is a huge discovery and find by the EPA and should be championed, but what makes this newsworthy is not just the discovery but the fact that the Obama Administration wants to increase the levels of ethanol in gasoline from 10% to 15%. Now for an Administration that has been all about being green and energy efficiency, this is hypocrisy!
But what makes the push for more ethanol even more sickening to my stomach is that in the article the CBO (Congressional Budget Office), said that “Americans pay another surcharge for ethanol in higher food prices. CBO estimates that from April 2007 to April 2008 ‘the increased use of ethanol accounted for about 10 percent to 15 percent of the rise in food prices.'” So for an Administration that championed the ‘little guy’ to be actually hurting the little guy on every front the hypocrisy is just too much to bare. By endorsing ethanol food prices will go up, there for making it harder for folks to buy what they want, and making life just a little bit less comfortable.
But what totally puts everything in this article together is the end, “As public policy, ethanol is like the joke about the baseball prospect who is a poor hitter but a bad fielder. It doesn’t reduce CO2 but it does cost more.” So don’t get too excited folks, ethanol is not a step forward like we all thought it might be, but two steps back like we all feared.
Check out this blog post on Ethanol: The Inconvenient Truth.
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