A recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development concluded that biofuels "offer a cure [for oil dependence] that is worse than the disease." A National Academy of Sciences study said corn-based ethanol could strain water supplies. The American Lung Association expressed concern about a form of air pollution from burning ethanol in gasoline. Political cartoonists have taken to skewering the fuel for raising the price of food to the world's poor.
They have this very telling little graphic as well:
^^^ That says a lot to me. It says beware of fads, particularly green ones. It says don't have the "short sell" mentality and try to make that fast buck if you have no idea what you're doing.
I found this to be quite interesting... did you know this?
The U.S. gives oil refiners an excise-tax credit of 51 cents for every gallon of ethanol they blend into gasoline. And even though it's the oil industry that gets this subsidy, the industry dislikes being forced to use a nonpetroleum product. The U.S. ethanol industry is further protected by a 54-cent tariff on every gallon of imported ethanol.
How did ethanol get all of this help so fast? It was interesting to see how fast the idea of ethanol made it into our collective consciouses. At first it was rarely talked about, then it was all over the place, and now people are asking questions.
But here is what REALLY bugs me:
Ethanol's opponents also began to highlight reasons why ethanol might not be such a boon to the environment, citing some recent research studies.
Look at ANY objective research and this will be blatantly clear to anyone. I spent a total of maybe 20 minutes going through scholarly journals (electronically of course) and found that ethanol not only frees up 10% extra energy (i.e. if it takes 100 joules to make a gallon, that gallon produces 110 joules), it uses a whole lot of fresh water, something else we need to conserve, and really does a number on the soil. It has been a total mystery to me why people were pursuing this fuel. Now I know, it was probably...