I'm glad to see that some of the more mainstream publications are coming to the realization that ethanol is a boondoggle that's going to end up costing us billions, both at the gas pump and at the dinner table, without making a significant impact on global warming emissions. The latest of these articles is by Jeff Goodell at Rolling Stone , and here's the point that I think everyone needs to understand:
Our current ethanol production represents only 3.5 percent of our gasoline consumption -- yet it consumes twenty percent of the entire U.S. corn crop, causing the price of corn to double in the last two years and raising the threat of hunger in the Third World.
Amazing eh? And yet when I talk with people casually about ethanol, they think the biggest problem is that Big Oil is blocking its production and adoption. That's crap; the real problem is that every productive acre of farmland in the U.S. would need to grow corn in order to begin to meet our gasoline needs. While it's true there are alternative crops being considered that are easier to turn into 21st Century moonshine, none come close to meeting the efficiency of gasoline and still require us to plow under vast stretches of farmland to meet our energy needs.