Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Is Too Much Ethanol a Bad Thing?
Biofuels, such as corn ethanol which typically makes up 10% of gasoline in the U.S., have for years been considered an environmentally sound alternative to dependence foreign oil. Regan Suzuki of the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization says, however, that an increase in ethonol production for many countries is causing an increase in the price of corn and other crops and may lead to water shortages and land use problems. Dan Kammen, a physicist at UC Berkeley is quoted by NPR as saying that production of ethanol "does not take more energy than you get out of the amount of ethanol. So it's a net good if you grow ethanol and use it." Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren of the CATO Institue, on the other hand, have a different take on the benefits of corn ethanol.