This is your planet-saving fuel? Ethanol? Are you nuts?
Posted by Jon Sanders at 10:22 AMOK, OK, let's review. Not only does ethanol and other biofuels cause more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels; and not only would it take 450 pounds of corn to produce enough ethanol to fill just one SUV gas tank, enough corn to feed one person for a year; and not only does it take 1,700 gallons of water just to produce a single gallon of ethanol; and not only does this new use of corn creating havoc worldwide with food prices, not just in regards to corn but also corn oil, feed, grain, livestock, etc., etc.; and not only have those unnecessary ill effects recently claimed 830 jobs in Siler City; but then there's this:
Corn prices jumped to a record $6 a bushel Thursday ...
Worldwide demand for corn to feed livestock and to make biofuel is putting enormous pressure on global supply. And with the U.S. expected to plant less corn, the supply shortage will only worsen. The U.S. Department of Agriculture projected that farmers will plant 86 million acres of corn in 2008, an 8 percent drop from last year.
Moreover, cold, wet weather in parts of the U.S. corn belt may force farmers to delay spring planting, potentially sending prices even higher.
While corn growers are reaping record profits, U.S. consumers can expect even higher grocery bills -- especially for meat and pork -- as livestock producers are forced to pass on higher animal feed costs and thin their herd size.
Record profits, record high prices, deliberately suppressed supply, consumers facing higher bills -- is this not another complaint about Exxon et al.? Meet the new Big Energy, same as the old Big Energy? But this new behemoth is worse for the environment and worse for the poor -- rising food prices hit the poor the hardest, and even "liberals" know that; it's why they often try to exempt food from sales tax increases.
This is why I don't want my tax money used to promote a governmentally approved "market fix." If government thinkers were any good at picking the Next Big Thing, they'd be out there making money doing just that. The simple fact is, they're terrible at it, and since their selections have the coercive force of government behind them, they don't face any repercussions for being such colossal screwups. We the people have to bear the burdens of their mistakes instead -- not just overtly, but also in ways unseen and in paths not taken that were blocked by government.
High gasoline prices will draw more and more entrepreneurs and independent investment in finding the solution. There is simply too much money to be made by the person or company that figures this out. The profit motive is good; it impels people to search for solutions. Whether that solution is tapping into an American oil deposit that's larger than ANWR, or finding the next big energy break (even accidentally, such as by someone just tinkering in his garage), or (at some point even the environmentalists will get behind it; they're doing so in Europe) pushing for more nuclear power, or some combination, it doesn't matter -- just don't let government get in their way.
*** Update: 3:50 p.m. *** See the massive change in corn futures prices here.
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