Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Investors Daily: Pull the Plug on Ethanol

Investors Business Daily posted an editorial this week, Just Plain Fuelish, that just plain gets it. A smorgasbord of research alternatives and subsidized if politically profitable good intentions just won't cut it anymore. IBD is ready to choose. And they choose electricity, not ethanol. The State of the Union may have seen Sen. Grassley dancing in the aisles, but Investors rains on the ethanol parade.
By now, credible economists and scientists have debunked the myth that ethanol can play anything more than a small supporting role in the energy-security mission. Ethanol has less power per gallon than gasoline. It can be produced profitably only with fat subsidies. Making it from corn (the only current source in this country) consumes so much other resources that the net energy savings are, by some accounts, nonexistent.
But IBD believes that the political juice of ethanol is distorting policy decisions.
There is a well-organized and influential ethanol lobby in this country, led by corn farmers, food processors such as Archer Daniels Midland Co. and politicians such as Grassley.
Advocacy for plug-in cars is much less organized and underfunded. The utilities need to step up, declare the benefits of electricity in cars, and promote its product. And lobby as fearlessly as do Big Oil and Big Corn.

Hat tip to Felix Kramer of CalCars


Anonymous said...

All of these are just stop gap measures, becasue the powerplants use nat gas or coal which also contribute nastily to global warming. We need to expand wind farms and wind/hydrogen electrolysis.

Marc Geller said...

Of course we need to expand our generation of green electricity. But we certainly don't want to waste 3/4 of it converting it to hydrogen. Clean electricity directly into battery electric cars is the best solution available.

C. Scott Miller said...

We don't have the luxury of pulling the plug on any renewable energy technology - certainly not ethanol.

How do you recommend producing the electricity? I assume you recommend that it be using renewable resources.

I work with ACORE (American Council on Renewable Energy) . Wind, solar, and biomass are on the table for discussion of renewables. We need to work on all sources of renewable energy simultaneously to make any kind of headway on replacing fossil fuels with alternatives.

Check out what James Woolsey has said about biomass conversion and PHEVs on my blog - . Then get back to me.

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