Ethanol and other biofuels increasingly are becoming controversial. Supporters of ethanol cite its potential to decrease our dependence on oil from the Mideast while also providing a cleaner and cheaper fuel alternative for consumers. However, ethanol may not be the miracle solution it appears to be. As this Research & Commentary collection shows:
The energy required to make ethanol, combined with ethanol’s lower energy content, make it unlikely that ethanol will significantly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels;
Ethanol reduces carbon monoxide emissions – which are not a problem in any U.S. city – while increasing the production of ground-level ozone, which threatens to put many cities out of compliance with EPA standards;
As the price of corn rises due to its demand to produce ethanol, business and consumers who don’t grow corn – including cattle ranchers, dairy farmers, food processes and retailers, and even restaurants – pay the price; and
Even with today’s high oil prices, ethanol is not price-competitive with conventional gasoline without massive taxpayer subsidies.