The Bigger Picture on Ethanol

Maybe it’s just me, but I sensed giddiness as Tom Tanton at the Commons Blog reported on a UC Berkely professor’s findings that corn-based ethanol “…may eat up far more energy during its creation than it winds up giving back…” You could almost hear “Got them pinko, commie treehuggers again” emanating from the subtext. The Earth Policy Institute, though, reports that the source of ethanol is an important consideration, with sugar beets and sugar cane producing the alternative fuel in a very efficient manner (and, in fairness, Tanton does make mention of this distinction towards the end of his post — right before he touts developments in fossil fuel-burning engines). While there are still important considerations, namely land use, that come into play, it looks like ethanol could still play an important role in cleaning up auto emissions. Not good news for Midwestern corn farmers, but sugar cane growers in the South should be pleased…

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