Tuesday 2 March 2010

Ethanol update

I'd previously noted that American ethanol subsidies are economically and environmentally irrational.

It's still true. Writes Kevin Drum:
Bottom line: corn ethanol is no greener than gasoline. In fact, it's almost certainly less green, and at the very least, there's no urgent need for the U.S. government to pay billions of dollars to subsidize its production. Too bad Iowa is the first state on the primary calendar every four years, isn't it?


  1. I tried to access the original article, at Wiley InterScience, but, alas, they want $$ to let me read it.

    It would be nice to know how much gasohol actually costs per gallon, including all subsidies.

    The whole issue is so politicized that one hears numbers all over the map. If the total price is only, say, 10% more expensive than gas is at $80/barrel, it might still be worth doing.

    Not because of any 'green' nonsense, but because of the military subsidy we are having to indirectly provide to 'gas from oil' prices - ie, the massive costs of the 'peacekeeping' activities we are paying for in the Middle East. Nobody that I know of is even trying to add those numbers into the cost of 'gas from oil', but they have to be substantial.

  2. Would it make that much difference if the energy input required for making ethanol isn't far from the energy output?