Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Real Costs of Ethanol?

There's an interesting article in the March 2011 edition of the International Monetary Fund's quarterly publication, Finance & Development. The authors have concluded that consumers should get used to higher food prices.

One of the more interesting statistics cited in the piece is that in 2010, 15% percent of global corn production was consumed by the biofuels industry. According to a report by the OECD from January 2010, the amount of grain required to fill the average car gas tank with ethanol would feed one person for a year. There is also the matter of the amount of water, electricity, and fossil fuels required by the ethanol manufacturing process.

It seems government and industry are faced with a choice between providing affordable food for people and meeting arbitrary quotas for ethanol production. Among people of common sense, this is a no-brainer. Unfortunately common sense seems to be lacking in direct proportion to the amount of foodstuffs and money wasted on ethanol.

In this tight economy, some people have to choose between fuel and food. At this rate, nobody will be able to afford either. Perhaps all these ethanol devotees could consider a hunger strike on behalf of world food production.

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty - and is a bargain compared to eating and driving in 2011.

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