Great Food: Lousy Energy

Couldn’t have said it better myself:

Corn is great food, but lousy energy. Energy derived from corn–ethanol–cannot compete in the marketplace with more efficient sources of energy, like petroleum, unless its producers get money from the government to artificially lower the price of their product. This is what is known as “green energy.” It amounts to having a bonfire with your money. Well, no, not exactly a bonfire, since, while there is undeniably a net inefficiency and thus a destruction of wealth, your money doesn’t go up in smoke. Rather, your tax dollars are transferred to a combination of Midwestern farmers and politically connected ethanol plant developers. Like other government subsidy programs, it’s great if you get to cash the checks, but bad if you are a taxpayer or an energy buyer.

Which makes it bad for nearly all of us in the long run. Until even the farmers understand this and refuse to give up short-term gain for long-term stability, however, we’ll keep propping up a system which should collapse under its own inefficiencies.

3 thoughts on “Great Food: Lousy Energy

  1. Please address the TAX DOLLARS that subsidize the petroleum industry! If you make the subsidies for the petroleum industry and the ethanol industry exactly the same CORN comes out on top every time. Also ethanol is home grown. We don’t have to buy it from nations whose religion states that those who don’t belong to their religion should be slaves to them.

    If every new vehicle in the USA were required to be flex-fuel then we would all have a choice whether we want to support foreign nations that hate us or our own famers and our own economy.

    Research done by the oil companies TWENTY YEARS AGO that show ethanol as noncompetitive are out-dated and filled with errors. For instance they included the “energy” from the SUN to grow the corn in their energy usage comparison. Give me a break!

    1. Mera,

      You are making statements without providing any supporting sources. http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-390es.html does address the question of “Big Oil at the Public Trough” and concludes that subsidies for oil are not even a close comparison (I would direct you to the figure at the bottom of page 5 of the PDF report available from the linked page).

      If we were developing more of our own (currently off limits) oil reserves, we would be less dependent on Middle Eastern states.

      Requiring every new vehicle to be flex fuel flies in the face of the free market. If the market wants such vehicles, then people will purchase them without coercion.

      Once again, you do not provide me with any of the research you speak of. Just because I’ve never seen a single ethanol equation that included “sun power” doesn’t mean there isn’t one. However, if you are interested, here are some numbers: http://hir.harvard.edu/index.php?page=article&id=1911

      Bottom line? The math simply does not work without the massive and continuing subsidies.

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