Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Adding Up the Cost of Ethanol

***Be sure to read the follow up article, "Common Sense vs. Ethanol." ***

While many believe that ethanol is reducing our dependence on foreign oil, many forget the real costs involved in creating ethanol from corn. It is energy intensive. Indoor gardens

In an article in Human Events titled, "Alternative Fuels are not an Alternative," A.W.R. Hawkins lays out the true costs of ethanol. From the article:

"...it takes 1.3 gallons of gasoline to produce one gallon of ethanol. Moreover, that one gallon of ethanol that is produced through the burning of 1.3 gallons of gasoline contains one third less energy than a gallon of gasoline, according to Iain Murray, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. This means that by the time you burn 1.3 gallons of ethanol, which is what it takes to equal the energy of a gallon of gasoline, you have actually already burned 1.73 gallons of gasoline simply to produce the cleaner burning 1.3 gallons of ethanol that “replaced” it.

Something that the article also mentions is the water requirement to produce ethanol. Water? That's right, "According to David Olive of the Toronto Star, ethanol requires us to pour 10,000 liters of water on a field of corn in order to receive 5 liters of fuel in return." According to Business Week, "By 2030 nearly half of the world's population will inhabit areas with severe water stress, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development." Water Barrels and Storage

Not only does ethanol production destroy a food crop, consume vast amounts of precious water, it also requires the burning of more fossil fuels than it generates. In a world of "feel good" solutions to real problems, ethanol continues not to make economic sense, nor is it economically efficient. Here is possible resource for fuel economy better than ethanol.

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