January 22, 2020

Ethanol: Economics Debated, While Political Support Remains Solid

I. Ethanol
II. Farm Bill
III. Doha
IV. Beef Imports

I. Ethanol

Alexei Barrionuevo, writing in today’s New York Times, reported that, “Renewing concerns about whether there will be enough corn to support the demand for both fuel and food, a new study has found that ethanol plants could use as much as half of America’s corn crop next year.

“Dozens of new ethanol plants are being built by farmers and investors in a furious gold rush, spurred by a call last year from the Bush administration and politicians from farm states to produce more renewable fuels to curb America’s reliance on oil. But the new study by the Earth Policy Institute, an environmental group, found that the number of ethanol plants coming on line has been underreported by more than 25 percent by both the Agriculture Department and the Renewable Fuels Association, the ethanol industry’s main lobbying group.

Photo by The New York Times

“The Earth Policy Institute says that 79 ethanol plants are under construction, which would more than double ethanol production capacity to 11 billion gallons by 2008. Yet late last month, the Renewable Fuels Association said there were 62 plants under construction.”

To listen to a teleconference from yesterday with Lester Brown, the author of the Earth Policy Institute report, just click here (MP3).

Click here to review a summary of the report, and click here to view the data compilation that the report is based on.