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2002 December 23 Monday
Ethanol Fuel Subsidy Even Worse Than It Looks

Yes of course the corn ethanol fuel subsidy in the United States is a waste of money handed out to farmers and agribusiness. But its worse than that. Corn-derived ethanol uses more energy than it produces and therefore increases our dependence on foreign oil. The tax breaks for it reduce the money available for the National Highway Trust Fund and hence reduces maintenance and construction of roads and bridges. It causes more pollution. It increases fuel costs. If the billions spent on it per year were just handed as cash to the farmers and if no ethanol was produced we'd be better off.

The chief reason for imposing an ethanol program on motorists is to enrich farmers and food processors under the guise of environmental enhancement.

Ethanol is not environmentally safe. Oxygenates such as ethanol may reduce emissions of carbon monoxide (CO) and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs), but can also result in increased emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), a main precursor of smog pollution; and ethanol-blended gasoline can lead to increased emissions of acetaldehyde, a toxic pollutant.

A study by Cornell University scientist David Pimentel shows that producing ethanol from corn actually requires more energy than the fuel produces, making the United States more fossil-fuel-dependent, not less.

The ethanol mandate amounts to blatant "corporate welfare." Only a handful of large agribusinesses would gain from this ethanol mandate.

There is a strong argument to be made that we need to develop alternative energy sources in order to defund the Saudis and other regimes that fund the spread of both a hostile Islam and of terrorism. Instead, we spend tax money and raise fuel prices in order to make our foreign energy dependence even greater.

Because of the ethanol fuel subsidy we pay more in taxes, our roads are in worse shape, our fuel costs more, and we are more dependent on foreign energy. More money flows to Saudi Arabia because of the ethanol fuel subsidy. That a policy this dumb and harmful and costing billions can survive and even expand from one year to the next demonstrates that the old republic may eventually be brought down by the accumulation of parasites that feed off of it.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 December 23 01:49 PM  Civilizations Decay


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Comments
Invisible Scientist said at December 24, 2002 10:47 AM:

It's time to consider alternative technologies for
transport. The future of fuel cells and newer batteries
is already here. Please see the news. There are zinc-air
fuel cells that are cheap and competitive with diesel
vehicles, and these are already being used in Germany:
http://www.electric-fuel.com/evnews/021712.shtml
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