The American Enterprise

Fool's-gold fuel.(Indicators)

A Cornell professor of ecology and a Berkeley environmental engineer recently did a careful calculation of how much energy it requires--in tractor time, fertilizer, processing, and transport--to make the "alternative" fuel ethanol from plantstuffs.

The answer: Creating one gallon of "green" ethanol from corn--which the U.S. government now subsidizes to the tune of $3 billion per year--takes 1.3 gallons of fossil fuel energy. It'd be more energy efficient to just not try. Making ethanol from other types of "biomass" is at least as inefficient:

 
Units of fossil fuel required 
to make one unit of ethanol 
from different crops 
 
       Corn   1. … 

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