February 6th, 2006, 7:06 pm
QuoteOriginally posted by: zetaethanol, a comodity subject to less fluctuation, although not subsidized to the degree of oilQuoteBetween the ethanol mandate, the 51-cent per gallon tax incentive, and the huge host of handouts and tax breaks for producers, the ethanol industry is riding high. Ethanol producers dont need to compete with gasoline to take in huge profits; they can still haul home truckloads of cash so long as Congress remains their sugar daddy. But while corporate agriculture is getting drunk off of ethanol subsidies, taxpayers are getting stuck with a nasty hangover. Sky-high gasoline prices and the energy bill have given lawmakers an opportunity to pile on even more giveaways for ethanol. The energy bill that the Senate passed on Tuesday pours more than $2 billion in loan guarantees, demonstration projects, and downright handouts to ethanol interests. All this is just good old-fashioned pork dressed up as energy policy. But while Congress is busy giving big agribusiness the keys to the Treasury, scientists are increasingly finding that corn ethanol is no solution to Americas energy woes. Dr. Tad Patzek, a geoengineer at UC Berkeley, examined the full process of corn-based ethanol production, from seed to tank, and found in a recent report that every unit of energy created through corn ethanol takes six units of energy to produce. Dr. David Pimentel, a professor at Cornell University engaged in similar research, has also demonstrated that corn-based ethanol demands significantly more energy to create than it contains. These two studies make painfully clear what opponents of ethanol have been saying for a long time: corn ethanol is an outrageously inefficient substitute for gasoline.The ethanol boondoggle began in the 1970s as an attempt to cut back American reliance upon foreign oil. More than thirty years later, after billions and billions spent in research and development, ethanol remains commercially unsustainable, depending on taxpayer handouts and government mandates to survive and its still not a viable substitute for gasoline. It's time to wean ethanol off the federal bottle and give taxpayers relief.