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Biofuels - July 27

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage


The unintended consequences of the ethanol quick fix

Ray Nothstine, Christian Science Monitor
The push to increase ethanol production and ease dependence on oil has created a price runup in fuel and food prices.
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Grand Rapids, Mich. - Ronald Reagan once said that the most terrifying words in the English language are, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." His one-liner immediately comes to mind when looking at the problems behind the federal government's campaign to boost production of corn-based ethanol with a massive 51-cent-per-gallon subsidy.

Ethanol and other biofuels are advertised as one of the main cures for our oil-thirsty economy. But it's clear that the ethanol boom, with a major assist from Washington, is succeeding in simultaneously raising both fuel and food prices.

With more than 20 percent of corn now dedicated to ethanol production, the US Department of Agriculture is projecting a record US corn crop in 2007 - along with record prices.

Outside the United States, the unintended consequences of ill-considered policies promoting ethanol and other biofuel crops are already in full view. The poor, of course, are hit hardest.
(27 July 2007)


Consumer Federation's Mark Cooper discusses struggles between Big Oil, ethanol industry

Monica Trauzzi, E&E TV
As the price at the pump continues to rise, how will the introduction of more ethanol into the fuels market affect consumers' wallets? During today's OnPoint, Mark Cooper, director of research at the Consumer Federation of America, discusses his new report, "Big Oil v. Ethanol: The Consumer Stake in Expanding the Production of Liquid Fuels."

Cooper explains why he believes the oil industry is waging a war against the ethanol industry. He talks about the effect refining capacity has had on oil prices and blames the oil industry for not expanding or strengthening its refining capacity. He also addresses the challenge of creating the appropriate infrastructure for getting E85 to consumers.
(26 July 2007)
Pick your scapegoat: oil companies, OPEC, environmentalists.

Somehow this interview seems years out of date. Cooper sees the challenge as ensuring cheap gas for Americans. Oil companies are the villains, preventing the magic of the markets from supplying that cheap gas. Ethanol is the savior, allowing us to motor happily into the future. -BA

Related:
CFA Research Examines Big Oil v. Ethanol (Renewable Fuels Association)
Big Oil v. Ethanol, the full report by Mark Cooper (PDF).


A dark side to the ethanol boom?

Brad Knickerbocker, Christian Science Monitor
A backlash to fuel made from corn is emerging among environmentalists, economists, and antipoverty activists.
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In some circles, ethanol made from corn has become a golden nectar in the fight against global warming. It comes from a benign, wholesome, home-grown plant, and it produces no nasty greenhouse gases that cause climate change.

But a backlash to corn ethanol is emerging. Environmentalists, economists, and poverty activists all are raising questions.
(26 July 2007)
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