Re: Just Say No to Ethanol

On the blog of Set America Free(*), a coalition of individuals and non-profit organizations dedicated to promoting progress toward American energy security, Robert Zubrin, author of Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror and Breaking Free of Foreign Oil, challenges the idea that ethanol production is to blame for any recent increases in food prices (h/t Instapundit)…

The ethanol program has actually stimulated corn production so much that, after the part used for ethanol is taken away, the net US corn harvest available for food and feed is up 34% since 2002. Furthermore, contrary to claims in many articles, this has not been done at the expense of soy or wheat production. In fact, U.S. soy plantings this year are expected to be up 18% to a near record of 75 million acres, wheat plantings are up 6%, and overall, US farm exports are up 23%. Much more can be produced as demand requires, since of 800 million acres of US farmland, only 280 million are actually being farmed.
Which is not to say that Dr. Zubrin isn’t an advocate for more efficient ethanol production than is available from corn. As quoted indirectly by Instapundit, he claims…
It’s possible to make enough ethanol and methanol to replace OPEC’s output using only agricultural waste.

(*)Check out this interesting sampling of names from the Set America free website; the organization does seem to embody a wide ideological spectrum. There aren’t many Senators names on the list; those who are deserve some credit for taking the lead on this issue…

  • Gary L. Bauer
  • Senator Lincoln Chafee
  • Frank Gaffney
  • Cliff May
  • Daniel Pipes
  • Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
  • Hon. R. James Woolsey

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