Not So Smart – Burning Food to Fuel Cars

The United States consumes approximately 100 Quadrillion BTU’s of energy each year. Of that, 28 Quadrillion are used for transportation.

This can be found at the DoE website here:

http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/consump.html

There has been about a 45% increase in ethanol production in the US in the last 5 years.  Is this smart ?  Let’s take a look.

One acre will produce 7110 lbs of corn, on average.  If all of that is used to produce ethanol it will produce 328 gallons.  However, 140 gallons of fossil fuel is needed to produce that corn.  A gallon of diesel or gasoline produces about 131,000 BTU’s of energy. One gallon of ethanol produces about 77,000 BTU’s of energy.  So, there is a net LOSS of 54,000 BTU to produce one gallon of ethanol.  Is this smart ? If you’re a corn farmer it is. If you’re a corn eater, it’s not.

Add to this the fact that the US would have to convert 97% of it’s total land area to growing corn to replace fossile fuels for transportation. Even if that were possible, at some point in time you would start seeing a net loss and you would eventually not be able to produce a single ear of corn as there would be no ethanol available to produce it.  It would have to be like a ‘perpetual motion’ machine of farming, which doesn’t exist.  It would require a solution like….oh…slavery, to make corn as a transportation fuel feasible. And it would take a lot of slaves. Any volunteers ?

So why are we messing around with this silly idea of using food for energy and how do they do this if it clearly isn’t feasible ?

Because corn farmers are given over a billion dollars of your money, each and every year, in subsidies, to grow corn for fuel.

Well smart guy, why would the government do something so foolish ?  Lobbying my friend.

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