Ethanol: A harmful waste of money

July 7, 2009

In this Wall Street Journal op-ed “So Much for energy Independence,” Robert Bryce notes that,

The U.S. gets about 98 times as much energy from natural gas and oil as it does from ethanol and biofuels. And measured on a per-unit-of-energy basis, Congress lavishes ethanol and biofuels with subsidies that are 190 times as large as those given to oil and gas.

Bryce also notes that ethanol may be causing damage to engines:

In January, Toyota announced that it was recalling 214,570 Lexus vehicles. The reason: The company found that “ethanol fuels with a low moisture content will corrode the internal surface of the fuel rails.” (The rails carry fuel to the engine injectors.) Furthermore, there have been numerous media reports that ethanol-blended gasoline is fouling engines in lawn mowers, weed whackers and boats.

Lawyers in Florida have already sued a group of oil companies for damage allegedly done to boat fuel tanks and engines from ethanol fuel. They are claiming that consumers should be warned about the risk of using the fuel in their boats.

Then there’s the food problem:

There is also corn ethanol’s effect on food prices. Over the past two years at least a dozen studies have linked subsidies that have increased the production of corn ethanol with higher food prices.

Finally, Bryce observes:

Mr. Obama has been pro-ethanol and anti-oil for years. But he and his allies on Capitol Hill should understand that removing drilling incentives will mean less drilling, which will mean less domestic production and more imports of both oil and natural gas.

That’s hardly a recipe for “energy independence.”

2 Responses to “Ethanol: A harmful waste of money”

  1. 4timesayear Says:

    The Waxman-Markey bill has provisions for pipelines for renewable fuel (I take it that’s ethanol – and they already know pipelines cannot be used to transport it because it’s too corrosive)

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