There was an interesting op-ed piece in the February 08 edition of Popular Mechanics that deals with using corn for fuel.
Remember this is not a political magazine, it is a magazine that simply looks at stuff from a practical standpoint.
The article simply states the facts of what is happening. The politicians in Washington have jumped on the ethanol bandwagon, due in part because of the corporate farmers and “farm states”.
The best part is the “running the numbers” section. Some estimates show that is takes 1.3 gallons of oil to produce 1 gallon of ethanol! Even the more conservative estimates say it takes about 1 btu of fossil fuel energy to produce 1.3 btu of corn ethanol.
There are many other types of alternative fuel’s being researched. There are also proven, working designs for more fuel efficient engines. So why all the fuss for corn ethanol? Money, the corporate farmers have bought enough politicians in Washington to get what they want.
I like the ending line though, “Perhaps someday corn ethanol will prove itself a viable part of our energy mix. But corn liquor is powerful stuff, and it can make people do strange things. Let’s keep it out of Washington’s hands.” Well said!