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« News you can use | Main | Property rights »

Aug 01, 2007


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j. neas

Glad to see this coming more to the forefront. I've had big hesitations about Ethanol for awhile now for a lot of these reasons. But now it seems nearly as entrenched as the oil industry.


The article does not even mention that the US Govt. slaps a $.50 a gallon tax on imported ethanol. Brazil is way out in front of the U.S. in this technology and generates the majority of its fuel from the much more efficient sugar cane plant. The downside of course is the destruction of the rain forest in order to grow the sugar cane.


I'm convinced that ethanol is not the answer to the quest for the best alternative fuel.

For the moment, biodiesel seems to be the best alternative, at least until better technology solves electric batteries' major drawbacks for vehicle use.

Undercover Urbanist

Brazil's experience is not instructive for the US. 1 in 7 Brazilians owns a car. They have been able to make ethanol work for them by ripping up the rain forest and the fact that for most of their population, this is not an issue.

Biodiesel has its own problems, which primarily come with substituting land for food in the US to land to grow fuel, and again, scalability. A single barrel of oil is 400 years of buried sunshine that takes comparatively little energy to get out of the ground.

Oil dependence is not going to be solved on the supply side, but on the demand side. Ideally, we would lead with policies to make this so, and yes, that would include raising fuel economy standards and taxes on fuel.

Ed Cone

There may be no silver bullets. Seems like a combination of approaches makes sense -- conservation (lots of easy steps there before we even get serious), more rational ethanol policy (including curbing our sugar lobby; also, sugarcane grows in places other than Brazil), better extraction from shale, alt fuel research, etc.

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