Before we all start jumping around for joy because we're saving the planet and boosting economies with ethanol production, cool your jets for just a second and consider the following.
As corn prices rise many people don't understand that there is no surplus of corn; in fact on a global level there is a corn shortage until 2009 according to "experts." Second, to reduce our dependence on foreign oil through ethanol production and use, we'd basically have to plant every square acre of the United States to corn. I'm talking about corn planted on boulevards, window sills, rooftops, and perhaps the bald heads of those of us with male pattern baldness.
"Hey Bill, how do I get to the convenience store?"
"Just stay on the right side of the center row of corn on 16th Street and turn into row 3000 of corn on what used to be Maple Ave., it's in there somewhere."
Economic development would cease because it would infringe on corn acreage. There wouldn't be room to grow other crops or animals used for meat. You'd enter a restaurant and order the following:
"I would like a corn steak, medium gooey, some corn fry wedges, a side of corn, and to drink I'd like a corn slurpee."
It simply is unfeasible.
What about ranchers and feedlot operators that have relied on corn for eons (that's centuries to you and me) to feed their critters? Feed prices go up and then the price of beef goes up benefiting everyone from the rancher to the monopolized slaughter industry and the consumer gets the shaft. Hey, maybe those animal rights activists are really behind the ethanol movement. Sounds like a good mystery novel. Remember, your government heavily subsidizes corn producers but most of the consumers who have the least to spend on a fixed budget take the hit. Government entitlement programs or "ag welfare" programs as I call them never benefit you and your family at home unless you're the proprietor of a large corporate farming operation.
Ethanol production is wasteful. Most of the corn used in generating ethanol is WASTED. It is an extremely inefficient process. Grow more corn, jack prices up, and then waste most of it during an abysmal production process. Bio-fuels do not burn efficiently and react less cooperatively within the fuel systems of internal combustion engines. This I know for a fact. In cold operating temperatures fuel filters tend to suffer because the end product isn't as cleanly refined as petroleum products are. And to top it all off, you're going to pay as much or more at the pumps for ethanol as you are for petroleum.
Ethanol isn't the answer to our energy problems. A lot of the blame rests with our government. Fossil fuel combustion technologies were abandoned for years instead of the focused intent necessary to find cleaner ways to burn the fuels. Nobody wants to unhook us from the dependence on crazy Middle Eastern oil fanatics more than I do. Blame your own government for the mess when we abandoned domestic exploration in the late 70's. Blame fuel producers for failing to invest in their infrastructure. Do you know there has not been a domestic refinery built in nearly 20 years? There isn't near as much of a fuel shortage as they want you to believe because by failing to invest in new refineries oil companies can control the supply side of the supply/demand issue. It isn't as much a shortage issue as it is a supply issue.
Improve technologies, utilize ethanol as a supplement, and require your government to work in your best interest not in the interest of those building their power base behind closed doors in the Capitol in Washington. I'll bet they have little knowledge of the overall processes involved anyway.
Well I have to get, I have to water the garden and the corn is coming along nicely.