Ethanol is Great?

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 1:39 PM

With gas prices soaring through the roof, people have explored for alternatives. Ethanol has been praised and has even been promoted by many politicians on both sides. “"Ramp up the availability of ethanol," says Hillary Clinton…."Ethanol makes a lot of sense," says John McCain.” It is believed that not only will this be our answer to making fuel costs cheaper, but it will also eliminate our dependence on foreign oil and reduce global warming. You begin to wonder when there’s this much excitement about something, what’s the downfall? Ethanol is made from corn. When you begin to look at the bigger picture of ethanol, you’ll begin to see things you didn’t think you could see. We begin to wonder if ethanol is praised as much as it is, why does it need government subsidies?


The cost to produce ethanol is actually more expensive. The same goes about the amount of energy it takes to produce ethanol, it actually takes more. “"It takes a lot of fossil fuels to make the fertilizer, to run the tractor, to build the silo, to get that corn to a processing plant, to run the processing plant," Taylor says.” This isn’t even considering that the growing demand of corn will increase the amount of fields that will need to be plowed, fertilizer used, water, and pesticides. However, you can’t help but think to yourself could this be the answer to rid our country of foreign oil dependency? “A University of Minnesota study [http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/103/30/11206] shows that even turning all of America's corn into ethanol would meet only 12 percent of our gasoline demand.” The demand for gasoline is simply too much. Ethanol has proven to be equal to gasoline in greenhouse gas emission. Is corn really our answer to our rising fuel crisis? You be the judge.

Leslie Boser

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