Corn Ethanol May Not Be a Green Solution for Biofuel

November 15, 2013 / No Comments

Back in 2007, a bi-partisan effort signed into law a mandate that Ethanol be added to gasoline. This was supposed to greatly reduce the carbon dioxide and other pollutants. This move also had other benefits.

Farmers backed the initiative as well as the green community. Many farmers were hard pressed to meet their expenses raising food crops and being able to plant more corn to be used as biofuel was appreciated. Many farmers became solvent again and throughout the past years have planted increasing quantities of corn.

Corn Ethanol via AEI Corn Ethanol May Not Be a Green Solution for BiofuelMany farmers cut back on the amount of corn they were selling to food processors, as the ethanol producers were offering a higher price per bushel. This also had an effect on the price consumers paid for corn at the grocery store. In fact, corn prices have doubled in just the last three years.

The benefits of using ethanol have not materialized. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has not been able to ascertain that any carbon dioxide emissions were saved. They estimate that the decision to use ethanol in gasoline may have even been responsible for a net increase in carbon dioxide releases due to the number of fallow fields plowed under to raise corn for ethanol production.

Fertilizer being used to insure a robust corn crop has been finding its way into the streams and even the Gulf of Mexico. The Associated Press released a report that said the dead zone in the gulf was increasing due to the increased runoff.

So the current administration has proposed to reduce the amount of ethanol being added to the gasoline. This decision is not only based on the environmental damage, but on the fact that the ethanol industry has been unable to produce the required quantities of ethanol needed by the scheduled 2014 percentage increase of ethanol  in gasoline. Additionally, the EPA is saying increasing the amount of ethanol to 15% could damage a lot of car engines.