Viewpoint: The failure of corn-powered cars – How America’s ethanol subsidies boosted food prices and carbon emissions

Credit: EWG
Credit: EWG

E-15 is only available at about 2 to 3% of gas stations in the United States, so for those unaware, it means that 15% of the fuel is composed of ethanol. Ethanol is ethyl alcohol. Produced by the fermentation of sugars, the chemical compound is found in antiseptics, liquors, and fuels, amongst many other places.

Unfortunately for your car and your pocketbook, it doesn’t contain as much energy as pure gasoline.

Fifteen years after the [Renewable Fuel Standard] program’s inception, it’s becoming apparent that corn ethanol has been a failure for everyone except corn growers. For starters, it has driven up the price of corn. Again, that’s great for corn farmers and corn-growing states like Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, and Minnesota, but not so great for consumers across the country.

Related article:  Monsanto: More Saint than Sinner
Follow the latest news and policy debates on agricultural biotech and biomedicine? Subscribe to our newsletter.

This might not be that big of a problem if corn ethanol were actually beneficial for the environment. While the U.S. Department of Agriculture insists that it is, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 21% compared to gasoline, other analyses from independent scientists paint a murkier picture. A 2016 study by scientists at the University of Michigan Energy Institute found that corn ethanol is actually more carbon intensive. Another study found that boosting corn ethanol reduces the price of gasoline, making consumers drive more, and thus pollute more.

Read the original post

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend