The Oil Drum has a link to an article from the Associated Press today that is actually a pretty balanced look at the Ethanol boom that is sweeping the USA, and especially the upper Midwest Corn Belt. I’ve been an ethanol skeptic for a while now, and this piece will hopefully convert more people to that point of view. Is it a piece of the economic puzzle? Yes. Will it solve all of our motor fuel problems? Not a chance.
The timing of the article is interesting, especially since President Bush just signed a new ethanol pact with Brazil last week. One trend I noted was that several stories mused on whether part of Bush’s trip to Brazil was to gauge interest in forming an OPEC-like cartel for ethanol producers. Whether there’s any truth to that or not, it would be an interesting development, with the USA potentially set up to become the swing producer for a motor fuel source two times in 100 years. Control over energy sources is power, and that power will grow in the coming decades as oil supplies become supply-constrained.