According to ethanol boosters, this is the beginning of a much larger revolution that could entirely replace our 21-million-barrel-a-day oil addiction. Midwest farmers will get rich, the air will be cleaner, the planet will be cooler, and, best of all, we can tell those greedy sheiks to fuck off. As the king of ethanol hype, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, put it recently, “Everything about ethanol is good, good, good.”
A small excerpt from a recent article in Rolling Stone about the USA’s dangerous romance with food-based fuels. It’s a pretty good read, and since it’s being published in Rolling Stone instead of, say, the New York Times or the Economist, the authors can get away with pulling fewer punches and using more descriptive language than the establishment rags can.
As the price of oil and gasoline continues it’s wobbly rise, corn ethanol will continue to get way more publicity than it deserves. As the RS article points out, ethanol made from sugar cane (like it’s done in Brazil) is a more efficient way of making the stuff, but we’ll never see that here in the states thanks to the fifty-four cents-per-gallon tariff on all imported ethanol. It makes much more sense to drive food prices sky-high, line the pockets of large agribusinesses, create yet another real estate bubble for farmland, and protect a crappy end-product.
Oh, and to make matters worse, the drought that’s been crippling a lot of the farmland in the Midwest is now threatening to ruin much of the expected record corn crop that both ethanol and food producers are counting on.