Confirmed: Ethanol sucks

Confirmed: Ethanol sucks

A new study from the University of Michigan confirms what pretty much everyone knew all along. Researchers found that biofuels actually create more greenhouse gases than simply using petroleum, because plants only absorb a fraction of the carbon dioxide released by burning the fuels in the first place. Moreover, ethanol production and distribution is energy-intensive, throwing off even more greenhouse gases. …

But even if you think, as I do, that caring for the environment means more than climate change, ethanol is a horror. Growing corn for inefficient fuel takes up farmland, raising food prices and encouraging deforestation. Science writer Matt Ridley has estimated that if all of our transport fuel came from biofuel, we would need 30 percent more land than all of the existing food-growing farmland we have today.

All of the corn we grow requires vast amounts of fertilizer, which runs into our waterways and out to the Gulf of Mexico. Every year that runoff creates a massive — and growing — dead zone that kills sea life in one of our most valuable fisheries.

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