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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Rolling Stone calls ethanol one of America's biggest political boondoggles

Shocking, huh? I thought Rolling Stone existed to echo the favorite bleatings of the left wing.

Apparently, they're straying -- the Goracle will be pissed that he wasn't consulted first (emphasis mine):

American refiners will produce nearly 6 billion gallons of corn ethanol this year, mostly for use as a gasoline additive to make engines burn cleaner. But in June, the Senate all but announced that America's future is going to be powered by biofuels, mandating the production of 36 billion gallons of ethanol by 2022. 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."

This is not just hype -- it's dangerous, delusional bullshit. Ethanol doesn't burn cleaner than gasoline, nor is it cheaper. Our current ethanol production represents only 3.5 percent of our gasoline consumption -- yet it consumes twenty percent of the entire U.S. corn crop, causing the price of corn to double in the last two years and raising the threat of hunger in the Third World. And the increasing acreage devoted to corn for ethanol means less land for other staple crops, giving farmers in South America an incentive to carve fields out of tropical forests that help to cool the planet and stave off global warming.

So why bother? Because the whole point of corn ethanol is not to solve America's energy crisis, but to generate one of the great political boondoggles of our time. Corn is already the most subsidized crop in America, raking in a total of $51 billion in federal handouts between 1995 and 2005 -- twice as much as wheat subsidies and four times as much as soybeans. Ethanol itself is propped up by hefty subsidies, including a fifty-one-cent-per-gallon tax allowance for refiners. And a study by the International Institute for Sustainable Development found that ethanol subsidies amount to as much as $1.38 per gallon -- about half of ethanol's wholesale market price.

I wonder if they came up with that all by themselves.

Bravo to them for pointing out the obvious -- that ethanol is not the miracle solution enviro-moonbats keep saying it is. And an even bigger bravo to Rolling Stone for not swallowing it without any argument like a good little moonbat.

Baby steps, folks, baby steps. There's always hope.

Hat Tip: Iowa Voice


NeoconNews.com said...

That is refreshing, even if the little insert about trees fighting global warming made my mouth twitch a bit. Ethanol is a huge joke. With the limitations in import and the subsidies (which Rolling Stone accurately described) it will never reach its intended goal of being a legitimate rival to gasoline. It damages cars, for one thing.

Everyone always wants to look to Brazil and tout their adaption of ethanol but the problem with that analogy is that farmer bob can ride his sugar cane right down to the market and sell it. The market infrastructure is entirely different and not comparable. It isn't a bunch of corn farmers getting free cash shoveled into their pockets in the name of the environment.

Still... take what you can get, especially from Rolling Stone.

Larry said...

And if that's not enough, there's this from the April 18, 2007 San Francisco Chronicle:

"A new study out of Stanford says pollution from ethanol could end up creating a worse health hazard than gasoline, especially for people with asthma and other respiratory diseases."

The Great El-ahrairah said...

Yet again, the Law of Unintended Consequences rears it's ugly head. Not only is the price of gas so much that you have to stay home, even if you could afford to drive your car, food costs too much to buy. People will be starving to death and there will be nobody around to drive those evil SUVs which polute Mother Gaia's atmosphere. A win-win situation for the environ-mental/population control crowd.

At least the Rolling Stone got the whole boondoggle right. I don't know if this is because they can see the writing on the wall (people are starting to mock the Goreacle and global warming) and they want to jump on the bandwagon or they see it as just another guv-mint fiasco that they can pin on the Republicans.