The Corn Ethanol Boondoggle

THE CORN ETHANOL BOONDOGGLE….In the LA Times today, Colin Carter and Henry Miller argue that there’s a big problem with President Bush’s goal of replacing 15% of domestic gasoline use with ethanol:

With current technology, almost all of this biofuel would have to come from corn because there is no feasible alternative. However, achieving the 15% goal would require the entire current U.S. corn crop, which represents a whopping 40% of the world’s corn supply.

….Thus, it is no surprise that the price of corn has doubled in the last year — from $2 to $4 a bushel. We are already seeing upward pressure on food prices as the demand for ethanol boosts the demand for corn.

That’s a problem? I thought that was the whole point.

Seriously, though, read the whole thing. As practically everyone except politicians pandering their way through Iowa knows, corn ethanol is a boondoggle. It doesn’t do much to reduce oil use, it doesn’t do much for the environment, and it doesn’t do much for your food bill. All it does is make corn farmers happy.

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation