Ethanol is renewable, domestically produced, and relatively cheap to process. Many would argue, however, that using ethanol has more cons than pros. Robert Bryce, a journalist whose articles on energy and politics have appeared in New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post, believes ethanol as a fuel source does more harm than good. The following information is from his essay "The Ethanol Scam: Burning Food to Make Motor Fuel" from the book Food, Inc.
Bryce describes Congress' ethanol mandates as "misguided." Aimed to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, the widespread use of ethanol as fuel actually causes quite a few problems, such as higher food prices, increased air and water pollution, and deterioration of air quality. He cites the corn ethanol program as an example of how politics, powerful agribusinesses, and disregarding science can damage the U.S. economically and environmentally.
The most alarming effect of using ethanol as fuel is placing fuel as a priority above food. During a time when hunger cuts short the lives of too many people around the world, especially children, the use of ethanol as fuel adds to the surge of global grain prices, which will increase food costs for those who cannot afford it. Bryce cites Lester Brown, the president of the Earth Policy Institute, as claiming "the grain required to fill a 25-gallon SUV tank with ethanol would feed one person for a full year."
Corn continues to supply our cars and bodies with fuel. Hunger and energy crises are significant worldwide problems, and only time will tell which will be solved first.