A Bad Idea

Hopefully, the idea of burning food to power automobiles is finally being discredited.  It's amazing to me that environmentalists, of all people, who for years have criticized America's love affair with cars, have been at the leading edge of advocating government subsidies to shovel our food supply into our SUV's.  Particularly when corn ethanol creates more CO2 and other pollutants than it eliminates.  More on the insanity of biofuels here and here.


  1. dearieme:

    Surely it would really be amazing to you only if you supposed that environmentalists were concerned with evidence, rationality and suchlike bugaboos?

  2. diz:

    I am certainly not a fan of ethanol subsidies, but I think this "crazy to make fuel from food" argument is flawed.

    In an unsubsidized market, prices will tell us whether it makes sense to make fuel from food or not.

    A commodity price is set by its value in marginal use. If the marginal use of a commodity is not in "food", then it may not be particularly relecant that it could be used as food.

    Water is a vital life giving fluid. But while its value in the use of life giving is quite high, this is not its marginal use. So we often use this vital life giving fluid to wash our cars and hose off our driveways.

    And, if anything, it seems to me that growing food for ethanol fuel decreases the riskiness of our food supply. If we are growing 20% more food than we need and converting it to fuel, we have the option of diverting it back into the food supply in a bad harvest year.

  3. Artd0dger:

    Forget the food. These people want to burn perfectly good booze.

  4. CRC:

    In an unsubsidized market, prices will tell us whether it makes sense to make fuel from food or not.

    Quite true. Unfortunately we don't currently have an unsubsidized (or otherwise un-disturbed from government intervention) market for this stuff to convey what the prices should convey.

  5. rufus:

    I'll tell you what's crazy. Paying farmers NOT to plant crops while we're paying $84.00/Barrel for oil.

    OR, paying $3.00/gallon for gasoline when you can get the same mileage off a properly tuned (high compression) engine burning $2.00 E85.

    OR, how about spending ONE BILLION DOLLARS/DAY on Imported oil, thus rendering our currency worthless.

  6. diz:

    If you have any currency you feel is worthles, please feel free to send it to me.