NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 8, 2004

Senator John Kerry and President Bush are promising to push for more ethanol production as an alternative fuel source -- Senator Kerry hopes to double ethanol production to 5 billion gallons per year.

However, Dennis Avery of the Hudson Institute says such a goal is not realistic for many reasons:

  • Ethanol production would require U.S. farmers to plant an additional 850 million acres of corn, which would require more cropland.
  • Since the United States doesn't have enough cropland to support 850 million acres, wetlands and forests would have to be converted into farmland, which would destroy wildlife habitats.
  • Last year, American farmers harvested the largest corn crop ever, but even so, it was not enough to meet the worldwide demand for livestock feed; moreover, the demand is expected to triple by 2050.
  • The only potential cropland for growing corn is in Brazil, but Brazil would profit from ethanol while taxpayers pay billions of tax dollars, and American farmers would continue to grow the same amount of corn.

Moreover, other technologies have already reduced emissions pollutions. Improved technology on car emission systems has reduced air pollution by 95 percent per car, and hybrid vehicles will prove to be even cleaner and more efficient. Additionally, fossil fuels would still be needed for power plants, says Avery.

Source: Dennis Avery, "Croplands Can't Support Ethanol Push," The Myrtle Beach Sun-News, August 26, 2004.


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