Given its continued adherence to the wingnut antiscience position on climate change, I don’t trust the Cato Institute. But senior fellow Jerry Taylor reminds us that the bipartisan political consensus in Illinois (stretching from Barack Obama to his predecessor, Peter Fitzgerald) is probably wrong:
“Ethanol made out of corn is probably the closest thing we have to a domestic alternative to gasoline. But no matter how nice ‘growing our own fuel’ might be in theory, it’s uneconomically expensive in fact. Even after 30 years of lavish federal subsidy, ethanol (defined as fuel that is nine parts gasoline and one part ethanol) has only managed to capture a bit more than 3 percent of the automotive fuels market, and even industry participants concede if the subsidies and consumption mandates were removed today, the entire industry would collapse.
“One might think the current run on gasoline prices would have substantially narrowed the cost gap, but one would be wrong. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to grow corn and a lot of energy to distill it into ethanol and get it into the market. Accordingly, rising energy prices has made ethanol more expensive.“