Ethanol: the fix that probably isn’t

It seems to make sense. Create ethanol from crops, then you have a renewable, cheaper substitute for gasoline. But maybe not. According to some scientists, it takes more energy to produce ethanol than you get from burning it. Also, the process of creating ethanol often uses fossil fuels, including petroleum-based fertilizer.

Well then, grow it organically, right? Hmmm. I’m guessing that to feed the gasoline jones of the world with ethanol, huge areas would have cleared so ethanol crops could be grown. The whole thing seems unworkable. If it’s not an energy drain, and if non-petroleum products could be used in producing it, and if clearing or converting vast tracts of land to grow corn (the primary ethanol crop) can be done without impacting other agriculture, and if…

Other researchers say ethanol can be produced net energy positive by using different methods. But that still doesn’t address the mega-agriculture that would be needed to create enough of it to be used on a mass scale.

All of which demonstrates how serious our energy problems are and how real, lasting solutions are hard to find.

Meanwhile, self-serve regular at nearby gas stations is $2.35-2,45 a gallon.