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Ethanol: Conned by Corn

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that the EPA can regulate auto emissions, researchers are taking a new look at those greenhouse gases spewed out from car tail pipes that may be changing our climate. Because we have too much corn in this country, ethanol (which is made from corn) is being promoted as the biofuel of the future, but it is NOT the biofuel that gives off the fewest dangerous emissions.

As the United States looks to alternate fuel sources, ethanol has become one of the front runners. Farmers have begun planting even more corn, despite the fact that we already have too much of this heavily subsidized crop, in the hopes that its potential new use for corn will be a new income source. What many don't realize, is the potential for other crops, besides corn, to provide an alternate energy source to fossil fuels. Scientists are now in the process of analyzing the greenhouse gas emissions of corn compared with those of other crops that are grown only for fuel. Because it also takes a lot of fossil fuel to GROW certain crops, this needs to be taken into consideration as well.

The results of the study shows that when compared with gasoline and diesel, ethanol and biodisel from corn and soybean rotations reduced greenhouse gas emissions by almost 40% percent, but reed canarygrass reduced them by much more: 85% percent. Switchgrass and hybrid popular worked even better: they each reduced greenhouse gas emissions by about 115%.

Remember this the next time you hear the government extol the virtues of ethanol produced from corn.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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