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But cellulosic ethanol also has low net energy, and carries the potential for increased competition for food-growing land. Despite years of development, biofuels remain uncompetitive with fossil fuels.

The ethanol industry also benefits from laws mandating the blending of ethanol with gasoline.


The energy content of ethanol is about two-thirds that of gasoline. YouTube biofuels Liquid Biofuels, and ethanol in particular, have been touted as the solution to U. An analysis by the think tank Environmental Working Group indicates that blending 10 percent ethanol with 90 percent gasoline the ratio mandated by the renewable fuel standard reduces the miles per gallon achieved by almost 4 percent on average.

The net energy ratio energy return on energy invested, or EROEI for biofuels in general, and corn ethanol in particular, is abysmal.

In response, many ethanol advocates are optimistic about cellulosic ethanol in particular, switchgrasssince it supposedly would not compete directly with food crops. In a simple chemical process, biodiesel is made from vegetable oil. From an energy standpoint, this means that the While biodiesel produces fewer emissions except for nitrogen oxides than petroleum diesel, its production at industrial scales would inevitably mean further increased competition for arable land and possibly for certain food crops, such as soybeans.

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Unfortunately, producing ethanol is at best a poor use of resources, and at worst a net energy loser. Biofuels are derived from plant material and fall mainly into two categories: But most biofuels actually require almost as much energy to produce as they provide. The United States currently produces roughly 13 billion gallons million barrels of ethanol a year, almost entirely from corn—nearly a tenfold increase in over a decade.

The ethanol industry has benefited from both an import tariff of 54 cents per gallon on foreign-produced ethanol as well as a subsidy of 45 cents per gallon, costing U.

In the United States most ethanol comes from corn, but globally it is produced from a variety of plants, including corn, sorghum, sugar, sugar beets, and switchgrass.