For the umpteenth time, don't use corn to make ethanol -- use cellulose! We can and do produce enough cellulose to make all the motor fuel we need.
When we studied ethanol production at the former Savannah River Plant in 1980, Dr. Bud Webb, then head of agricultural engineering at Clemson, pointed out that we could turn corn stalks and wheat straw into all the motor fuel we need, and that the underused lands of the Southeast can and do produce massive amounts of cellulose (pulp wood).
Sure, ethanol production requires significant quantities of energy -- thus the proposal that we cluster ethanol plants around new power reactors at Savannah River Site.
Let's happily use the oil we have, including shale oil if that is economically feasible, and then ease into ethanol from cellulose using new SRS power reactors to make SRS neighbors all as rich as Arab oil kings!
Fred Christensen, Aiken, S.C.