Ethanol won't help, and will raise costs

Barrons writer Curt Thacker reported recently that although consumers "will feel they're paying an arm and a leg for nearly all goods in 2008 due to rising commodity costs, the meat and poultry counter could hold some deals."

That is the good news, but the bad news is the increasing feed costs, as more corn is diverted to ethanol production. ...

Our politicians apparently never took Economics 101 or looked at the effects of using food such as corn to make ethanol. Ethanol should only be made from non-food material, to avoid inflation and reduced food supply to Third World countries. ...

They also do not understand that when full production is reached, ethanol will only replace 2 percent of the gasoline needed. They also did not consider the negative effects of ethanol, such as its corrosive effect on pipes and engines. It cannot be moved by pipeline, it requires transport by trucks we don't have, we lack storage facilities, and it must be trucked long distances from the Midwest to the users in the East.

Ethanol efficiency is 15 to 20 percent less than pure gasoline, and ethanol production requires more energy than it produces. I am waiting to hear something positive about ethanol to justify all the problems. I don't accept the claims that it will be a significant replacement for oil.

Corn prices have doubled in the past two years, which resulted in growers planting more corn at the expense of other grains. Congress, which brags about saving gasoline by promoting ethanol, is comprised primarily of lawyers instead of engineers, economists and history majors who are able to understand economics.

Perhaps that is the problem, which could be changed in November if only the voters can understand the cause of the insanity.

Robert E. Entwistle, Martinez

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