Iowa Public Television


Economist Criticizes U.S. Ethanol Policy

posted on July 21, 2006

An agricultural economist and founder of a Washington-based Washington think tank said this week that the focus on ethanol to reduce reliance on petroleum-based fuels is ill-advised.

Lester Brown, founder of the Earth Policy Institute, said the major auto manufacturers' focus on flex-fuel vehicles that use corn-based ethanol instead of electric cars is the wrong strategy.

"I think it's based on the idea that we're going to be able to produce huge amounts of crop-based motor fuel," he said. "I'm not sure we can."

World production of ethanol in 2005 was estimated at 12.2 billion gallons, according to the Renewable Fuels Association, a national trade group. The U.S. was the world leader, producing 4.26 billion gallons, followed by Brazil with 4.23 billion gallons, the group said.

Tags: agriculture biofuels Brazil energy policy ethanol government news renewable fuels