Found this at Energy News and just had to write about it:
Anyone who tells you that we can run all our cars on biodiesel or ethanol is out of their minds. The issue is simple arithmetic.
Lester Brown points out that the average fill up of a 25 gallon SUV gas tank with ethanol will requires the same amount of grain as it takes to feed a person for year. Every person in the US, man, woman and child, uses 500 gallons of gasoline per year. So, that means that every American would use enough gas to feed 20 people over the course of the year.
There are 300 million people in the US, and 300 million people, each using enough food to feed 20 people to run their cars, would require enough grain to feed 6 billion people. Perhaps that number sounds vaguely familiar. Back in 1999, that was how many people were alive on the earth. We’ve added a few since then, of course, but let’s be realistic. A) We don’t have enough grain to use 6 billion people’s food for our cars for a year and b) it would be obscene if we even tried to come close. …
So realistically, we are not discussing replacing 75% or 50% of our imported oil with biodiesel or ethanol – period. It isn’t possible. And if we are talking about a more realistic number, like 10-15%, that can only happen with policy programs designed to create, encourage, and perhaps require conservation. And it may not be possible at all, if petroleum and natural gas production are near their present peaks.
There’s much much more there. In fact, there are 11 principles explored, the above was a part of principle #1.
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