Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Saturday, March 03, 2007
The New OPEC
The NY Times has a story today on a deal being reached with Brazil to import ethanol:
The agreement could lead to substantial growth in the ethanol industry in Brazil as technology and manufacturing equipment developed there is exported to other countries in the region.

Much of the ethanol produced there is made from sugar cane and is far cheaper to produce than the corn-based ethanol that has been nurtured by protective tariffs and government mandates in the United States.

But the agreement has already begun to prompt complaints from politicians from corn-producing regions of the United States. They fear that the plan would lead to an increase in imports of cheap foreign ethanol and undercut American producers.

By increasing ethanol production and consumption, particularly in countries that produce sugar, officials of the Bush administration hope to reduce the region’s overall dependence on foreign oil and to take some of the pressure off oil prices.
Of course ethanol produced from sugar is the only reasonable way of creating this bio-energy. Using corn for ethanol is inefficient, expensive, and robs the world of food supply. But you know that ADM will be exerting all the pressure possible to stop or limit such a deal.

All in all, this deal is not necessarily a bad thing except to the degree that it delays the U.S. from facing the real problem of being a petroleum based economy. But if we're going to go the ethanol route, at least in the short term, this is a better way to do it than corn.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
We replace our dependence on the Middle East with dependence on South America. Only in Republican-land does this make sense.