Lots Of Ethanol, And More on the Way
Ah ethanol, we're never quite sure what to make of it. Sometimes we hear that ethanol is not as pointless as we thought, and then we learn that it may even be worse than its fossil-fuel brethren. But whatever our opinion, the undeniable fact is that the U.S. is producing a whole lot of it. In fact, the latest numbers tell the story:
6.48 billion gallons. That's how much ethanol - almost all of it from corn - was made in the U.S. last year, a total that comes to an average of 423,000 barrels per day. Compared to 2006, this is an increase of 34 percent. Still, more corn will be needed to reach the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007's new Renewable Fuel Standard for 2008: eight billion gallons. A problem? Not according to the Renewable Fuels Association, which says that current biorefinery capacity is 13.4 billion gallons per year. With 57 new refineries on the way, the eight billion gallons will be here before we know it.
Sounds like a lot. But to put that in perspective, in 2004 the U.S. was consuming around 20 million barrels of oil a day, meaning that last year ethanol production equaled roughly 2% of our consumption. Hmm. Wonder if someone is making a lot of money on this ethanol thing. . .
See Also: ::Cuba: Can 'Red' Ethanol Be Green?, ::One Last Kick at the Ethanol Can, ::Virgin to do Aviation Ethanol?, ::Ethanol vs. Biodiesel: Life Cycle Impacts, ::Mexico Approves Corn and Sugar Cane Ethanol Law and ::Gas Too Expensive? Dump Environmental Rules