Popular Mechanics: Ethanol Bill Bad News
Congress and the president have spoken: ethanol is America’s new renewable fuel.
Yesterday, President Bush signed into law energy bill H.R.6, which establishes a new renewable fuel standard in the United States (see Max’s earlier post). But not everyone is applauding Capitol Hill. James B. Meigs, editor-in-chief of Popular Mechanics, has railed against ethanol in an op-ed to be published in the magazine’s February 2008 issue. As Meigs points out, Washington is looking for quick fixes, not long-term solutions:
It’s great that our politicians have discovered the need for new energy technologies. But it appears that Washington is determined to put its money—our money—on the wrong horse. Right now, researchers are studying a host of energy solutions, including hydrogen, high-mileage diesel, plug-in hybrids, radical reductions in vehicle weight and cellulosic ethanol (made from cornstalks, switchgrass or other nonfood crops). It is far too soon to say which of these holds the most promise. But, instead of promoting experimentation and competition to find the best solutions, politicians seem ready to declare ethanol the winner. As a result, our nation could wind up with the worst of both worlds: an “alternative” energy that is enormously expensive yet barely saves a gallon of oil.