Obama on Ethanol: Supports Corn, Taxes Sugar Cane

For an enviro-type, it’s difficult if not impossible to support Barack Obama when he claims we should be giving ample taxpayer support to growing corn for ethanol, but should not allow Brazil to sell its sugar cane ethanol in this country free of tariff….even though sugar cane ethanol is a far more efficient fuel.

That’s according to The New York Times (here):

Corn ethanol generates less than two units of energy for every unit of
energy used to produce it, while the energy ratio for sugar cane is
more than 8 to 1. With lower production costs and cheaper land prices
in the tropical countries where it is grown, sugar cane is a more
efficient source.

I hate to have to agree with the National Review on anything, but they rightly criticize Obama for backing subsidies to grow corn for ethanol in the Midwest. All the while Obama enthusiastically supports taxing the importation of ethanol from Brazil, which requires no subsidy, is a better fuel, environmentally speaking, and doesn’t crowd out land better used for food crops.  Stuttaford writes:

The Times
goes on to report that Obama "talk[s] regularly about developing
switchgrass, which flourishes in the Midwest and Great Plains, as a
source for ethanol." So he should. It’s promising, but not for years,
much like the drilling for oil off the U.S. coast that Obama opposes
partly because it will, uh, take too long.
Odd, that.

Argggg. My political innocence is getting pounded. Here’s Obama speaking at the Corn Palace in South Dakota, thanks to John Haroldson.


Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

2 thoughts on “Obama on Ethanol: Supports Corn, Taxes Sugar Cane

  1. I can understand your frustration; when I read that Sen. Obama was supporting tarrifs on Brazilian ethanol and subsidies on American corn-based ethanol, I was dissappointed. Obama is right to support development of cellulose-based ethanol, but should recognize that being dependent on Brazil is not the same as being dependent on Saudi Arabia. I hope that the environmental lobby will push Sen. Obama to change his views.


  2. Brazil actually does subsidize the production of ethanol from sugarcane and has spent billions of dollars to achieve independence from importing oil. The US tariff is just a tax to offset the tax credit to blenders. Brazilian ethanol would qualify for the tax credit so the border tax just offsets it. Eliminating the border tax would force the US to subsidize Brazilian ethanol with the tax credit.


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