A disturbing element in the story is a comment by Chris Hurt of Purdue University. He says federal subsidies will pay for the total construction cost of an ethanol plant in just three years. Now there are thousands of people who would like to start a business that would benefit mankind, but they're not going to get their construction costs paid for by taxpayers. He suggests a variable subsidy based on the price of oil. When the price goes up, the subsidy goes down. Koplow is also concerned about the current roster of E85 vehicles that are mostly big and gas guzzling. Since fuel mileage drops dramatically with ethanol, the subsidies keep building up. Basically, it's not a very efficient way to run a program.
[Source: Seth Slabaugh / The Star Press]