Oregon biofuel study: Slow down!

Economists from Oregon State University released a study Monday called "Biofuel Potential in Oregon: Background and Evaluation Options." It also could have been called, "Not so fast." The Albany Democrat-Herald sifted through the report and offers these conclusions:
  • Per unit of energy, corn ethanol is estimated to cost 750 percent more than gasoline
  • Canola biodiesel is estimated to cost 125 percent more than petroleum diesel
  • Cellulosic wood-based ethanol is nearly 200 percent higher than gasoline
  • Other avenues aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions are more cost effective than a shift to biofuels
  • If Oregon produced 50 million gallons each of corn and wood ethanol and 2 million gallons of canola biodiesel, net energy would be just over 1 percent of the annual consumption of oil energy.
  • That same production would only reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by just one-eighth of 1 percent.
The report had other cautious notes concerning farm acreage needed. Finally, the economists offered a sobering point: raising the average motor vehicle fuel economy just 1mpg would have the same effect has three or four corn ethanol plants or 13 biodiesel plants. Remember, that's just for Oregon. Think of what a similar move would do for the entire country.

You can find the entire report here.

[Source: Albany Democrat Herald]

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