Hummers are cars people love to hate and oil companies fill that role in the corporate sector. But who cares if you're loved when you're making $1,252 every second during 2006? That's what ExxonMobil made last year, and I assume they'll be using some of the money to defend against the latest news from the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, the new group that has set its sights on taking oil companies (and others) down a peg.

So, let's review the charges. FTCR says that a recent study released by Stanford University (that claimed ethanol produces more ozone in urban environments and cause 200 more deaths a year) should not be trusted, in part because the university gets a lot of money from ExxonMobil. Says, FTCR, the professor behind the study, Mark Jacobson, has a three-year grant from Stanford's Global Climate and Energy Program, which is funded by a $100 million donation from ExxonMobil. The ethanol study was not paid for using the oil company's money and Jacobson claims he's not biased, but FTCR says let's be wary of Jacobson's findings anyway. The science may be valid, but "the public cannot accept the results at face value when ExxonMobil has funded a major energy research program at the university and research results are in line with the giant oil firm's corporate goals," FTCR said.

I've included a video of Jacobson describing his study after the jump. In it, he shows how much land area would be needed to run all the cars in America on "high-blend ethanol" (E100) made from either corn or switchgrass. He then compares that to renewable energy sources for to power battery and hydrogen fuel cell cars, and shows that these choices are being better than ethanol.

So, that's the latest. It's a strange story, don't you think? An oil company (maybe) doesn't like ethanol, and (maybe) pays to make it look bad. There are a lot of serious environmentalists out there who don't like ethanol, and so now they're on the same side of the debate at ExxonMobil. A researcher puts out some findings and then finds himself attacked from all sides. A citizen watchdog group goes after an oil company, but this also then attacks a guy defending EVs, something most environmental activists see as the real future of the automotive industry. Sometimes things just get awkward as all heck, don't they?

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[Source: Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights]

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