Alternet has a pretty good article up about the mistaken allure of biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel. They make a point I believe I’ve stated here before; we use too much energy and simply cannot replace fossil fuels with plant derived alternatives. It can simply not be done.
The United States annually consumes more fossil and nuclear energy than all the energy produced in a year by the country’s plant life, including forests and that used for food and fiber, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Energy and David Pimentel, a Cornell University researcher.
It is pretty obvious that biofuel is a stopgap measure, meant to extend existing supplies of petroleum until other sources can be found. But what is even more obvious is that reducing our voracious appetite for fossil fuels would help stretch the dwindling supplies further. “Improving fuel efficiency in cars by just 1 mile per gallon – a gain possible with proper tire inflation – would cut fuel consumption equal to the total amount of ethanol federally mandated for production in 2012.”