Yes. It requires more energy to grow the corn and make ethanol than the energy saved using ethanol instead of gasoline. According to Cornell University scientist and agricultural expert David Pimental, the energy required to make a gallon of ethanol, from the growth of the corn through the production process, is 131,000 BTU but that same gallon of ethanol only produces 77,000 BTU when combusted. It also costs about $1.74/gallon to make ethanol versus $.95/gallon for fossil fuels.
The demand and subsidies for growing corn has caused farmers to over-irrigate and over-fertilize, exhausting the soil and hurting the water supplies that suffer from the run-off. Meanwhile, the corn that could be feeding people or animals is going to ethanol production.
Some scientists have found that ethanol is efficient to produce but the negative impact on the farmland is indisputable. Additionally, the amount of corn required to make the ethanol for one car to drive 10,000 miles in a year (most people drive more than that) could feed 7 people.
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