Ethanol induced food shortages

Many have predicted that the demand for corn to create ethanol will raise food prices and lead to shortages. To catch headlines, the Times focuses on one casualty of ethanol cars the french fry mobiles (I call them that because they smell like fries if you find yourself behind one on the road):

What’s the connection between ethanol, the biofuel produced from corn, and a cherry vanilla ice-cream?

Answer: the first is responsible for pushing up the price of the other.

This month, the price of milk in the United States surged to a near-record in part because of the increasing costs of feeding a dairy herd. The corn feed used to feed cattle has almost doubled in price in a year as demand has grown for the grain to produce ethanol.

Ice cream is cute, but the real story behind this story is that demand on corn is going to increase the price for everything we need to eat: meat, chicken, milk, you name it. Those driving ethanol powered green cars french fry mobiles, if they really have a social conscience, would do better to walk.

Hat tip: Drudge

UPDATE:  SugarDog Fox reminded me that I confused ethanol with bio-diesel.  My basic point remains the same, but I feel silly, and have corrected my post accordingly.


8 Responses

  1. Get out of the way of the innovators – they’ll innovate. (And tell Big Al to forget the $%$##@$!! electric car!)

  2. So long as Moore and Al gets their delicacies, what do they care. Just another tax on the Fast Food Americans in their viewpoint; and the viewpoint of everyone else.

  3. I hate milk price inflation.

  4. I believe you have confused/conflated ethanol with bio-diesel. If ethanol smells like anything, its Everclear.

  5. One point of contention with what you said – a “French Fry” mobile uses used or waste oil, which would otherwise be thrown away. As SugarDog notes, this is different from ethanol, which is made from unprocessed grains that would otherwise be used for human or animal (e.g. dairy cow) foods.

  6. You’re absolutely right, SugarDog Fox. I’ll correct the post.

  7. Instapundit has a link to some interesting info on cellosic ethanol. One of the commenters suggested that kudzu could be a source.

  8. Cooking oils and petroleum oils do not mix. You can burn either separately but not mixed.

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