It started when the government wanted an idea to look good. It had to be something that would look like they are trying to fix the energy crisis, but it has to be totally ineffective. So they came up with the harebrained idea of taking our corn and using it for biofuel. That not only would use as much oil to create the energy equivalent in ethanol, but it would take corn from the food system. Corn prices would go up, as would prices of anything that is made from corn.
It would also affect other commodities. Land that used to produce wheat, cotton, vegetables, and soy is used to plant corn instead for the stupid biofuel program. That would create shortages of those commodities as well. It spills into eggs, milk, and most meats that eat corn and/or wheat. The pigs that came up with that program wanted it that way, because they could then mitigate (not totally eliminate) the resultant economic crisis, and look good while appearing to save the planet from global warming (which idea is hogwash: SUVs cannot warm Mars).
I have also noticed, for all the energy independence rallies, that there is not one drop of interest in nuclear power. The technology needs to improve to extract energy from the radioactive wastes until it becomes safe to have a reactor in your backyard and one in mine. Nuclear fusion has not gotten any attention, either, except for building nuclear bombs. I also think solar, tidal, wind, geothermal, and hydro power are underutilized. And they have the audacity to pick the one "solution" that is going to waste more oil than it saves, plus push food prices up. Now we have two problems, for the price of one.
No No NO NO NO NO NO.
BioFuels have little to nothing to do with increasing food costs.
FAIR NOTICE: I work mainly for the Ethanol industy (but also for Oil and Gas suppliers, I have a pretty good picture of this)
#1 Is rising standards of living in China and India (BILLIONS of new consumers who are eating more than a ball of cold rice now)
#2 Is fuel costs. Due to plateau of known supplies, the known high cost of recovering known resevoirs, the rampant speculation this future shortage scenario creates, and yes, the Billions of Chinese and Indians that want to burn the same gas soon.
#3 The depressed dollar. Lots of reasons for that, rampant debt and viable competing currencies are big ones.
Ethanol is the best possible replacement for Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether MTBE (a fuel oxygenate and octane booster, Google it). It is NOT, and never has been a "replacement" for gasoline. If you don't like the taste ot MTBE in your drinking water, you like Ethanol, end of story (we ALL like the taste of Ethanol! mmm). Cellulosic ethanol could make a nice dent, but its more important to have competing products with gasoline than to displace huge amounts of gasoline off the market. You want fuel diversity, read an economics book sometime.
Ethanol production from Corn does NOTHING other than divert starch to fuel that otherwise would be fed, nearly uselessly, to ruminant animals. Ruminants do not need Starch, they need fats and protein. ALL of the fats and protein from the corn gets fed to ruminants as Dry Distillers Grains and Solubles (DDGS). If you expect that humans will still eat meat, virtually no meaningful amount of 'food' has been diverted from the food chain. If you want to observe that producing and eating meat is a very inefficient way to feed people, no shit sherlock, but that's about McDonalds, not Ethanol.
Congratulations, you now have the basic information necessary to avoid chanting support of foolish causes like some JayDub, glad I could help. Yes, the solution is Nuclear. It will be done. The prospect of collecting Helium-3 from the moon to fuel fusion reactors is one of many reasons why the United States and other countries are interested in going back into interplanetary spaceflight. Stay tuned.
The energy and environment issues are very big, very real issues, but don't get too upset about the doomsday and conspiracy theorists. Of all groups of people, I shouldn't have to explain that to you guys. It is a beautiful world, and I enjoy living in it.