Why Are We Blocking Brasilian Ethanol?

Here in the States, corn ethanol is the subject of much controversy, but in Brasil, sugar ethanol has been a major success. Sugar produces much more ethanol per acre than corn crops, since producers can use the entire stalk of the sugar plant to make the biofuel (as opposed to just the kernels of the corn plant). Corn also must be converted to sugar before it's turned into ethanol, which requires more energy. As a result, sugar ethanol produces 8 units of energy for every 1 unit of fossil fuels invested in its production, while the ratio for corn ethanol is 1.3 to 1.

And Brasil says they can export billions of gallons more than they need, allowing us to abandon our pursuit of corn ethanol, which is inefficient and contributes to food price inflation. Unfortunately (and inexplicably) a 54 cent-per-gallon tax blocks most Brazilian ethanol from reaching U.S. consumers.

Meanwhile, the politicians continue to pander to corn farmers, while the consumer and the environment suffer.