The Great Corn Debate
Opponent: David Pimentel
ENVI Can corn-based ethanol help make the country foreign-oil independent?

PIMENTEL Not using our data but using Department of Energy data, at least last year, 20 percent of U.S. corn went in to produce ethanol and provided us with 5 billion gallons of ethanol. And you ask what does that mean to total petroleum use in the U.S.? Less than one percent. Is this making us oil independent? No. In fact we're importing oil from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere to produce ethanol. And then look at the money we've spent. Six billion dollars each year in subsidies for ethanol. Those subsidies for ethanol are 90 times — and I emphasize that — 90 times the subsidies for a gallon of gasoline. That just illustrates where this thing is being driven. Money. Big money.

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The Advocate's Argument

David Pimentel
Professor at the
College of Agriculture
and Life Sciences,
Cornell University
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