Who Has Benefited The Most From Ethanol?
Ethanol has been a debate since it was introduced as the new bio fuel that would change how we drive. Unfortunately, there has been little effect because of its inefficiency and inconvenience of ethanol. People don't want a fuel that takes away 34% efficiency from their vehicle and they certainly don't want to spend the extra money upgrading their vehicle to be able to use only ethanol. Most gas stations have been mixing a small percentage of ethanol into the gasoline for years as a way to cut down on emissions. So if there isn't a huge demand for this stuff, then who benefits from it's production?
The United States of America
The United States was responsible for shipping 80% of the worlds ethanol in 2008. It is expected export 7% more in 2009. This could be one of the few great exports that the United States has left. This industry has created, in a short amount of time, hundreds of thousands of jobs around the world helping instead of hurting our economy. Plus about 70% of all of the ethanol we produce is used in the United States so even though it seems that their is nothing but negative press about ethanol, it seems to be catching on.
The production of bio fuels has impacted farmers probably more than any other industry. Some farmers have complained it has made the prices of crops drop dramatically. Others claim to have made fortunes in a short period of time. No matter how you look at it, one thing can not be challenged. The fact that the ethanol industry has increased crop production in the United States, especially in the Midwest.
This is an issue that has no cleat answers. Many attest that ethanol is actually polluting more because of the way it is produced. Many people believe that after you have run all of the farming equipment for harvesting and transportation then finally produced through industrial production. Whether this is true is hard to quantify, but it has to be considered.
Ethanol in the end is just like oil. It has its pros and cons and people will be fighting about it and over it for years to come. Hopefully this fighting will continue in a non violoent way. Either way, the beneficiaries of ethanol production are economically many. However, from an environmental standpoint, there may be no true beneficiaries.