The new energy bill passed by the house is counterproductive in a couple of ways.
- It provides $2.7 billion in tax breaks to encourage domestic oil production. That might sound good, but the effect will be to hasten the time when there is no more oil to be had in the US. Wouldn't it be better to have some domestic oil in reserve for an emergency instead of using it all on gas-guzzling SUVs today?
- It requires refiners to use 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol annually, double the current production, by 2012. Why is that counter-productive? Because making ethanol takes more energy than is produced when you burn it...by a whopping amount. According to a recent study conducted by researchers at Cornell and Berkely:
- Corn requires 29 percent more fossil energy to produce than can be extracted from it (as ethanol)
- Switch grass requires 45 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced
- Wood biomass requires 57 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced.
- soybean plants requires 27 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced, and
- sunflower plants requires 118 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced.
- There are tax credits for buying gas-electric hybrid cars, but (1) these cars are selling as fast as they can be manufactured, without any subsidy, and (2) the newest, and hottest-selling hybrid cars offer no fuel-saving advantage over existing gasoline engines. Instead, these new cars spend increased efficiency on increased power, not better mileage.