Politicians Drunk on Ethanol, The State Religion
American legislators and policymakers seem oblivious to the scientific and economic realities of ethanol production. Brazil and other major sugar cane-producing nations enjoy significant advantages over the U.S. in producing ethanol, including ample agricultural land, warm climates amenable to vast plantations and on-site distilleries that can process cane immediately after harvest.
Thus, in the absence of cost-effective, domestically available sources for producing ethanol, rather than using corn, it would make far more sense to import ethanol from Brazil and other countries that can produce it efficiently — and also to remove the 54-cents-per-gallon tariff on Brazilian ethanol imports.
Our politicians may be drunk with the prospect of corn-derived ethanol, but if we don't adopt policies based on science and sound economics, it is consumers around the world who will suffer the hangover.
From an editorial in the LA Times (free subscription may be required) "Why Ethanol Backfires"