Prime time for ethanol
In the United States there are at least 250 million fossil fuel-burning registered road vehicles, and about six million big trucks. Add in another 100 million small ICEs, like lawn mowers, snowmobiles, power boats, etc.
Then there are a couple hundred thousand small planes and several thousand commercial jets. These add up to perhaps 30 terawatts of installed fossil-fueled power, or about 100kw for every American. That’s the energy equivalent of a thousand human slaves each.
There isn’t enough land on Earth to grow the corn and soybeans to make enough ethanol and biodiesel to dent that fuel demand. And there are all the fossil fuels needed to prepared the soil, grow and fertilize the crops, and then process them into biofuels. That’s why biofuels need direct subsidies and mandates like renewable fuel standards. With fossil fuels, nature did most of the work.
Demand for ethanol corn did raise the corn price and gave farmers a decent price for their crop, requiring fewer corn-crop subsidies. Biofuels have a place, but it’s time for them to stand on their own.