Skip to main content

True or False: Ethanol

Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

True or False: It takes about seven barrels of oil to make eight barrels of ethanol.

The answer is: TRUE.

Despite being pitched as an alternative to oil, the ethanol production process actually depends on oil to work, leading some to claim that ethanol is actually boosting demand for oil, not curbing our appetite for it.

In the words of the Cato Institute, "It takes a lot of petroleum...to produce and distribute corn and turn it into moonshine - about seven barrels of oil to produce eight barrels of corn-based ethanol."

The different forms the oil takes include diesel fuel, fertilizer, plastics and pesticides, Cato says, adding that you get less energy from the eight ethanol barrels than you do from the seven oil barrels. The reason: The fuel economy of a car drops when it runs on Ethanol, so you need more Ethanol to match the energy you get from oil -- which means you need more oil to make that extra Ethanol.

(Source: Cato Institute; Co-op America) E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print