The rush toward ethanol might be costly in terms of food supply. That’s the word out of the agriculture industry, which is reporting a threefold increase in biofuel production from corn since 2001. For the record, the total for this fiscal year was 2.15 bushels of corn that were transformed into ethanol.
One informed observer says that ethanol demand will occupy a full 25 percent of the U.S. corn supply this year. That’s a whole lot of corn that isn’t consumed by people or, more importantly, animals. As more and more automakers embrace ethanol, that percentage will grow and grow. Some officials worry about the future of corn supplies. The U.S. Agriculture Department recently said that supplies were down 7 percent from a record high in 2005.