How much corn do we need to grow to use ethanol?
According to how stuff works it takes 26.1 lbs of corn to make 1 gallon of ethanol.
Through research performed at Cornell University, we know one acre of land can yield approximately 7,110 pounds of corn, which can be processed into 328 gallons of ethanol.
Using a Toyota Camry, the best-selling car in the USA, averages 30mpg on the hwy and one gallon of gas is equal to 1.5 gallons of ethanol; you get approximately 20mpg on ethanol.
Let's say the average mile driven per car in the USA is around 13,000. That takes about two acres of corn.
According to the University of Missouri, about 70 million acres are used to grow corn in 2004. So if all the corn was used to fuel cars we could equal 35 million cars could run off the current level. Granted, no more nachos.
I have tried to find a consensus of how many cars there are in the USA and I get roughly 150 million. Keep in mind that the older cars and trucks will start to wear out and as new flex-fuel vehicles are available we can increase production of the sources of ethanol and get off of the Arab oil binge.
Today, nearly half of ethanol plants in the US are farmer-owned cooperatives. Additionally, a sizeable percentage of the facilities under construction are also locally controlled.
With few exceptions, corn is the primary feedstock for US ethanol production. Ethanol can also be made from other products such as grain sorghum (milo), wheat, barley, sugar cane or beets, cheese whey, and potatoes. Cellulosic feedstocks such as municipal waste or recycled products, --rice hulls, bagasse (fibrous residue from sugar cane), small diameter trees, wood chips, and switch grass--may also be used to produce ethanol, but these products are not yet utilized on a commercial scale. http://www.ethanol.org/production.html
The USA put a man on the moon. I think that we as a nation can decrease our dependence on foreign oil with technology that we have now and that will be developed in the next few years. Ethanol is not the only answer but it surely will be in the mix.
St Petersburg, FL
Apr 10 2007 - 4:58pm