Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Contextor reads the ag news...

Contextor - a really strange being from another planet - with the decidedly non-super power of being able to put data points in context, found this stray statistic in the news.
Yet another so-called "study" about the impact of corn-based ethanol on the nation's food supply has been issued. Like the others, its authors choose facts that support their opinion, and disregard everything else. Once again we're told ethanol has little impact on the nation's dependence on foreign oil and is driving up food prices. "Impact," we guess, is a relative term. Ethanol is replacing 200 million barrels of imported oil per year. With the price of oil above $80/barrel, ethanol's impact on oil imports alone is more than $16 billion dollars. [More]
"Hmm", muses Contextor. "Sixteen billion dollars is a lot of money. I could pay off my credits cards and buy some bling for my uniform. But for the whole US it may look different. We import 3,700,000,000 barrels of oil every year. Using the same $80/barrel price means our imported oil cost is $296 B. So ethanol's impact is a little over 5% per year."

Numbers for a whole country like the US are really big. It's good to remember this.

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