The Dismal state of biofuels policy

Carlisle F Runge, Robbin S. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Several countries are working to develop the new policies promoting new non-petroleum-based clean energy to meet their energy demands. President Obama has called for an increase in the currently mandated level of biofuel production, from 36 billion gallons by 2022, including 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol, to 60 billion gallons by 2030. Earth Track founder Douglas Koplow reports that if current laws are maintained until 2022, the biofuels industry will receive more than $60 billion per year in subsidies, more than six times the $9.5 billion in support received in 2008. The cumulative subsidies between 2018 and 2022 are expected to total $420 billion. Congress intended that corn would be used for only 15 of the 36 billion gallons of mandated ethanol production. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that production capacity for cellulosic biofuel will be 291.4 million gallons by 2012, compared with a mandated 1,000 million gallons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalIssues in Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011


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