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Source: Competitive Enterprise Institute news release

A new report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute reveals massive food and land costs stemming from government rules mandating use of corn ethanol for fuel.

An initial CEI report released two years ago predicted that the United States did not have enough cropland to replace gasoline use with corn-based ethanol without dire consequences. The data since then have proven those findings correct, with radically higher food prices and a massive loss of forests and grasslands as a result.

"Even I have been astounded at the swift onset of food shortages and high crop prices which have ensued since expanding ethanol production," said CEI Adjunct Scholar and study author Dennis Avery, in "Biofuels, Food, or Wildlife? The Massive Land Costs of U.S. Ethanol."

According to the World Bank, global food prices have increased by an average of 83 percent over the 36 months to April 2008, during which time the United States diverted ever increasing amounts of corn into ethanol. At the same time, European nations were increasingly diverting rapeseed and imported palm oil into biodiesel, and the Canadian province of Saskatchewan was building plants to ferment more than 1.4 million tons of wheat per year into wheat ethanol.

The World Bank's analysis shows that, from 2004 to 2007, global corn production increased by 51 million tons, biofuel use in the U.S. increased by 50 million tons, and global consumption for all other uses increased by 33 million tons-causing global stocks to decline by 30 million tons. In other words, biofuels have made the world use more corn than it can sustainably produce, creating massive food price hikes.

"How much longer will policy makers continue to pay farmers and rural bankers to invest in biofuel programs that create food inflation, aggravate fuel costs, and increase greenhouse gas emissions?" asks Avery. "How many farmers are still buying land at inflated prices, clearing woodlots and draining wetlands to plant more corn? Waiting will only make everything worse. The biofuels mandates must be repealed, and the sooner the better.

Watch the video: "The Simpleton's Guide to Ethanol."

Read more on energy issues at and

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information about CEI, please visit our website at

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