whygolong, for over 25 years the US government has had a military presence in the Middle East to protect the supply of ME oil. This has cost the US taxpayer on average $60 billion dollars per year not counting the cost of either Gulf War. On average we imported $20 to $30 billion yearly for ME oil during that period. That is part of the rather large US government subsidy for oil. We are talking well over one trillion dollars.
The corn used to produce ethanol is grown for animal feed. Producing ethanol from feed corn is a value adding process producing high protein animal feed, corn sweetners, and other byproducts plus ethanol. It would take the same amount of energy to grow the corn without the value adding processes. The distillation of ethanol from corn requires much less energy every year due to the use of enzymes and new varieties of yeast.
Soon we will start to see cellulose ethanol produced for grass producing twice the ethanol per acre as corn at a lower cost in dollars and energy than corn ethanol.
Whose side would you perfer to be on the American Farmer's or the Islamic Militant's? Recent studies claim that the US could produce 120 billion gallons of ethanol per year from biomass without impacting our ability to grow food crops. That would mean energy independence by employing additional US citizens and the end of importation of expensive and environmentally destructive oil.