Ethanol energy efficient, says USDA

by Emily Wilson
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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — A new U.S. Department of Agriculture study has confirmed the energy efficiency of ethanol and its positive role in reducing U.S. dependence on imported oil.

"This new research shows that ethanol is a valuable energy source," Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said.

The report concludes that ethanol production is energy efficient because it yields 34% more energy than is used in growing and harvesting the maize and distilling it into ethanol.

Ethanol production has grown in the United States from a few million gallons in the late 1970s to about 1.8 billion gallons in 2001 (6.8 billion liters), spurred by national energy security concerns, new federal gasoline standards and government incentives. Most ethanol is produced from maize.