The drive to put biofuels in our petrol tanks is helping to increase food prices.
Analysists report that wheat prices are rocketing to historic heights due to a smaller (global) wheat crop and the damage caused by the adverse weather conditions.
Demand for growing biofuel crops e.g. rape seed and maize, takes up crop space. Wheat can also be used to produce ethanol by fermentation. In July of this year, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the United Nations reported that commodity prices have been blamed on increasing demand for biofuels and could result in higher livestock prices as a result of higher feed costs.
Recent research shows that the grain required to fill the petrol tank of a Range Rover with ethanol is sufficient to feed one person for a year. Assuming that the tank is refilled every two weeks, the amount of grain required would feed a hungry African village for a year. Mileage for ethanol is about 70% of the mileage for petrol.
Meeting EU Directive 2003/30EC requirement of 5.75% target for transportation biofuels by 2010 would require a quarter of the EU’s arable land. Germany and France have announced they intend to to meet the target well before the deadline. “Nothing is so bad that the EU cannot make worse” would be a cynic’s response! With just 10% of the world’s sugar harvest being converted to ethanol, the price of sugar has doubled. The poor who spend a large proportion of their income on food will suffer because of the impact of biofuels.
Many are calling biofuels “deforestation diesel”, the very opposite of the environmentally friendly fuel that all are seeking.