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Michigan ethanol: Do some research and vote on whether producers should get a tax break

The Michigan Legislature wants to give ethanol producers in the state preferential tax treatment.  This gasoline substitute is viewed as an alternative to gasoline for our cars.  A main component is corn.

In a post yesterday, I wrote about how the Michigan House of Representatives provided unanimous support to a tax break bill for ethanol producers even though this fuel might not deliver what's hoped for. 

The question:
Should ethanol and other renewable fuel producers be given a tax break or could this developing industry be better served by letting a free market decide?

My knowledge about the fuel is still elementary.  Here are some links to info that I will be exploring for answers:

  • Michigan's senior United States Carl Levin shares how he feels our state's future is tied to the production of ethanol.  He says major investment is need to make sure this happens.
  • Gov. Jennifer Granholm talks about construction in Michigan of an ethanol plant where the fuel would include wood chips as a key ingredient, rather than corn.
  • Wikipedia talks about whether ethanol results in a net energy gain or loss.  How much energy is used in the production of the corn or other material?  In the end will more energy be consumed by ethanol production?  What's the gain?
  • UPDATED:  Wall Street Journal says bio-fuels like ethanol are more harmful to the environment than fossil fuels.
  • UPDATED:  Wall Street Journal looks at sugarcane as a source for ethanol versus the more popular use of corn.

Does anybody have other links to share, either pro or con about ethanol?

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