The debate over biofuels is set to become one of the most defining issues of our times. Put simply it will be a battle between the people being able to drive and those being able to eat.
Of course it’s not that simple, but the warning signs are there already. Because the demand for biofuels is already making food more expensive.
Over the last year wholesale corn prices in the US have roughly doubled. The reason for the surging price, reports the BBC, is increasing demand from refineries that are buying corn to turn it into ethanol.
“We are using 20% of our corn for ethanol,” says Roy Huckabay, executive vice president of the Linn Group, which advises commodity investors. “When the energy markets went bananas over the last year, the value of corn as an energy source sky-rocketed.”
This demand for biofuels will have consequences many people are just beginning to understand. In Mexico, there have already been street demonstrations about the rising cost of tortillas, which are made from corn. In Illinois, the price of land is increasing. One thing is certain the price of food will increase too. One farmer told the BBC: “”I think that cheap food is history”.