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At odds on increases to CAFE standards, emergency caps on gasoline prices, and removing tax incentives for oil companies, the US Senate and the White House have found agreement over one area of energy policy: expanding ethanol. The energy bill that passed in the Senate on June 21 would boost ethanol and biofuels consumption to 36 billion gallons (860 million barrels) a year by 2022, closely matching the Bush administration’s goal of 35 billion gallons (830 million barrels) per year by 2017. Both the White House and the Senate bill’s supporters say boosting ethanol use is essential to weaning the US off foreign oil and lowering greenhouse emissions.
Too bad ethanol stands little chance of making a dent in these problems, and will likely have harmful economic and environmental effects to boot, according to two research reports issued this month.
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