The biggest problem the United States faces today when we talk about becoming energy independent is replacing the gas we use to power our vehicles. When we talk about replacing gasoline as the fuel we use to power our vehicles, biomass, hydrogen, and fuel cells are the three most talked about alternatives. Biomass, which is organic material made from plants and animals, contains stored energy from the sun. Biomass in the form of bio fuels can be used to make the same products as those we make from fossil fuels. Its main advantages over fossil fuels are that bio fuels are better for the environment and can be produced right here in the United States. Although some experts complain that bio fuels release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is a greenhouse gas that causes global warming, they are actually carbon dioxide neutral. This is because the growing of the plants used in biomass production take in as much carbon dioxide as the bio fuels let out. Some experts as well as lobbyist for the farming industry are pushing ethanol from corn as the replacement for gasoline. While we believe every alternative to gasoline should be explored, using corn to produce ethanol is not a good idea. There are many reasons for this reasoning. First of all producing ethanol from corn is energy negative. This means it takes more energy in the process of growing, cultivating, harvesting, and transporting of the corn used in the production of ethanol and in the converting of the corn to ethanol than the energy we would get out of the end product. In fact some experts believe it takes up to seventy percent more energy to convert corn to ethanol than the energy we get from it. Also using corn to make ethanol would deplete our food supply of corn. Already ethanol plants consume twelve percent of our nation’s corn production with very modest reductions in our oil consumption. Since corn is used in many of the foods and drinks we consume daily, from cereals...
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