A Race to Hunger
SYDNEY – Spectators at February’s Daytona 500 in Florida were handed green flags to wave in celebration of the news that the race’s stock cars now use gasoline with 15% corn-based ethanol. It was the start of a season-long television marketing campaign to sell the merits of biofuel to Americans.
On the surface, the self-proclaimed “greening of NASCAR” (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) is merely a transparent (and, one suspects, ill-fated) exercise in an environmental form of whitewashing for the sport – call it “greenwashing.” But the partnership between a beloved American pastime and the biofuel lobby also marks the latest attempt to sway public opinion in favor of a truly irresponsible policy.
The United States spends about $6 billion a year on federal support for ethanol production through tax credits, tariffs, and other programs. Thanks to this financial assistance, one-sixth of the world’s corn supply is burned in American cars. That is enough corn to feed 350 million people for an entire year.