I was thinking about the above when I saw this:
Blow to Ethanol: Biolectricity is Greener. By Bryan
Walsh, Time, May 10, 2009.
"Once touted as an environmental and economic cure-all, corn ethanol
has had a rough year. The collapse in grain and oil prices, preceded by
overinvestment in refineries over the past few years, badly hurt
ethanol producers. Meanwhile, environmentalists have steadily chipped
away at ethanol's green credentials. Far from being better for the
planet than gasoline, many scientists now argue that ethanol actually
has a sizable carbon footprint, because when farmers in the U.S. use
their land to grow corn for fuel rather than food, farmers in the
developing world end up cutting down more forests to pick up the slack.
Now a new study makes the case that ethanol isn't even the greenest way
to use biomass as a fuel. In an article published in the May 8 issue of Science,
researchers from the Carnegie Institution, Stanford University and the
University of California-Merced (UCM) used life-cycle analysis -- which
takes into account the entire impact of a biofuel from field to vehicle
-- to show that converting biomass to electricity (to power electric
cars) produces 80% more transportation energy than turning it into
ethanol (to power a flex-fuel car), with a carbon footprint that is
half as small."