Wednesday, May 21, 2008

To Feed Empty Stomachs Or To Feed Empty Fuel Tanks?

The entire world is waiting with abated breath for the fuel to touch the record price of $200 a barrel. Elsewhere a growing emphasis is being laid on growing fuel crops to combat the fuel demand. Environmentalists have jumped into the bandwagon pointing out the advantages of using alternative fuels and reducing the guilt of humanity.

Riots from people belonging to the lower economic strata in most of the nations have started to grab headlines. The cause: unable to afford a square meal due to the rising food prices. Reason: growing fuel crops is a lucrative business.

To be caught between the “Devil” and the “Deep Blue Sea” comes to mind portraying the situation in which most of the nations are in. What is their priority? To feed empty stomachs or to feed empty fuel tanks?

The farmers are being offered incentives to grow fuel crops. Corn which serves both as a food crop and a fuel crop has put the American Government in a quandary as to which purpose it has to serve. White House and the United Nations have acknowledged that the rising food prices is due to the diversion of corn into ethanol.

The rising fuel cost has resulted in a heavy emphasis being laid on increasing ethanol production. But at what cost? Empty stomachs? How does one justify offering farm subsidies for fuel crops at a time when the nation is facing acute food shortage.

The ethanol industry has responded to the impending crisis by squarely laying the onus on biotechnology to come up with the goods. Some of them have chosen to dismiss the entire brouhaha saying that the current ethanol industry is too small a portion of the global oil market to have a meaningful impact or offset higher food prices.

To feed empty stomachs or to feed empty fuel tanks? Is there a choice?

At the time of publishing this article, fuel prices had breached $130 dollar bracket. Meanwhile rising food prices has lead to unrest and violence in the third world countries.

For more in depth analysis, please check out the article by Joshua Boak


  1. Nice article rakesh..hey I recently read in an article that a top World Bank official has warned that global poverty levels could surge over the next 3years due to rising food costs and predicted no letdown in the price of rice. When empty fuel tanks are counted instead of empty stomachs...this is wat happens I think...highly materialistic thinking is a days people are used and things are loved...that's wat I feel..

  2. Nice piece of information Shilpa. Being a huge motor sport fan myself, I shudder to think about the fuel that is being spent/wasted over the weekend for practice, testing and the race itself. Nobody cares for nations that are starving. People are spending millions of dollars for staging these races. Whats the point anyway. Realization dawned late on me and how! This prompted me to come with this post hoping to awaken others to the reality.