National Geographic : 2014 Oct
Feed Feed FERMENTATION OF FOOD CROPS Oil Biodiesel Ethanol Ethanol Biomass-to- liquid (BTL) fuels Soy Palm Rapeseed Corn Wheat Cassava Sugar beet Sugarcane Softwood Hardwood Miscanthus Switchgrass Starch Sugar Lignocellulose PRODUCT RAW MATERIAL U.S. CORN SUPPLY BIODIESEL 2001 2011 2011 billion gallons ETHANOL U.S. BRAZIL OTHERS 61% 26% 13% 30 0 10 20 1994 2012 8% 34% U.S. MEXICO 7% 25% 2012 1994 Exports Food Ethanol 39.9% 4.6% 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 14 billion bushels 95% MEXICO’S CORN DILEMMA CHEMICAL MODIFICATION OF NONFOOD CROPS 2000 2005 2011 No change 50% 100% 150% increase Tortilla price Minimum wage 4% 99% SOURCES WORLD BIOFUEL PRODUCTION GRAPHIC: ÁLVARO VALIÑO. SOURCES: TIMOTHY A. WISE, TUFTS UNIVERSITY; FAO; USDA ECONOMIC RESEARCH SERVICE; INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY PORTION OF INCOME SPENT ON FOOD IN 2011 OF U.S.-PRODUCED ETHANOL IS CON- SUMED IN THE U.S. RISE IN TORTILLA PRICES OUTPACED RISE IN MINIMUM WAGE Percentage change since 2000 Mexicans spend three times more of their income on food than Americans do. Mexico’s urban poor spend an even higher share. A leading producer of sugar, Brazil uses half of its supply to make ethanol. Unlike corn, sugar is not a staple crop. From 2005 to 2011 the price of tortillas in Mexico rose nearly 70 percent, fueling the 2007 riots that led to government price controls. Experts estimate that increased U.S. ethanol production accounted for over 30 percent of the price spike. Corn accounts for roughly 60 percent of the final cost of tortillas, a staple food for mil- lions of Mexicans.