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The United States is investing billions of dollars each year in subsidies and tax breaks to domestic ethanol producers in the hope that biofuels will become a major plank of an energy security and fuel diversification program.

With the "Fundamentals of a Sustabainable U.S. Biofuels Policy" policy report and research paper, the Baker Institute Energy Forum and Rice University"s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering aim to assess the value of this expensive program and its potential to meet the goal of enhancing energy security in an environmentally sustainable fashion.

The policy research seeks to identify the steps necessary to avoid unintended negative impacts on sustainable development and the environment, including deleterious impacts on domestic agriculture, surface and ground water, and overall air quality in the United States. It also addresses the daunting logistical and economic challenges of expanding biofuels supplies into the U.S. fuel system and examines the costs and benefits of different options.

Study authors were:

Pedro Alvarez
Joel G. Burken
James D. Coan
Marcelo E. Dias De Oliveira
Rosa Dominguez-Faus
Diego E. Gomez
Amy Myers Jaffe
Kenneth B. Medlock III
Susan E. Powers
Ronald Soligo
Lauren A. Smulcer