Is corn-based ethanol good for us?
Depends on who you ask.
The University of Minnesota recently released a study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, suggesting that corn-based ethanol is about the same as gasoline in terms of energy but may in fact be worse for the environment in terms of air quality. The University of Nebraska countered with a study, published by the Journal of Industrial Ecology, that suggests corn-based ethanol has made huge progress in increasing its energy efficiency and has significantly reduced carbon emissions, such that it is a better alternative than gasoline. Both Minnesota and Nebraska are corn-rich states, and both have a large corn-based ethanol industry, though the U of M has been accused of being anti-corn ethanol (by the corn and ethanol industries). Each study includes different variables, which may account for some of the difference in outcome. Both articles are linked below.
For more information, see:
Climate change and health costs of air emissions from biofuels and gasoline
National Corn Grower Association's take on articles, plus link to Nebraska article
U study: Corn no better than gas
New study praises corn as source for ethanol
Five reasons corn ethanol won't save the planet