"It can be disorienting to discover that reputable researchers can so seriously disagree on a single number. In an article last month, the Toledo Blade counted studies, as if that might help settle things. The newspaper noted Prof. Pimentel's work, and added, 'Five other researchers have done studies and agree. Thirteen other studies, including one paid for by the Department of Energy, show the opposite.'"I guess I don't find this disagreement surprising. After all, I've written here on numerous occasions that when science and politics meet, politics wins.
Perhaps in this issue we can once again see the beauty in the economic analysis of public policy. A sure way of discovering if ethanol is "efficient" is to let the market test the hypothesis.