Press release

Biofuels - At What Cost?

October 18, 2007

Government Support for Ethanol and Biodiesel in the United States: 2007 Update


Launch Event

  • Where? The German Marshall Fund of the United States 1700 18 Street, NW; Washington, D.C. 20009

  • When? 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 23, 2007 Lunch will be served at 12:00 p.m.

RSVP: Please contact Ulrike Leis at (202) 745 6667 or at "Biofuels: At What Cost? Government Support for Ethanol and Biodiesel in the United States – 2007 Update" is available under embargo upon request. Please contact: Javed Ahmad at

A launch event, hosted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, will see the release of the latest report in this series, the study on U.S. government support for biofuels in the U.S.: "Biofuels: At What Cost? Government Support for Ethanol and Biodiesel in the United States – 2007 Update." This report, which updates the GSI's report issued last October, details the extent of the current government support to biofuels in the United States, and analyzes the impact of forthcoming legislation, namely the Energy and Farm Bills.


Biofuels production and consumption has surged dramatically over a short period of time – globally, production of both ethanol and biodiesel has grown at double-digit rates in each of the last four years. A host of emerging concerns have arisen as a result, including impacts on food supplies, the environment, and economies.

While increasing attention has been paid to the potentially negative consequences resulting from the biofuels boom, there has been relatively little focus on the forces driving the expansion. It is critical to understand that the rapid growth of the biofuels industry has not been solely in response to market forces; rather, government policies, such as subsidies and mandated use of biofuels, have been the key driving factors. A series of reports by the Global Subsidies Initiative, a division of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, reveal the scale and shape of that government support in the United States, the European Union, and other selected OECD countries.

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.