Oil price, biofuels and food supply
The price of oil could play a significant role in influencing the expansion of biofuels, but this issue has yet to be fully investigated in the literature. Using a global computable general equilibrium (CGE) model, this study analyzes the impact of oil price on biofuel expansion, and subsequently, on food supply. The study shows that a 65% increase in oil price in 2020 from the 2009 level would increase the global biofuel penetration to 5.4% in 2020 from 2.4% in 2009. If oil prices rise 150% from their 2009 levels by 2020, the resulting penetration of biofuels would be 9%, which is higher than that would be caused by current mandates and targets introduced in more than forty countries around the world. The study also shows that aggregate agricultural output drops due to an oil price increase, but the drop is small in major biofuel producing countries as the expansion of biofuels would partially offset the negative impacts of the oil price increase on agricultural outputs. An increase in oil price would reduce global food supply through direct impacts as well as through the diversion of food commodities and cropland towards the production of biofuels.
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