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The Economic Potential of Second-Generation Biofuels: Implications for Social Welfare, Land Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Illinois

  • Chen, Xiaoguang
  • Khanna, Madhu
  • Onal, Hayri

This paper develops a dynamic micro-economic land use model that maximizes social welfare and internalizes externality from greenhouse gas emissions to obtain the optimal land use allocation for traditional row crops and bioenergy crops (corn stover, miscanthus and switchgrass), the mix of cellulosic feedstocks and fuel and food prices. We use this carbon tax policy as a benchmark to compare the implications of existing biofuel policies on land use, social welfare and the environment for the 2007-2022 period. The model is operationalized using yields of perennial grasses obtained from a biophysical model, county level data on yields of traditional row crops and production costs for row crops and bioenergy crops in Illinois. We show that a carbon tax policy that is directly related to carbon intensity of fuels can generate the highest social welfare among alternative policy scenarios. The existing ethanol tax credits result in substantial deadweight losses and higher GHG emissions as compared to the baseline. Ethanol blending mandates with subsidies lead to further welfare losses and higher GHG emissions. To meet advanced biofuel blending mandates, corn stover and miscanthus are used but the mix of viable cellulosic feedstocks varies spatially and temporally. Corn stover is viable mainly in central and northern Illinois while miscanthus acres are primarily concentrated on southern Illinois. The blending mandates lead to a significant shift in acreage from soybeans and pasture to corn and a change in crop rotation and tillage practices.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/49484
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Paper provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its series 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin with number 49484.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea09:49484
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  1. Harry de Gorter & David R. Just, 2008. "The Economics of a Blend Mandate for Biofuels," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(3), pages 738-750.
  2. Gallagher, Paul W. & Shapouri, Hosein & Price, Jeffrey & Schamel, Guenter & Brubaker, Heather, 2003. "Some Long-Run Effects of Growing Markets and Renewable Fuel Standards on Additives Markets and the U.S. Ethanol Industry," Staff General Research Papers 10648, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  3. Khanna, Madhu & Onal, Hayri & Chen, Xiaoguang & Huang, Haixiao, 2008. "Meeting Biofuels Targets: Implications for Land Use, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Nitrogen Use in Illinois," Environmental and Rural Development Impacts Conference, October 15-16, 2008, St. Louis, Missouri 53491, Farm Foundation, Transition to a Bio Economy Conferences.
  4. Vedenov, Dmitry & Wetzstein, Michael, 2008. "Toward an optimal U.S. ethanol fuel subsidy," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 2073-2090, September.
  5. Malcolm, Scott A., 2008. "Weaning Off Corn: Crop Residues and the Transition to Cellulosic Ethanol," Environmental and Rural Development Impacts Conference, October 15-16, 2008, St. Louis, Missouri 53500, Farm Foundation, Transition to a Bio Economy Conferences.
  6. Ralph Alig & Darius Adams & Bruce McCarl & J. Callaway & Steven Winnett, 1997. "Assessing effects of mitigation strategies for global climate change with an intertemporal model of the U.S. forest and agriculture sectors," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 9(3), pages 259-274, April.
  7. de Gorter Harry & Just David R, 2008. "The Economics of the U.S. Ethanol Import Tariff with a Blend Mandate and Tax Credit," Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 1-23, December.
  8. Gardner Bruce, 2007. "Fuel Ethanol Subsidies and Farm Price Support," Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-22, December.
  9. Ian W. H. Parry & Kenneth A. Small, 2005. "Does Britain or the United States Have the Right Gasoline Tax?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1276-1289, September.
  10. Farzad Taheripour, 2008. "Welfare Effects and Unintended Consequences of Ethanol Subsidies ," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 30(3), pages 411-421.
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