Biofuels might not be as clean as you thought, and they certainly aren’t carbon-neutral. The common thinking goes that crops used to make ethanol and biodiesel suck CO2 out of the air and turn it into a gas substitute. Then, when you fill up your car and take it for a spin, all you’re doing is releasing that carbon back into the atmosphere, not generating new emissions.
But for many years, environmentalists and academics have said that biofuels, depending on how they are cultivated and processed, could still lead to plenty of emissions and other environmental impacts. Now new research out of the University of Michigan shows how bad it is: In fact, biofuels might actually be worse, carbon-wise, than fossil fuels, it says.