So many issues should influence design. The broadest issues start at the global level. It is complex and overwhelming, and very easy to jump on the propaganda bandwagon. I also question ethanol as an alternative fuel. This cartoon is great, but it doesn't show the conservation areas, watersheds, aquifers and habitat that is damaged. Farming in this day and age is not kind to the environment. There is some native prairie grass research for ethanol being done, and I think it is something to watch. Corn for ethanol may be worse than burning coal.
I got this cartoon @ Alternative Energy Blog