No time to hinder on ethanol production

With dire news reports out of Libya sending skittish oil markets higher and higher, and predictions that Americans will face five-dollars a gallon gasoline, representatives of the U.S. ethanol industry warned that Congressional maneuvers to block already-approved levels of ethanol from reaching the market would only worsen the impact of high fuel prices. Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, believes some in Congress would have us continue a policy that would keep us addicted to foreign oil – even as political upheaval in the Mid East and North Africa push gas prices up to a prediction of 5-dollars a gallon.

Buis warns this is no time for Congress to block the only commercially-viable alternative we have to foreign oil – American ethanol. Action to block E15 and block the installation of blender pumps is the wrong move at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. He adds, if the nation were to fully adopt E15, it would mean American ethanol would displace a full tanker of foreign oil imported daily to the United States.

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted legislation that would inhibit the movement of American-made ethanol into the U.S. fuels market. Buis says, the House amendments have no place in law. We are urging the Senate to oppose any similar efforts when they take up the spending bill on their return.

(This article was posted at

Our take:
High oil prices won’t only hit our wallets at the gas pump. According to information from World Bank economists, it will be the primary driver in rising food costs in the grocery aisle. Since fossil energy is a cost at every step of the way from the farm field to the factories and kitchens that finish our food products to the trucks that deliver the goods and the cost of heating and lighting our groceries and restaurants–and it goes beyond food rippling out to retail trades that depend on people willing to drive to them and open their wallets. The turmoil in the Middle East will drive up the price and/or reduce the profit margins for every business in America.

The solution is alternative energy, to diffuse the price sensitivity of our economy to oil spikes. Not only does Congress need to go full steam ahead on E15 and blender pumps, but also develop domestically powered electric generation and heating alternatives (Solar, wind, nuclear, natural gas).

We need a big picture solution, and grain ethanol and soy-oil biodiesel are an important part of it.


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