Letter to the Editor: Don't bash ethanol
BY Terry A. Ruse, Tulsa
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
1/30/13 at 7:41 AM
Contrary to Andrew P. Morriss ("Ethanol scam driving up food prices," Jan. 11) ethanol production doesn't "drive up food prices."
Food inflation rates have averaged 2.95 percent per year since 2005, the year Congress first adopted the Renewable Fuel Standard encouraging the use of ethanol, versus 3.47 percent, 1980-2004.
Only 14 percent of the average household's food bill pays for raw agricultural ingredients such as corn. Eighty-six percent of their food bill pays for energy, transportation, processing, packaging and marketing.
Moreover, it's misleading to say "40 percent of the U.S. corn crop is now used for ethanol rather than food." Ethanol production uses field corn, not sweet corn, which is intended for human consumption. One-third of every bushel of grain processed into ethanol is returned as high protein, animal feed.
Nor does ethanol production require "roughly as much energy as the ethanol contains." In fact, for every 1 unit of energy invested in producing ethanol, 1.9 to 2.3 units of energy are created.
"Vastly inferior to gasoline?" "Harm(s) the environment?" Ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent to 60 percent compared to gasoline.
From 2000 through 2012, ethanol use increased from 1 percent to 10 percent of U.S. gasoline supply, while dependence on foreign crude oil and products fell from 60 percent to 41 percent, reducing our reliance on foreign petroleum.
Perhaps Morriss should remember the old adage: "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt."
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