Thursday, November 15, 2007

Back to the Future with Ethanol

Gas prices are sky high. People are skimping by just to pay energy bills. Congress and the president look to alternative energy sources for security independence. And newspapers begin to wage a campaign against corn-based fuel because it might increase food prices. 2007?

No, 1979.

In this informative essay from the American Farm Bureau Federation, Lynne Finnerty looks to the past to see how "gasohol" fought off its critics:
Then, some of the nation’s newspapers go on a campaign against federal subsidies for gasohol. An April 26, 1980, Washington Post editorial argues that further federal help for gasohol producers “will inevitably raise food prices” and calls the subsidies “wanton public policy.” Of course, the editorial doesn’t mention subsidization of the petroleum industry through billions of defense dollars spent to protect oil wells and pipelines in volatile parts of the world.

Sometime later “gasohol” became known as “ethanol.” However, ethanol today faces the same old criticism that helped deep-six gasohol and postpone our 1970s efforts toward greater energy independenc
Ethanol remains the most viable alternative to transportation fuel. The oil companies are betting that killing off corn-based ethanol will kill any more investments in cellulosic ethanol. And then we're back without any viable choices.


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