Corn Commentary

Ethanol Enemies Post Ugly Comments

A post on the Illinois Corn Growers blog Corn Corps this week generated a slew of comments about ethanol that are as ugly as the pictures of oil-covered pelicans in the Gulf.

The Corn Corps post was about a story in “The Ethanol Monitor” (not available online) by editor Tom Waterman that listed the top 10 enemies of ethanol, as follows:

#10: Business Week/Ed Wallace (Bloomberg)
#8: “Big Oil”
#7: Grocery Manufacturers Association
#6: David Pimentel
#5: Robert Rapier
#4: Tim Searchinger
#3: Wall Street Journal (editorial board)
#2: California Air Resources Board
#1: Time Magazine (Michael Grunwald)

Robert Bryce of OilPrice found the post and did a story about it, where he seemed a little ticked off that he didn’t make the list. As a result of that story, a couple dozen ethanol-haters posted mostly anonymous comments bashing the alternative domestically-produced fuel.

They are especially fond of calling ethanol a “hoax” - defined as a “deliberate attempt to deceive or trick people into believing or accepting something which the hoaxer (the person or group creating the hoax) knows is false.” I guess that makes Henry Ford the original “hoaxer” then, since he designed the famed Model T Ford to run on alcohol and called it “the fuel of the future.” It could have been, were it not for a growing supply of cheaper petroleum from oil field discoveries and the political power of the oil industry at the time. The ethanol bashers complain about the tax-payer incentives for ethanol, which are in the millions - compared to billions for the petroleum industry.

What really bothers me about the anti-ethanol crusaders is that they offer no other alternative to help us lessen our dependence on oil - either imported from unfriendly countries or our own reserves which are now polluting the Gulf of Mexico. While corn ethanol can only offset about 15 percent of our liquid fuel demand in this country, that is still significant. The production and use of 10.6 billion gallons of ethanol in 2009 reduced demand for imported oil by 364 million barrels, at a savings of $21.3 billion. Corn ethanol is also building the infrastructure and demand for the next generation of ethanol that can reduce our dependence on oil even more.

Instead of ugly comments, offer some constructive alternatives so we can get off the oil and on the road to energy independence.