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Grassroots Voice: "The Facts Fight Back"
by Brian Jennings

“You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.”

Former U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s quote is a fitting way to characterize the irrational “food vs. fuel” debate that rages on.

We may not be able to top our opponents’ PR attack campaign to pay for media attention that demonizes ethanol. But the ethanol industry welcomes a fact-based discussion about ethanol, feed, and food prices, because one thing our opponents cannot buy is their own set of facts.

Indeed, ethanol opponents have taken their animosity so far that their tactics are about to backfire. In their rush to abandon ethanol, our foes have forced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to consider a waiver of the Renewable Fuels Standard, unwittingly triggering a fact-based analysis by EPA on the role ethanol plays in food, feed, and fuel prices. In other words, EPA will examine how the facts stack up, not how many sensational headlines have been paid for by each side of the debate.

Next month the agency is scheduled to rule whether to keep the RFS intact. I believe with great confidence that ethanol will come out a winner, based on a few compelling facts.

  • According to the Council of Economic Advisors, ethanol accounts for between 2 and 3 percent of the overall increase in food prices, meaning that 97 percent of the food price problem is something other than ethanol.
  • According to Merrill Lynch, without ethanol oil and gasoline prices would be about 15 percent higher. Devoid of ethanol, gas would cost nearly 60 cents per gallon more and a barrel of oil would be at more than $150 a barrel, making food prices even more expensive.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Energy, ethanol is helping to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil this year for the first time since 1977.
  • The International Energy Agency forecasts the world’s oil supply is far tighter than previously thought. As oil demand outpaces supply, the IEA calls this “a dangerous situation.” In light of this data, the Energy Department suggests that fuels like ethanol will be necessary to push global supplies to meet demand.

ACE will provide this and other key pieces of data to EPA, so that they may examine the facts in determining the fate of the RFS. And I, for one, cannot wait, because the agency’s announcement of the facts will be a headline that our opponents are unable to buy.

 
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The American Coalition for Ethanol publishes Ethanol Today magazine each month to cover the biofuels industryís hot topics, including cellulosic ethanol, E85, corn ethanol, food versus fuel, ethanolís carbon footprint, E10, E15, and mid-range ethanol blends.
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