Letter to Editor: Ethanol Helps Stabilize Energy Prices
by Matt Hartwig (Renewable Fuels Association/Baltimore Sun) The Sun may have cut back its foreign bureaus, but your editorial writers (“End subsidies for corn-based ethanol,” March 14) must still be aware of the turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East which has been sending oil prices soaring over $103 a barrel, pushing gasoline prices to $4 or even $5 in some states and pointing up the need for the only clean-burning, domestically produced alternative to imported oil: ethanol.
If the U.S. provides a $4 billion subsidy for blending ethanol into gasoline, as your editorial contends, it’s still a better buy than importing 65 percent of our oil, mostly from unfriendly or unstable countries, and subsidizing big oil by $130 billion over the past 32 years, not counting the tens of billions more that our military spends to protect petroleum shipments from the Middle East.
… Moreover, a third of the corn used for ethanol becomes livestock feed for cattle, poultry and hogs. These facts help to explain why the steady increase in ethanol production has not resulted in a steady increase in food prices. Instead, as the World Bank has acknowledged, sudden jumps in food prices tend to result from rapid rises in energy costs. READ MORE and MORE (original editorial)