Guest Commentary: Corn Is Food and Fuel
by Gary Luth (News-Gazette) … Assertion one: “ethanol does not reduce greenhouse gases or lower emissions from automobiles vs. straight gasoline.” Fact: A 2016 study released by USDA: “Life Cycle Analysis of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Corn-Based Ethanol” finds just the opposite. This study finds that US corn-based ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by an estimated 43 percent compared to gasoline.
Assertion two: “the ethanol mandate causes corn to be grown on marginal land and destroys wildlife habitat.” Fact: Corn was planted on 93.5 million acres in the US during 2007. The estimated planted corn acreage for the U.S. for 2017 is 90 million acres. Thus, a 3 million-acre reduction in corn acreage over a decade rather than the assertions that millions more acres of environmentally fragile lands would be planted to corn in order to supply the ethanol mandate.
Assertion three: “corn prices have increased due to ethanol production.” Fact: In 2007, the United States produced 9.3 billion gallons of ethanol with an average corn price of near $5 per bushel. In 2016, the U.S. produced 15.3 billion gal of ethanol with an average corn price of $3.50 per bushel.
Assertion five: “Removing the ethanol mandate would create jobs in the oil and gas industry.” Fact: Without ethanol, gasoline would still require some type of octane enhancer and at this point ethanol is the cheapest most environmentally friendly product available. READ MORE