Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

November 24, 2013

Forum: Article biased against Ethanol production

By Paul Wagner

An Associated Press story published in the Nov. 13 Record-Eagle told a one-sided story that ignores the benefits of ethanol.

The Renewable Fuel Standard, which calls for blending ethanol into our transportation fuels, saves U.S. consumers money by driving down gas prices, sparks new investment and rural economic development, and reduces our addiction to foreign oil.

Unfortunately, the article presents a biased account of corn farming and ethanol production that ignores these benefits while giving oil companies a free pass.

The RFS brings down the price of gas at the pump so American consumers can keep more of their hard-earned money. In 2011, U.S. drivers saved an average of $1.09 a gallon because of the RFS. And unlike oil companies, which continue to receive $4 billion in taxpayer support despite continued record profits, ethanol production is not subsidized.

In Michigan, investment in ethanol is paying off for our communities, including northern Michigan. According to a recent Michigan State University study, the RFS generates $433.3 million in economic activity for our state each year. That’s money that goes back into our local community, supporting our local businesses and farmers and driving investment and development in our rural areas. Ethanol is produced right here in Michigan using Michigan workers and locally-grown corn. When we use more ethanol, we help diversify our energy choices and reduce our dangerous dependence on oil. That means more of our money stays here, instead of being sent overseas to buy foreign oil, often from countries that are hostile to the U.S. and our way of life. Last year, the RFS reduced U.S. reliance on foreign oil by $44 billion and replaced the need for imported oil by more than 462 million barrels.

The alternative to diversifying our energy mix is continuing to rely on foreign oil for our fuel needs. We’ve already seen the dangerous and deadly consequences of the status quo.

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