A coalition of groups organized by the Food before Fuel campaign called on the incoming Obama Administration to repeal subsidies for ethanol.
Members of the Food for Fuel campaign include major food processing trade associations, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, restaurant associations, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and several environmental groups, including the World Wildlife Fund.
The Food Before Fuel campaign commissioned Ipsos to poll consumers in support of the call to eliminate the ethanol subsidies. According to the Ipsos poll of 1,000 Americans, nearly nine in 10 (89%) are concerned about the rising cost of food, including 57% who say that they are very concerned.
When provided with information about USDA data showing corn ethanol production is the cause of 10% of food price inflation, nearly half (49%) become less likely to support policies aimed at promoting the use of corn to produce ethanol. Moreover, when asked if they would support keeping or changing the existing Congressional policies, a majority (56%) of respondents call for Congress to change these policies by reducing or eliminating subsidies and mandates for the use of corn ethanol.
After 30 years of subsidies, ethanol is displacing only 3 percent of the gasoline we use each year, is likely increasing rather than decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, and is threatening our soil, water and wildlife. Yet ethanol gets $3 out of every $4 of tax credits the federal government gives to all renewable alternatives including wind, solar and geothermal. It is time we direct our tax dollars to renewable alternatives, including biofuels, based on how well they protect our climate, our environment and our energy security.—Craig Cox, Midwest vice president of the Environmental Working Group
In the ongoing policy tussle over corn ethanol, the Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA) recently published two new studies—one a case study of an existing corn ethanol plant, the other a forecast through 2030—that show that the production of corn ethanol results in a smaller lifecycle carbon footprint than that of gasoline—significantly so in some cases. The reports also conclude that ongoing improvements in crop yield and more efficient production technologies will continue to improve the carbon profile of the biofuel, while also allowing room for expansion without impact on food or feed supplies. (Earlier post.)