We’re coming up on the Fourth of July (ack! It’s next week!) and my thoughts have turned to all things patriotic. My American flag is hanging on the front door, my stars are decorating the mantle, and I dug out those red, white and blue plates we bought last year to help us celebrate the season.
Between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, I find myself talking more about what it means to love your country. I take the time to explain to my kids what all those flags in the cemetery mean. I help them understand the enormity of the sacrifice those men in uniform are making for them … for me.
And then, especially when my thoughts turn to the men in uniform and all they are doing for us, I think about fuel. The wars we’re fighting over fuel. The lives we’ve lost over fuel. The selfishness of Americans over … fuel?
It’s silly really. We can produce fuel here. So someone remind me … why are we fighting wars and losing lives over fuel again?
Somewhere along the line, corn got a bad name. Corn became another four-letter word to be feared. And corn-based ethanol went down the tube right along with it. Whether it’s the farmer’s fault for not talking about what they do on the farm, or the fault of the marketing department for Big Oil, or my neighbor’s fault down the street, it happened. And we forgot all the really great stuff about corn-based ethanol.
Number one, we don’t have to fight wars and lose lives to get it. In fact, we make it right here and instead of harming the families of our friends and neighbors, it helps them. Ethanol plants are jobs and money and economic drivers in towns that haven’t seen economic drivers in a long time. Ethanol has been a saving grace for rural America in a time of massive economic downturn for the rest of the country.
Number two, ethanol is better for the environment. Modern biobased ethanol can produce up to 53 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than regular gasoline. The Renewable Fuels Association says that using a little more ethanol in our gasoline, switching from a 10 percent blend to a 15 percent blend, would be the equivalent of removing 6.3 million vehicles from American roadways. Seems like that would be good for America, but what do I know?
Number three, it’s here. America is really good at growing corn and we will always be good at growing corn. We have corn to burn and we will continue to have corn to burn. Why would we not utilize one of our best and biggest resources?
Americans have always been ingenuitive. We’ve always thought about our competitive advantages and used them to better our nation. What I’m confused about is why we’ve let fear and marketing and … selfishness … determine a very big course for our nation.
We have corn. We are really good a growing corn. We can make fuel out of corn and eliminate wars, pollution, and poverty in rural America. What’s the problem?