Yesterday, the Chicago Tribune published a poorly written and poorly researched editorial about ethanol.
Though we are never shocked by the Tribune’s liberal use of the word unbiased, we did feel that the claims made in the article bear some further scrutiny … and to do so, I just have to channel SNL’s Seth Myers and Amy Poehler.
Seriously, Chicago Tribune? The Renewable Fuels Standard is bad for consumers and bad for the marketplace? Seriously?
I think we all need a baseline education about what the American fuel marketplace looks like today. Oil receives massive subsidies to maintain the American appetite for petroleum. Ethanol does not receive a penny in direct cash outlay. This is as close to a monopoly as you will ever see, with the oil industry even dictating what independent retailers can sell at their stations.
The Renewable Fuels Standard, mentioned at the end of this editorial, is simply a law that allows other fuels to overcome the marketplace the oil industry has built for themselves by forcing them to allow renewable, cheaper energy sources into the market.
Seriously. Buying ethanol would be the choice many consumers would make if the choice were offered. Seriously, Trib. Seriously. Why, you ask?
Ethanol is running about 60 cents cheaper right now. Given the laws of economics, consumers will buy cheaper fuel. Thus oil’s continual efforts to muddy the good name of our home grown fuel; it’s obvious that they got ahold of the Trib.
And seriously, it is true that farmers can and have chosen to plant corn on their acres … and why shouldn’t they? Seriously, Chicago Tribune … you just raised your prices in April to reflect a changing economic environment. Shouldn’t farmers also be allowed to make changes in their business that offer them a profit? Farmers are not only about the bottom line and would not change their business plan such that their resources were damaged. But they also need to have a bottom line large enough to feed their families.
And, by the way, that bottom line also trickles through the rural communities, and has helped keep rural economies from tanking the way that much of the U.S. has this decade. The ethanol market, offering growing demand for our commodity, has buoyed rural communities while the rest of the economy has been in a downward spiral.
I’m not naive and I understand that corn-based ethanol isn’t the next messiah, but I do give credit where credit is due, a trait that obviously the Chicago Tribune does not endorse. I understand that there will be a next generation fuel to improve on ethanol, or there will be improvements to the ethanol process, the corn production cycle, and maybe many more.
That’s what agriculture does. Using science, we continually get better, produce more, lower the footprint, increase efficiency. We will overcome the weed or disease of the year (Goss’s Wilt) and we will continue to deliver for the world consumer.
Seriously, Chicago Tribune? This is the best unbiased news you can report? Seriously?