Citing the effect of skyrocketing corn prices are having on food prices, President Bush has now stepped forward to advocate ethanol production from products other than corn. Bush cited corn prices' extreme rally as the reason for broadening the ethanol output. Speaking to attendees of the biannual Washington International Renewable Energy Conference.
Among the products he pointed to were agricultural waste, wood chips and other similar materials.
Corn prices are now around $5 a bushel. That compares to less than $2 per bushel, which the market paid as recently as 2006. Bush told the conference attendees that the drive toward ethanol production is a major factor in the price rally. "We got to do something about it," he said.
The President had set a goal of reducing gasoline consumption by 20 percent between 2007 and 2017, mostly replacing it with ethanol, and he is not urging that anyone backs away from ethanol production, rather that they look for options beyond corn.
Bush cited the Energy Department's $1-billion investment in developing a cellulosic ethanol industry as an example of a viable alternative to corn-based ethanol.