A survey of 1,000 adults found that 74 percent of Americans believe the United States should increase its use of domestically produced renewable fuels like ethanol. Most, 87 percent, also believe government should actively support the development of a renewable fuels industry in this country. Seventy seven percent think Congress should encourage oil refiners to blend more ethanol into their gasoline products.
The poll was conducted October 23-25 by the Mellman Group and commissioned by the Renewable Fuels Association.
Of those surveyed, 84 percent said they do not believe ethanol production has a negative impact on food supply and prices, and that something other than ethanol is the basis for rising food prices. They cited higher oil prices (46 percent), increased global demand (15 percent), and adverse weather conditions like drought (14 percent) were deemed to have a greater impact on food prices than ethanol production (7 percent).
The survey was released by Renewable Fuels Now, a coalition of associations and corporations that support the need for energy independence through domestically produced renewable fuels. The National Corn Growers Association is a member of the coalition. For more information, visit www.renewablefuelsnow.org.
However, Ron Plain, University of Missouri agriculture economist, points out that the United States could devote every acre of every agricultural crop to renewable fuels production, and the country would still need some 50 billion gallons of gasoline to keep the automobiles running at status quo.
The United States uses about 141 billion of gallons of gasoline annually. According to Plain, it would take 79 billion bushels of corn to produce enough ethanol to completely replace that amount of gas.
For this crop year, U.S. farmers will produce slightly more than 13 billion bushels of corn -- 3.2 billion bushels will be processed into ethanol. "Ethanol can reduce [gasoline use] somewhat, but it's not going to replace gasoline," Plain says. "We use way too much gas to be able to offset it all with ethanol."
Source: National Corn Growers Association, Meatingplace.com