For more on ethanol, we've launched a comprehensive section devoted to this ethanol debate
on 13WHAM.com with video, stats, figures, editorials, blogs and more. Sean Carroll:
This “Ethanol Debate” is really heating up, and frankly I think it’s because of our economy. I mean everything is costing us more, and the fact that Ethanol is driving corn prices up only adds to our pain – be it pain at the supermarket, pain at the pump, or pain with the tax collectors. The fact is, while Ethanol may be a flawed policy in many ways, it’s also not the reason for all our pain. There’s benefits to this Corn Ethanol production, but as one farming expert told me, “it’s not Snake Oil, but it’s not bad either.”Evan Dawson:
I give farmers credit for at least openly conceding that it’s adding to higher food prices. But will they also concede that the heavy subsidies make it very difficult for drivers to save any money at the pump? We’re talking billions of tax dollars to hold up this industry. They might argue that the industry can succeed without the subsidies, but then why isn’t that happening?Sean Carroll:
Subsidies, there’s the rub. It’s that giant White Elephant that sits on one side the metaphorical “Ethanol Debate Scale.” It makes you wonder if that “Subsidy Elephant” was even needed in the first place. One economic consistency in American history is the ever-improving production of our farming industry. The idea to harness some power from that economic engine to address our current energy crisis isn’t far-fetched. But did we do it in the right way? That, I believe, is at the heart of this Ethanol Debate.Evan Dawson:
It’s impossible to know now whether corn ethanol could have taken off as an industry on its own. But consider this: If an ethanol plant cost $90 million, and the owners only needed $6 million from the state while raising the rest privately, could they have gotten that final $6 million without subsidies? Certainly seems that way.