Free Trade Agreements – A Vital Constituent to Ethanol’s Success.

12 10 2011

In Congress this week, thColombia, Korea, Panama, Free Trade Agreement, Corn Exportere is buzz regarding a vote on free trade agreements with several latin American countries such as Panama and Colombia in addition to Korea.

So why do these free trade agreements matter when ethanol is concerned? Well, the United States is the world’s leader in corn exports. Stemming from that foundation, much of ethanol’s success depends on the steady supply and fair access to other countries.

As Congress stalls, this ambivalence is costing rural America jobs and hurting our local and national economies. FoExport, Colombia, Korea, Free Trade Agreement, Corn r example, over the past two years when corn exports decreased dramatically to Colombia, it resulted in a half a billion dollars in lost revenue to our economy.

It is also important that we recognized the emerging alliances between the European Union and Korea Fair Trade Agreement that was implemented the middle of this summer. In order to maintain our competitive edge in an ever prevailing global market, we need to stake our seat at the table.

I hope Congress recognizes this potential importance to the health of our local and national economies.

Lights out, ethanol.

8 09 2011

Republican presidential candidate, Michele Bachmann, has vowed to lock the doors and turn out the lights on the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, at a rally last week if she is elected. Moreover, she’s promised $2/gal gasoline.

As the presidential campaign revs up this fall, candidates will be touting promises that their platform will be better than that of their competition.

So what do bureaucratic politics have to do with ethanol or American homegrown energy?

Let us first focus on the $2/gal empty promise. Believe me, it sounds incredibly appetizing. As a broke college student, $4/gal at the pump can drive a girl to want to crave Ramen again or raid the entire maid’s cart while on vacation.

Wait a second.  We’re not talking ethanol.  She promises that gasoline will reach below $2 a gallon. Well, there are only two direct ways to reach such a heavily subsidized and frugal price for petroleum. Option number one: Increase the petroleum industry’s subsidies or tax breaks (this money doesn’t come from anywhere. It comes from you. And I. And everyone else.  Is Michele going to raise taxes, too, to pay for these additional subsidies?).  Option number two: increase drilling in ecologically fragile regions of the United States alongside negligent companies. When black tar desecrates all life forms in the Gulf of Mexico or pipelines burst in the Tundra (both of which have happened within the past couple years), who is ultimately held liable for the corporations that are too large to care? Taxpayers? Yes. You, and I.

These approaches could make way for a quasi deflated price at the pump that’s closer to $2/gal (at least it looks that way when we go to select ‘Debit’ or ‘Credit’). But subsidies, taxpayer money, drain our pockets in the first place to drive the price down. In the end, we still pay the difference.

Currently, ethanol is cheaper than gasoline at the pump. And Michele has yet to extrapolate on a plan to drive down the cost of ethanol, too. Well, it’s already cheaper than gasoline.  It’s grown here in the Midwest.  When was the last time we had an ethanol spill?  When was the last time family farmers had beg for gov’t assistance to clean up a burst pipeline on their farms?

Yet she wants to close the doors on the EPA, the very agency that recently updated a revised ratio for a greater mixture of ethanol in commercial gasoline (up 15% from 10%). She wants to turn out all lights in the EPA, the very agency that wants to proliferate this homegrown fuel into further depths within our economy.

Lights out, ethanol.

Tired of the Libyan turmoil? Grow local. Buy local. Drive local.

2 09 2011

It’s not ‘new’ news that oil prices fluctuate according to Middle Eastern politics. In fact, petrol’s volatility is most significantly influenced by geo-political factors.

As the Qaddafi regime continues to influence Libyan unrest, rebel forces have seized the capital, Tripoli. Unfortunately, it’s unclear as to when oil reserves will continue to flow again. The tyrant, still in hiding, has promised ‘hell’ on the land.

Great. But I promise this story isn’t all doomsday.

We live in a democratic state. No matter how much the left and right wing might squabble, we still have a strict set of law and order that guides our social and political structures.

Fortunately, we also have a secure economy that ensures we have reliable food… and fuel!

So there’s corn (sweet corn) for people, and corn (field corn) for fuel. The vast majority of corn planted is the perfect type that makes ethanol. And boy, is there an abundance of it here in the Midwest.

Next time you stop by to fill up, I implore you to check out how much ethanol is mixed into your gas. Even if it’s just 10% (an E-10 blend) ethanol and 90% fossil fuel, pat yourself on the back. You should be proud that 10% of your fuel proceeds just supported local farmers and families that aren’t contributing to the Libyan unrest and oil volatility.

As we all know, every little bit counts!