The ongoing controversy over ethanol

By Bill Kovarik

Remember all the cute news items two years ago about how the price of movie popcorn just went up $2 thanks to ethanol, or how your grocery cart (or your wallet) just got lighter, thanks to ethanol? Turns out, it was mostly fiction.

We knew that the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association was spending millions on a campaign to discredit ethanol.

Now comes a report from the British government saying that ethanol had only a minor role in the food price increases of 2008. Drought and higher OIL prices were mostly to blame.

The American Council for Ethanol said:

The role of corn and ethanol in grocery prices has been grossly exaggerated by critics who have much to gain in keeping ethanol’s potential limited…  Energy prices have a much more dramatic impact on food prices because all foods are dependent upon this expensive energy for processing, packaging, and transportation…”

Every now and then, you can glimpse  major industries like those marketing petroleum and groceries, behaving defensively, and sometimes ruthlessly,  to protect markets they are trying to dominate.  This dog-eat-dog approach, consumers and national security be damned, is one reason why we have government regulation. It’s because these industries can’t be trusted to regulate themselves.

Ethanol has its problems, but the GMA’s attempt to destroy the ethanol industry on behalf of its friends in the oil industry was unreasoned and reckless.

And now we know it was not based on evidence.

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