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Surprise Friday: Ethanol Answers Back

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Friday asked the U.S. government to cut "skyrocketing" food prices by waiving half of the renewable fuel standard for ethanol made from grain. The Republican governor from the oil-producing state said in a statement that such a waiver was "the best, quickest way" to ease rising food costs before lasting damage was done.

"We're diversifying our state's energy portfolio at a rapid rate, but this misguided mandate is significantly affecting Texans' family food bill," he added. Perry said that over the last three years, the price of corn has shot up 138 percent around the world, while global food prices rose 83 percent.

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Neil Koehler Pacific EthanolCEO is our surprise guest. Following is a summary of his main points.

Why should this country be investing in ethanol?

“Right now we’re in the midst of a significant energy crisis,” replies Koehler. “We have to come up with an alternative to our dangerous dependence on oil, and ethanol is the only alternative to gas for the internal combustion engine. By the end of this year we will be providing 8% of our gasoline transportation demands with ethanol and that is a direction we need to move in.”

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But why corn based ethanol?

“The government is mandating that we move away from fossil fuels and toward renewable fuels, but not necessarily corn based ethanol,” Koehler explains. “In fact they require that more than half of it come from other products.. but today corn ethanol is the most cost-competitive and readily available substance in this country to make a significant contribution to our energy supply."

"It is lower than the cost of gasoline and it provides significant environmental and economic benefits,” he adds. And we've always provided incentives for our major forms of energy... However, we need a whole host of alternatives. There is no single silver bullet to replacing our dependence on oil.”













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