A study finds even if every acre of corn and soybeans was devoted to creating biofuels, it would fall far short of meeting America’s fuel needs. The University of Minnesota report says neither ethanol nor biodiesel can significantly quench the national demand for foreign oil. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says if Iowa, the nation’s top ethanol producer, can’t meet the country’s demands with a corn-based fuel, we’ll diversify.
Grassley says “That’s what brings us to the issue of getting ethanol from things beyond corn, like corn stalks, switchgrass and even sugar cane, sugar beets, sweet potatoes, wood chips, things of that nature.” The report says even dedicating all current U.S. corn and soybean production to biofuels would only meet 12-percent of gasoline demand and six-percent of diesel demand.
Grassley says the report reflects a radical shift in the perception of ethanol. He says just a year ago, senators from states like California and New York were bitterly protesting the seven-and-a-half BILLION dollar ethanol mandate in the Energy Bill.
Grassley says “They were actually crying and complaining and moaning and groaning about ethanol requirements. Now, you know what they’re saying to us? ‘How can we get more ethanol?’ So, we’ve come a long ways, baby, as far as ethanol’s concerned.” Grassley, a Republican, says the opinion of ethanol has clearly changed in the minds of our leaders and the nation’s consumers.
Grassley says “I sometimes use as measure of ethanol catching on out here in Washington D.C. because I don’t find anybody any longer pronouncing it ‘EE-thanol.’ Isn’t it wonderful that we’re talking about how we can produce more ethanol and the need for more ethanol as opposed to ‘Do you think ethanol will ever catch on?'”