The Future of Ethanol Debated by USDA's Tom Vilsack and Oklahoma Senator Jim InhofeThu, 14 Apr 2011 6:56:32 CDT
Oklahoma Senior Senator Jim Inhofe argued with US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack about the Renewable Fuel Standard as the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee decried the production of corn based ethanol in the United States. US Secretary Vilsack pointed out to the EPW Committee as he testified that the current mandate for the production and use of ethanol in the US calls for 36 billion gallons of ethanol to be eventually produced in the United States, but only 15 billion gallons are to come from grain based production. US Production is already very close to that level as we are using five billion bushels of corn to make ethanol this marketing year.
Senator Inhofe promoted a bill that he plans on introducing that would allow states to "opt out" of using ethanol in their gas supplies. Vilsack never responded directly to the Senator's questions about a state being allowed to do that, but did speak of the need to figure out cellulosic or other forms of non grain based ethanol to move the amount of ethanol produced in this country to the level that Congress has envisioned.
Senator Inhofe spoke of the problems that gas with ethanol supposedly causes engines- but did not address the cost issue for consumers. Currently in Oklahoma, you can buy either 100% gas (or "clean" gas as Senator Inhofe calls it) or you can buy gas with up to 10% ethanol in it. The price difference between the two is enormous, much more than the difference in performance justifies. It is not uncommon to see a twenty cent difference per gallon in gasoline stations that are across the street from one another as one promotes 100% gas at a premium to E-10 gasoline.
Besides the conversation between Inhofe and Vilsack, there was lots of other comments on ethanol in both this hearing and in a second hearing on the other side of Capitol Hill- Stewart Doan with Agri-Talk summarized the bifuels debate that raged on Wednesday- you can hear his report by clicking here to listen on the Agri-Pulse website.
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear the exchange from the Wednesday hearing of the EPW Committee- you will first hear Senator Inhofe, then Secretary Vilsack in their discussion.
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