To the editor:
It is time for the advocates of ethanol as an additive to gasoline, especially ethanol made from corn, to stand up and admit the unintended consequences of this production. Many scientists now agree that when ethanol is added to gasoline and used in vehicles with internal combustion engines it creates a number of new driveability problems. Vehicles that use ethanol mixed with gasoline also get decreased gas milage. But the biggest unintended consequence of ethanol production happens when corn is used to make ethanol. Corn is a key food not only in this country, where it is used to produce sugar, feed people and feed animals, but all around the world where many people depend on it as a major source of food. When the price of corn dramatically increases this increases the price of many other foods all around the world especially in the poorest countries.
It is unacceptable for this country which has been for several generations the major source of food for many nations around the world to turn its back on those nations to turn food into fuel especially when there so many other sources of fuel. If ethanol was improved and determined to be the best replacement for gasoline then it could be made from many materials, from plant waste to even grass, and that grass could be grown on marginal land rather than the best farm land.
There are many reasons for the current sharp increase in food prices in this country and around the world and while we can't control some of those we can control the increasing use of America's best farmland to grow fuel corn rather than food corn. It's time for another change.
Robert L. Oberst