The high price of gasoline and its recent sharp decline has to be one of the top stories of 2008. For most of the year, we saw a growing share of our paycheck go toward fueling our cars.
During that time ethanol helped bring down the cost of filling up at the pump, while growing our local and national economies.
As a nation we continue to suffer from a significant national trade deficit, with one of the key drivers being crude oil used to produce gasoline. This is evidenced by a recent Department of Commerce report showing that in November we saw a $16 billion monthly improvement in the trade deficit due to the decline in crude oil prices.
At a time where we are looking to build the health of our nation’s economy we need to continue to grow in areas that add long term value and reduce our trade deficit, while adding jobs and providing valuable products to market.
The answer is clear: America needs to produce its own fuel and one component of energy independence must be renewable fuels. I support research and development of all kinds of alternate energy, but ethanol is today’s only viable and available homegrown alternative to foreign oil. We need to do more to encourage the use of ethanol and continue to expand the industry.
Advancements in process technology have allowed ethanol to become cleaner and greener than it was just a few years ago and new breakthroughs continue to make it even better. Improvements in technology by automobile manufactures continue to increase the number of vehicles which can operate efficiently on higher blends of ethanol.
With current fuel prices as low as we have seen in years, it is easy to forget the pain felt at the pump a few months ago but we all know that markets are variable. I don’t ever want to pay $4 for gas again. One way to make sure that happens is through more American-made ethanol.
Jeff Zueger, Underwood