A statewide group dedicated to increasing the profitability of corn is calling Sarah Steelman's plan to repeal the statewide ethanol mandate "a political scheme."
A day after Steelman's announcement to scrap the 10 percent ethanol mandate, the Missouri Corngrowers Association has blasted out a release claiming that a repeal would result in increased prices for consumers.
"By utilizing corn-based ethanol in gas pumps throughout the state, Missouri consumers have earned bragging rights for having the cheapest gas in the nation," said Corngrowers Association CEO Gary Marshall. "By design, the use of ethanol as required by the Missouri Renewable Fuel Standard works only to lower the cost to consumers. The law is written with a price trigger that if ethanol is ever priced higher than gasoline, marketers are not required to use the high performance fuel."
"Removing the ethanol requirement in Missouri would only increase prices at the pump for already hurting consumers," reads the release.
But Steelman said Tuesday that ethanol doesn't make traveling any cheaper for drivers. "You don't get as many miles per gallon burning the blend, the ethanol blend, as you do regular gas. So that if you're not getting as many miles per gallon, you have to fill up more often at $4 a gallon," the State Treasurer said.
Marshall pointed to a recent analysis by Merrill Lynch that shows that gasoline prices would be 10 to 15 percent higher without the ethanol supply in the marketplace. That translates into ethanol helping hold down gasoline costs to American drivers by 60 to 70 cents per gallon.
Marshall also said our dependence on foreign oil is driving up grocery bills. "While commodities are a small factor, fuel costs alone represent more than twice the value of corn contained in each box of corn flakes," Marshall said. "The price of groceries is heavily dependent upon energy for processing, packaging, and transportation - energy derived from expensive oil."
"With energy and food prices at record levels, the wealthy oil and food companies are looking for a scapegoat while they rake in record profits. Politicians joining the fray with short-sighted strategies intended for political gain simply add insult to injury. Ignoring ethanol's benefits and throwing Missouri farmers under the bus is no way to solve today's energy crisis," said Marshall.