Follow us:

Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

October 3, 2007 at 10:54 AM

USDA downplays ethanol’s effect on food prices

Corn-based ethanol is not the main culprit of rising food prices, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture acting Secretary Chuck Conner.

While the rush to make the alternative fuel a staple of U.S. automobile diet has certainly contributed to the increase, most of the blame lies with high oil prices, bad weather, and an ever hungrier China, the official said, according to this Associated Press story.

The White House and agri-business have been pushing vegetable-based fuels as an environmentally friendly and geopolitically secure alternative to pricey, foreign fossil fuels. But corn-based ethanol — production of which has skyrocketed in recent years — has raised its own controversy.

Opponents criticize the fuel for being less energy-efficient than other alternatives, such as sugar-cane ethanol and for driving food prices up across the globe. Proponents say that it’s greener than most alternatives, and it provides a needed boost to domestic farmers. Ethanol producers’ profits, however, are currently being squeezed by a drop in the price of the fuel even as corn prices remain high.

Comments | More in Energy technology

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►