The United Nations is urging the U.S. to cut its ethanol production, the latest in a growing number of voices calling for the government to adjust its corn-ethanol mandate for the Renewable Fuels Standard due to rising prices caused by the current drought.
Members of the Group of 20 leading economies — including France, India and China — have already expressed concern about the U.S. ethanol policy, according to reports. “An immediate, temporary suspension of that mandate would give some respite to the market and allow more of the crop to be channeled towards food and feed uses,” said José Graziano da Silva, director-general of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization.
But U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has raised doubts about the impact of waiving the ethanol mandate. The U.S. biofuel industry has reduced gas prices and created jobs, and high corn prices were already curbing ethanol production, he said. Adjusting the mandate "may not do what some people think it will do," said Vilsack. “It’s not going to be an easy decision, clearly, but I think you have to look at this thing more broadly than some have looked at it."