According to Matt Hartwig of the Renewable Fuels Association, the U.S. may consider exporting ethanol to Brazil. Low crop yields in that country and a drought in India have created a shortage of sugar worldwide, which is leading to re-diversion of sugar cane intended for biofuels to human consumption.
Surely it was the intent of our government to sacrifice food for fuel to reduce dependency on crude oil from unfriendly or unstable nations? Despite the fact that we are not drawing on our immense reserves of natural gas and will divert approximately a third of our corn harvest to ethanol in 2010 the RFA is apparently in a position to consider exporting this commodity. The feed and animal production industries have paid dearly for a government-mandated diversion of food to fuel. It is difficult to see how exports could be countenanced.
Hartwig notes that current capacity of RFA members is approximately 12 million gallons but that mothballed plants could be brought back in to production. This in itself is an indication of the lack of stability of an industry that can only survive through government mandates, protective tariffs, a web of hidden subsidies and taxpayer-funded support.
The export initiative would in any event only represent a temporary expedient since in the near future production capacity of sugar producing nations will be restored with the passing of the El Niño. The current situation in Brazil will probably result in additional deforestation for cultivation of sugar cane despite what Administrator Jackson of the EPA may believe.
Diversion of corn to ethanol for domestic consumption is barely tolerable. Diversion of corn to allow export of ethanol to generate profits for a taxpayer-supported industry is cynical and outrageous and even more egregious than the "splash and dash" scam.