October 18, 2013
Ms. Jill Wrubel
20 Excalibur Ln
Nesconset, NY 11767-1908
Dear Ms. Wrubel:
Thank you for expressing your concerns regarding
ethanol as a renewable fuel source. It is important for me to have that benefit
of your views, and I appreciate the time you have taken to contact me.
As the Middle East remains unstable and China and India
begin to industrialize and compete in the global market, we are paying a higher
cost for fuel here at home. We have also come to realize that our nation is not
immune to natural disasters that wreak havoc on our energy supply, particularly
our domestic refinery capability. Now, more than ever, our nation must emphasize
conservation, and invest in renewable energy technology and sources of energy
that do not compound our dependence on foreign nations.
Ethanol is a form of alcohol that is produced mainly
from corn within the United States, sugar cane in Brazil, logging waste in
Sweden, and sugar beets in France. In America, the starch from corn is converted
to sugar, which is fermented to produce the fuel. Ethanol fuel is typically
blended with 15 percent gasoline and to produce E85. This biofuel has lower
emissions of greenhouse gases and higher octane, but has a quarter less energy
per gallon than regular gasoline, and is incompatible with many older cars.
After federal law banned lead as an octane booster in
the 1970’s, ethanol as a fuel additive became an alluring substitute. In 1988,
Congress passed the Alternative Motor Fuel Act, providing tax credits to car
manufacturers to raise their corporate average fuel economy number, otherwise
known as CAFE standards, for producing gasoline cars and trucks that were also
ethanol-ready. In 2005, about 3.9 billion gallons of ethanol was produced in the
U.S., up from only 1.4 billion gallons in 1998. It is estimated that by 2025,
ethanol production could rise to nearly 40 billion gallons per year.
Ultimately, we must face the fact that a nation which
consumes 25 percent of the world’s oil, but which was only blessed with two
percent of available reserves, can never drill its way to energy independence.
We must pursue a 21st Century energy policy that promotes cleaner, safer
alternatives to fossil fuels. I consistently support tax incentives for
investing in renewable energies such as wind, solar, ethanol and biomass; and I
support withholding tax breaks and incentives to the oil industry.
Thank you again for sharing your views. If I can be of
further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. For more information
and to find out about other important issues that I am working on in Congress, I
urge you to visit my website at http://www.house.gov/timbishop.
Member of Congress