Guest editorial: Let’s proclaim our Energy Independence

Published 10:07 am Thursday, July 3, 2008

America’s current domestic gasoline production is enough to supply the country’s gasoline needs for 149 days. But through the increased use of biofuels and simple conservation strategies, America can extend its supply to 186 days, from January 1, 2009 to July 4, 2009. There must be a call for unity in the fight to gain our Energy Independence.

We are calling for July 4th to be celebrated as Energy Independence Day.

In both our nation and others around the world, the struggle over oil has spawned ugly conflict, economic trouble and humanitarian concerns. Food prices are on the rise and the globe’s poorest regions struggle to feed their people.

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Many of us remember similar situations as gas prices shot up in response to crude oil shortages, caused by events like the Arab oil embargo in 1973 and the Iranian revolution and Iran/Iraq war later in the decade. Today, high worldwide demand, along with political events, conflicts and the declining value of the dollar, are putting pressure on supplies and driving up prices. As the Earth’s population continues to grow, so too does demand.

Unfortunately, today 40 percent of our energy comes from petroleum and 22 percent of our energy is derived from coal. That adds up to more than $1 billion dollars a day spent by the U.S. on imported foreign oil. It’s an expensive habit, and globally we are paying a hefty price for our inability to work together to find viable solutions to our dependence on fossil fuels.

Continued conservation and smart driving can limit our draw of the fuel supply over the summer months. Simply getting a tune-up can improve a vehicle’s fuel economy by 3 percent and slowing down and braking smoothly can help, too. If Americans focus on carpooling and combining trips, we can conserve fuel to the tune of almost 4 percent per person.

While anti-ethanol sentiments are splashed across headlines in the papers, biofuels remain the only current viable fuel alternative. To secure a future of energy independence, we must create a more diversified energy portfolio, and ethanol and soydiesel is a part of that portfolio.

In 2007, ethanol displaced 200 million barrels of imported oil and Biodiesel 12 million barrels. Continued development of clean alternative fuels, renewable energy and improved energy efficiency must remain at the forefront of the domestic agenda. In 2009, using domestically produced oil and ethanol only, American consumers could drive for 186 days without using foreign oil or to July 4, 2009 — Energy Independence Day.

But this is far from enough. We must end the finger pointing and band together in the fight for energy independence by focusing on conservation, driving flex?fuel vehicles and shrinking dependence on foreign oil. This July 4th, stand up and help create our Energy Independence.

Source: EPIC (Ethanol Promotion and Information Council)

Submitted and Supported by the Mower County Corn & Soybean Growers Association

Michael F. Merten