LA Times: Calls to Lower Ethanol Quota Rise as U.S. Corn Crop Withers

August 24, 2012

The worst U.S. drought in more than half a century has rallied critics of the federal renewable fuel standard, which will reserve about 40% of the nation's corn crop for ethanol production this year.

Critics have long questioned the commitment of a growing share of a food source for fuel use. But the calls for change have grown louder because the widespread drought has killed more than 50% of the corn crop, driving prices to record levels — and U.S. ethanol is made mostly from corn.

To avert a possible domestic and international food crisis, several groups have urged changes to the fuel standard or at least a temporary waiver of the ethanol quota, which annually requires more ethanol be included in the nation's fuel production. Among them are members of Congress, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the American Petroleum Institute.