Americans See Through the Blame Game

By Bob Dinneen | August 04, 2008
By now, you've heard the same lines over and over: Ethanol is causing the rise in food prices. Corn is being diverted to ethanol production which means less food for the world's hungry. Milk over $4? It must be ethanol's fault.

Even the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has jumped into the fray. President Chakib Khelil recently commented that ethanol is causing a 40 percent rise in gasoline prices. How's that for manufactured hysteria? Coming from an organization that represents those who most profit from high oil prices, his figures definitely seem dubious. He has yet to offer any explanation for the method which he employed to arrive at this percentage.

Have you ever wondered, though, if those words were actually sinking in? Does your neighbor actually believe that his or her eggs cost double what they did last year due solely to the increased production of biofuels? Are biofuels the pariah OPEC claims?

According to a new poll, the answer is no.

Democratic pollsters Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Republican pollsters Public Opinion Strategies polled 1,200 registered voters from June 23 through July 1 about the use and impact of ethanol on the economy. By an overwhelming factor of 2 to 1, the voters responded that they are supportive of increasing the use of ethanol.

That's right. Despite well-funded and coordinated anti-ethanol campaigns, they have failed to persuade the American people into believing their rhetoric. Indeed, the agreement on ethanol stretches across party and economic divides to unite Americans from all sections of life.

"Asked if they favor or oppose continuing to increase use of ethanol, an impressive 59 percent come out in favor, while just 30 percent oppose," according to the poll results. "Support is even higher (63 percent) among environmentalists. Men and women, older voters and younger voters, high school educated and college graduates, and voters from all regions in the country support this alternative fuel. Most impressive, though, at a time when Democrats and Republicans cannot seem to agree on anything, they agree on the increased use of ethanol."

The poll also revealed that half of Americans blame oil for the high cost of food. Leaders of oil-producing nations and even some lawmakers here at home have worked tirelessly to propagate misinformation at a time when lies like this become more dangerous every day. However, remarkably, fewer than 1 in 10 voters actually blame ethanol for higher food prices, the poll found.

The public cannot be fooled. The poll showed that Americans are more likely to support a candidate for president who supports the increased use and production of biofuels than a candidate who does not.

The American people have always shown that in times of great stress and sadness they can persevere. Clearly, they have seen through massive public relations campaigns to the truth.

Those are some words to let sink in.

Bob Dinneen
President and CEO
Renewable Fuels Association