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Page added on October 30, 2007

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Candidates’ zeal for ethanol might ring true if it made a grain of sense

WASHINGTON
“I have a glass of ethanol every morning before breakfast,” Mr. McCain, the Arizona Republican senator, joked during a recent swing through Iowa, the corn-growing heart of the country’s booming ethanol industry.

Ms. Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate, says she would divert oil subsidies to ethanol and other renewable fuels.

That there is no serious political debate about the merits of ethanol, even as the price of oil gushes toward $100 (U.S.) a barrel, speaks volumes about the quirky U.S. electoral process.
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By tradition, Iowa holds the critical first test of the candidates’ staying power, with its January caucus votes. And so to remain in the hunt, every hopeful has to suck up to the corn farmers and ethanol producers of Iowa.

That’s great for Iowa, but not necessarily for the rest of us.

Simply put, ethanol, at least the kind made from corn, isn’t the answer to North America’s energy needs. It’s not even a 10-per-cent solution.

Ethanol proponents have held up ethanol has a clean, renewable, secure and homegrown alternative to gasoline.

The Globe and Mail (Canada)



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