Well over a third of the American corn crop is used to make ethanol. Without all this corn consumed for ethanol production, there’s no doubt that grain stocks would be higher and all grain prices would be lower. South of the border, there’s a public relations war being waged over the merits of ethanol. It was recently announced that starting in 2011 NASCAR is switching to a 15 per cent ethanol blend and will be sponsored by American Ethanol. In fact, NASCAR’s green racing flag will have the AE logo printed on it. TV viewers will hear ethanol ads every race weekend for the entire ten-month season. There are many ethanol opponents who question its environmental benefits. Some even say that E15 might actually harm vehicle engines, despite it being approved by the U.S. government. The NASCAR sponsorship is meant to counter the criticisms. After all, what’s more American than NASCAR? How this whole debate plays out in the public arena could end up influencing American ethanol policy and by extension, world grain prices.
I’m Kevin Hursh.