State of the Union Fuel Proposal
The President says he wants the country to produce 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels by the year 2017. Is this possible?
"They throw out a number that's five times bigger than our current renewable fuel standards, and there's a lot of uncertainty about how we get there. But if you look back five years ago, and thought in 2007 would we have 11 billion gallons of ethanol capacity? We'd be thinking the same thing," said MU Ag Economics research professor Seth Meyer.
Right now, 20 percent of the nation's corn supply already goes into ethanol. That means renewable fuels will have to come from other sources as well.
One possible choice is cellulosic ethanol. That's made from many things that used to be considered agricultural waste: Like corn stalks, wood chips, and even garbage.
"When you look at all the cellulose available in this country right now, it far exceeds the volume of feed grains that are available," said Ethanol Plant General Manager Steve Burnett.
But corn and grain producers rest assured, their products aren't going out of style any time soon.
"As long as the ethanol producers are demanding the corn from those farmers, and as long as they can stay in business, the farmers will see a local improved base," said Meyer.
The president's proposal is just that: A proposal, nothing is signed into law yet. And Professor Meyer says it's too early to see what kind of effect this will have on prices at the pump.