The price of the Renewable Fuel Standard
It’s amazing what you can learn in a grocery store.
A few months ago, I overheard a woman talking about how groceries were becoming more expensive and that the government was to blame.
I had no idea what she was talking about, so I decided to go home and do a little research of my own to better understand this problem. Groceries cost my family of four hundreds of dollars a week, and I know many families in New Hampshire that have three or more children who have to spend even more.
While researching the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), I found that gasoline companies have to use more renewable fuels in their gasoline in the upcoming years. I didn’t really know what a renewable fuel was but discovered it is basically anything that comes from nature that can be turned into fuel for our vehicles. I also read that one common renewable fuel is ethanol, which is made mostly from the starch in corn kernels.
So much of the food we eat comes from corn, such as cereals, baked goods, salad dressings, snacks and much more. I also learned that farmers use corn as one of their main sources of food for animals, including cows, pigs and chickens. The government is demanding that a huge portion of the U.S. corn crop go toward making renewable fuels, which raises prices for food and animal feed.
I also discovered that the RFS is not only raising food costs but also prices at the pump. Gas prices already are burdensome, and I can’t imagine them becoming more expensive, particularly through a government mandate. I read that ethanol is not as efficient as regular gasoline so we have to use more of it, too. We all need gasoline to drive to work, etc. I drive a mini-van, and it costs more than $60 for me to fill my tank each time. Because of this high price, I find myself driving less and less.
During a time when so many of us are struggling financially, the government should be protecting middle-class American families, not hurting them. We must consider both the consequences and benefits very carefully.
That’s why I circulated a letter of concern about the RFS that was signed by 50 women, many of them mothers like me, to send to our United States senators and representatives.
Food costs are rising and they will continue to rise if something is not done about the RFS. We hope our federal officials will either repeal the RFS or fix it so it causes less harm to our families.
(Jaime McDonald is a homemaker who lives in Concord with her husband and two children.)