Ethanol Demand Could Put Easter Bunny Out of Business

It's a holiday specific example of cause and effect, but a kind that's sure to become more common in the coming months. Interest in ethanol has grown and corn prices have consequently risen, so farmers are paying more to feed their egg-laying hens. As extra costs get shifted to consumers, the price of eggs is also rising. Ok, so pricier Easter eggs is really the least of the concerns about increasing and unchecked ethanol use, which includes food staples becoming unaffordable for the poor or scare in third world countries, as has already been happening in Mexico.

Milk, eggs, cheese and meat will all cost more because they depend on corn to be produced. Land used to grow other food crops risks being shifted to a corn-growing field and creating shortages in other food areas; and corn that is grown will be sold to the highest bidder, which could be ethanol plants and not food producers. Either way we'll be paying more, and the less fortunate might not be able to afford it.

What'll happen to the Easter Bunny?

The price of a dozen large eggs has risen almost 50 cents since the same time period last year. And the price during the first quarter of 2007 is the highest quarterly price in three years. Where this all fits in with Easter is that stores generally promote sales on eggs this time of year, but even so shoppers will be paying up to 25 percent more than last year. Imagine what that adds up to for the Easter Bunny, and what it's going to add up to for the rest of us as more reports come in.

Corn isn't the only plant useful in ethanol production and ethanol isn't the only biofuel with promise, but going into it blindly and without thought to the future consequences could make big trouble for all of us. Whether it be mixed prairie grasses or biodiesel from recycled plant oils, we need to remember there are other options to look at.

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