In his State of the Union address in January, President Bush proposed the goal of blending 35 billion gals. of biofuels by 2017 (a fivefold increase from today's levels) and to reduce gasoline usage by 20%. He also proposed increasing U.S. petroleum production and doubling the size of the petroleum reserve.

Ethanol subsidies are politically popular and are seen as an important offset to farm subsidies that will likely be reduced in the upcoming farm bill. In fact, a Renewable Fuels Association survey shows 85% of U.S. voters believe the “government should be involved in the development of alternative fuels.” Other findings of that Jan. 8-9 survey of 1,000 registered voters conducted by the Winston Group include:

  • 84% believe the government should provide incentives for the production of alternative fuels, such as ethanol, to reduce dependence on imported oil.

  • 88% believe the development of the domestic ethanol industry helps create jobs and benefits the overall economy.

  • 85% believe ethanol helps farm-state economies.

  • 80% believe ethanol is an important component of our domestically-produced energy supply.

  • 60% believe ethanol impacts the economies of any state not a traditional farm state.