The Grocery Manufacturers Association, Washington, is not opposed to all ethanol-based fuel, just that derived from corn, which it believes drives up food prices.
Instead, GMA favors the development of alternative sources of ethanol — the so-called advanced biofuels, said Geoffrey Moody, GMA's manager of federal affairs. This includes cellulosic ethanol derived from wood, grasses or the non-edible parts of plants, as well as ethanol made from algae and other sources.
To that end, the GMA has expressed support in Congress for the Affordable Food and Fuel Act, which would shift subsidies away from conventional biofuels toward second- and third-generation biofuels.
The ethanol industry also supports the development of new sources of ethanol. “The new-generation stuff is very promising, including algae, corn cobs and trash — there are 200 potential sources,” said Robert White, director of market development, Renewable Fuels Association, Omaha, Neb.
But John Eichberger, vice president of government relations for the National Association of Convenience Stores, wonders when cellulosic ethanol will become viable. “I hope it's soon. That would take care of the food/fuel debate.”