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Gasoline boondoggle PDF Print E-mail

Dear Editor:
A recent letter provided a superficial and incomplete review of gasoline costs.  Consumers should be well aware by now that the real cost of petroleum is significantly higher than the price paid at the pump.
Our reliance on petroleum, especially imported oil, carries a very high price to our economy, health, environment and national security.
A report by the National Defense Council Foundation concludes that the U.S. spends $50 billion per year defending Persian Gulf oil, adding more than a dollar to the real cost of gasoline.  
This rapidly increasing cost of oil dependence triggers staggering economic penalties on our economy.  These economic penalties today exceed $300 billion annually and impose a “hidden cost” on every gallon of gasoline extracted from imported oil.
The overall economic toll of this dependence on foreign oil should shock Americans.  The cost certainly shocks the U.S. economy.  The diversion of capital and investment resulting from spending more than $220 billion annually on foreign oil costs the U.S. economy more than 800,000 jobs per year and deprives federal, state and local government of more than $13.4 billion in tax revenues.  
Unfortunately, a portion of that lost revenue also underwrites the cost of terrorist operations directly in conflict with U.S. international policies and military missions.
Along with national security and economic concerns, the environmental penalties of our dependence on fossil fuels continue to impose mounting costs on human health and the environment.  
The American Lung Association estimates that health care costs associated with air pollution exceed $50 billion each year and are growing. And of course Gulf Coast residents and businesses are painfully aware of the costs associated with oil spills that continue to plague the environment, human health and the economy.
Biofuels generally and ethanol specifically are making an important contribution to our economy, environment and energy security.  
Ethanol is today replacing more than 10 percent of the gasoline used in the U.S.  By contrast to imported oil, ethanol is a significant contributor to the economy locally and nationally.  
As consumers contemplate the real cost of transportation fuels, domestically produced renewable ethanol is a bargain any way you calculate the cost.

Michael Thede
Michael Thede is a fuel consumer, and a
Nebraska farmer who raises grain and livestock.  Thede serves on the National Soybean Board and the Nebraska Ethanol Board.