Debate Continues on Blame for High Food Prices

Ethanol still being attacked, but proponents are firing back.

Published on: May 7, 2008

Ethanol continues to be blamed for the increase in food prices, but proponents are continuing to carry the message that other factors have much more to do with price hikes than the production of biofuels.

"Over the last year food prices have increased about 43% around the world and about 1.5% of that is due to increased biofuel production," says White House Deputy Press Secretary Scott Stanzel. "The vast majority of that is due to things like increased demand, increased energy prices, or weather related problems."

With many clamoring for a rollback in biofuels requirements, a hearing of fuel subsidies and food prices is being held Wednesday by the U.S. Senate's Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. The committee, which is chaired by Senator Joe Liberman, ID-Conn., will hear testimony about federal ethanol policies' effect both in the short- and long-term impact on the price of food and agricultural products from Iowa State University economist Bruce Babcock.