March 26, 2002

I didn't think it would ever happen. Red Cavaney, President of the American Petroleum Institute, spoke at the National Ethanol Conference. Here is what he said: "The new commitment we've made to understanding each other will not only benefit both our industries but the American consumer as well. We have embarked on a new era together -- an era of great promise."

It's historic. The petroleum industry and the renewable fuels industry -- shoulder to shoulder. Over the last 20 years, the two have fought like cats and dogs. I recall the pioneer days of renewable fuels. In 1977 at the Illinois State Fair, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) had a light plan flying over the fairgrounds fueled with ethanol. That was the promotion of gas-a-hol as ethanol was called then. For more than 20 years, the petroleum industry has fought every drop, every gallon, every acres of corn that went into ethanol. If the battle is over, and I think it is, we are assured of a growing market for ethanol. That should mean a growing market for corn. Last year we processed 700 million bushels of corn into ethanol.

We still have some hurdles. Govern Gray Davis would like to extend the use of MTBE in California, but with MTBE' s ground water contamination problem, it's only a matter of time. Cars in California will be burning a fuel fortified with ethanol.

The President supports new fuel standards in the energy bill. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, said, "This package is going to greatly increase the use of renewable fuels such as ethanol and bio-diesel."

To sum things up, the future for renewable fuels is burning bright. Until next week, this is John Block from Washington.