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3 cheers for sorghum

August 20, 2012 - Mike Maneval
Good news in the glacial move toward greater use of renewable energy surfaced last week, as the Environmental Protection Agency indicated it soon would approve the use of sorghum crops to produce biofuels.

The advantages of ethanol, whether produced from corn, sugar cane, soy, switchgrass or, now, sorghum crops, should be apparent. The consumption of non-renewable resources including oil, coal and natural gas still is subject to the economic principles of supply and demand, and the faster the finite supplies of these commodities are consumed, the greater upward pressure on the resources' cost to consumers will be. This remains true no matter how inaccurately pessimistic scientists' current predictions of the exact quantities of these resources prove to be, and remains true no matter how efficiently technological advancements enable these resources to be extracted. The less coal, oil and natural gas there is, the greater the price for consumers will be.

And so, meeting societies' need for energy with renewable resources, including biofuels, can slow the consumption of finite fossil fuels, which in the long run can only aid consumers purchasing from the consequently greater quantities of coal, oil and gas. But the advantages to advances in biofuels are not limited to slowing the rate of non-renewable commodities' depletion: the market for converting sorghum and other crops into ethanol for meeting energy needs can create jobs here in the U.S., for a product that can be continually produced in the U.S.

While the U.S. can, and should, responsibly develop its domestic supplies of non-renewable resources including oil and natural gas, part of responsible development means recognizing the faster we deplete domestic supplies, the faster we may find ourselves dependent on untapped reserves in the dictatorships of the Middle East and Central Asia.

The potential for sorghum's use can promote energy independence, create jobs and add diversity to how America derives energy, which makes it some of the best news you'll likely hear soon.


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