Florida’s governor is calling on Latin American countries to increase ethanol production for themselves and the United States. According to this article from the Bradenton Herald, Governor Jeb Bush made his pitch during the Second Annual Miami Latin America Conference, calling the proposal a “win-win for Florida and the region.” Bush says that increasing Florida and the nation’s reliance on other energy sources will help reduce their reliance on Venezuela, which he described as on “a quiet march toward dictatorship.” The United States imported roughly $34 billion in products from Venezuela last year, the vast majority of which were related to petroleum, according to U.S. Department of Commerce statistics. “If we don’t tax oil, maybe we shouldn’t tax ethanol,” the governor said.
I suspect that many in the domestic ethanol industry won’t like hearing this, but it is true. “If you take Brazil, Central America and Colombia, there is a tremendous potential to develop ethanol at a significantly lower price than can be done in the United States,” he said. Now, he is NOT saying that it shouldn’t be developed here in the United States. In fact, the Florida Legislature will probably pass bills this session that provide tax incentives for companies to increase the availability of renewable fuels and increased funding for research into alternative fuels. What he is talking about it working together as a hemisphere to reduce dependence on petroleum. Makes sense, which probably means it will never happen.