Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles Bronson is calling on Congress and the Bush Administration to launch full and thorough investigations into skyrocketing fuel prices.
“We’re being taken for a ride, and the evidence is everywhere, from the escalating prices we pay to fill up our vehicles with gasoline to the purchase of virtually all consumer goods,” Bronson said. “It is almost impossible to conceive of a product that is not dependent on oil in either its production or transportation to the stores in which it is sold.”
At the same time, Bronson is urging Congress to resist efforts to slow down the production of ethanol and biodiesel, arguing that the production of alternative fuels is the most effective option in assuring that fuel prices moderate and that future energy costs are affordable and he argues that it is a minor factor in food price increases.
“In fact, the President’s Council of Economic Advisors estimates that only 3 percent of the total increase in food prices this year is attributable to corn that is being diverted for ethanol production,” Bronson said. “Analysts say the most significant factors in increasing food costs are higher fuel prices, greater demand in countries such as China and India, and droughts in several major food-producing nations.”
Establishing a major alternative fuel industry in Florida is a top priority of Bronson, who is a Steering Committee member of “25x’25,” a national bipartisan organization committed to seeing the nation’s agriculture industry produce 25 percent of the country’s energy needs by the year 2025.
Bronson developed Florida’s “Farm to Fuel” initiative, a program designed to use Florida’s more than 10 million acres of farm and timber land to produce ethanol and biodiesel as a means of keeping Florida land in open green space and in an effort to reduce the state and nation’s dependency on foreign oil.