US ethanol subsidies worth security benefit – Gulf Oil CEO

25 February 2009 17:26  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS news)--The US ethanol industry should not be ashamed of the subsidies it receives because they are outweighed by the national security benefits, the chief executive of gasoline marketer Gulf Oil said on Wednesday.

"This business should not be shy about demanding a place at the table," Joseph Petrowski, Gulf Oil's CEO, told the National Ethanol Conference in San Antonio.

Petrowski said public policy ought to be focused on reducing the US dependence on petroleum transport fuels, especially given the country's reliance on oil imports.

"It should be job number one to break the back of this dependency," Petrowski said, adding that biofuels "are the fastest way to do that".

Petrowski pointed out the relatively low cost of the government support for ethanol compared with the billions of dollars that have spent by the US on the war in Iraq.

The executive linked the security issues surrounding oil imports to a provocative call for the US to scrap its tariff on ethanol imports, a long-standing point of contention with Brazil.

"I do not fear Brazilian ethanol like I fear Venezuelan oil imports," he said.

Gulf Oil operates in the northeastern US, and has sales of 250,000 bbl/day. It blends 20,000 bbl/day of ethanol into its gasoline.

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By: Stephen Burns
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