Opinion: Increased cost of groceries can be blamed on Renewable Fuel Standard

I have been a stay at home mother for the last several years but now that my children are of school age I have decided to re-enter the work force. However, as an active mother who spends too much time in the grocery store, it’s amazing what you can learn. A few months ago, I overheard a woman talking about how groceries were becoming more expensive and that the government was to blame.

I had no idea what she was talking about so I decided to go home and do a little research of my own to better understand this problem. I’m very aware of the hundreds of dollars my family spends weekly on groceries trying to feed a small family of four. I know many families in New Hampshire that have three or more children who have to spend even more than I do.

After learning more about this Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), I found that the gasoline companies have to use more renewable fuels in their gasoline in the upcoming years. I didn’t really know what a renewable fuel was either and found out it was basically anything that comes from nature that can be turned into fuel for our cars. I later read that one very common renewable fuel is ethanol, which is made mostly from the starch in corn kernels.

So much of our food that we eat comes from corn such as cereals, baked goods, salad dressings, snacks and much more. I also learned that farmers use corn as one of their main sources of food for their animals, including cows, pigs and chickens. The government is demanding that a huge portion of the U.S. corn crop go towards making renewable fuels, which raises animal feed and food prices.

I also discovered the RFS is not only raising food costs but also prices at the pump. Gas prices are already burdensome and I can’t imagine them becoming more expensive, particularly through a government mandate. I read that ethanol is not as efficient as regular gasoline so we have to use more of it too. We all need gasoline to drive to work, etc. I drive a mini-van and it costs more than $60 for me to fill my tank each time, because of this high price I find myself driving less and less.

During a time when so many of us are struggling financially, the government should be protecting middle class American families, not hurting them. We must consider both consequences and benefits very carefully.

That’s why I circulated a letter of concern about the RFS to 50 women, many mothers like me, and we signed and sent it off to our United States Senators and United States Representatives. As women, many of us are also homemakers and by extension lead very busy lives. Food costs are rising and they will continue to rise if something is not done about the RFS. We hope our federal officials will either repeal or fix the RFS so it causes less harm to our families.

Jaime McDonald is a homemaker and lives in Concord with her husband and two children.

Author: Jaime McDonald

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