When the nation gathers around its television sets this upcoming Sunday to watch the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers face off for best title in the NFL, Americans everywhere will be feeling the effects of our weak energy policy (even if they don’t know it).
Chicken wing consumption during this year’s Super Bowl is estimated to be 1.23 billion wings, down 12.3 million from last year. One of the culprits culpable for the decline is high ethanol prices, which have driven chicken companies to produce one percent fewer birds due in large part to “record high corn and feed prices,” according to the 2013 Wing Report by the National Chicken Council. Meanwhile, the Renewable Fuels Standard diverted 40% of the nation’s total corn production to be used as motor fuel, in the form of ethanol. This, combined with severe drought conditions last year, has driven the price of ethanol to record highs, which in turn forced chicken farmers to reduce the size of their flocks. Thus, Americans are seeing painfully higher prices at the grocery store.
According to Gallup, nearly 76% of Americans say higher food prices are hurting their family’s finances, and this year’s Super Bowl festivities will be the latest manifestation of that fact. Prices are only estimated to get even higher. Converting 40% of our animal feed to gasoline because of the renewable fuel standard is not helping consumers or their pocketbooks, as misguided energy policies continue to “peck” away at our recovery.