The corn growing bonanza driven by government subsidies for the alternative fuel ethanol has tipped yet another domino in the economic food chain: Starbucks coffees. At least, it's part of the reason Starbucks is raising its prices, on average, 9 cents per drink.
American farmers planted more corn this year than at any time in more than a half century, yet cattle ranchers, dairy farmers and other food producers are finding the supply tight. That's because so many corn farmers are growing their crop for fuel, not food. The rise in corn prices is one reason for the rise in milk prices, which is one reason for the rise in the cost of a latte.
This ripple through the economy -- felt in as many products as contain the ubiquitous corn starch or hydrogenated corn oil -- is just one down-side to corn-based ethanol. The feel-good fuel isn't the panacea that politicians make it out to be.
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