In his letter ("The better alternative fuel? Pickens picks natural gas," Readers Report, Aug. 17), Boone Pickens misses the point in comparing natural gas with ethanol because this is not a them-vs.-us situation. No one alternative fuel, even ethanol, can replace the 115 billion gallons of gasoline consumed in the U. S. each year. He also misses the point that natural gas is still a fossil fuel and therefore contributes to additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a major contributor to "global warming."
Corn production, the feedstock for most ethanol, removes more than 12.7 tons of carbon dioxide per acre from the atmosphere, based on a 120-bushel yield for its productive cycle. Multiply that 12.7 tons per acre by the 79 million acres of corn sown this year, and essentially, U. S. corn farmers plant a rain forest in the Midwest annually!
Corn is a homegrown, renewable feedstock for many domestic industrial uses, including ethanol. You can't say that about natural gas, so let's focus on the real problem. America imports more than half of its petroleum from overseas, primarily the Middle East.
National Corn Growers Assn.
St. Louis, Mo.