Newt Gingrich fielded questions on ethanol policy at a town hall meeting with voters at Level 10 Apparel's warehouse in Hiawatha, Iowa on December 19, 2011. Here's what the 2012 Republican presidential candidate and former House Speaker had to say:
Newt Gingrich: If the subsidy expires, it will not have a dramatic impact, as long as we keep the renewable fuel standard and as long as we’re moving towards flex fuels cars and flex fuel stations, which are the keys we need.
Because the truth is when you get to a certain price in oil, the production of ethanol and the production of corn have improved so much in the last 25 years that we are actually very competitive with oil, as long as – it has to be carried.
I mean the problem we have – this is what some our friends don’t understand about the development of biofuels.
Big oil would like to have nothing to do with it because Big Oil would like to sell nothing but oil. Okay?
I am for every America source of energy, because I think it is a national security issue, and if you watched last week when the Iranians were practicing closing the Straights of Hormuth, and you say to yourself, “How big would the industrial depression be if the Persian Gulf was cut off?”
We should be pretty deeply committed to getting to American sufficiency in energy and ethanol’s a part of that.
Voter: To that point, what happens under a Gingrich administration when oil’s back down to $40 a barrel? Then what happens?
Newt Gingrich: Well first of all, I think it’s not likely to have oil back down to $40 a barrel.
And second, as long as we have a renewable fuel standard it won’t matter, because you’ll have E 10 or E 15 ethanol.
I favor strongly going to E 15. There’s no technical reason the cars can’t use E 15 and that makes a big difference.
But in the long run we ought to do what the Brazilians have done. The Brazilians are going to a flex fuel car where every single car in Brazil can use any form of fuel you want and the result is that the Brazilians don’t rely on the Middle East for anything. Zero.
Okay, that ought to be our strategic goal.Video of Newt Gingrich's ethanol remarks in Hiawatha, Iowa: