Obama Backs Ethanol Mandate

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama told farmers this week that he backs the federal requirement to use ethanol as a way to reduce reliance on oil imports.

The alternative fuel, distilled mostly from corn, is popular in farm country, particularly the U.S. Midwest. But sky-high grain prices and rising food prices have led to suggestions to relax the so-called renewable fuels standard.

Federal law calls for use of 9 billion gallons of ethanol as motor fuel this year.

A week ago, the Republican National Convention called for an end to ethanol mandates, in line with the views of its nominee, John McCain.

"I've long been a strong supporter of the RFS," Obama said during a brief telephone call to members of the National Farmers Union. "I am strongly committed to advancing biofuels as a key component of reducing our dependence on foreign oil."