A general knowledge of chemistry is not going to tell you what "tocopherols" or "methyl salicylate" are, except perhaps for a vague hint based on the name. You'd be better off with a bit of computer know-how so you can just look that information up yourself as you need it. And if someone wants to ban dihydrogen monoxide... well, education will cure ignorance, but it won't cure stupidity.
Cars are tools used nearly exclusively for transportation. Thus, you only need to learn how to use them, and only when it becomes necessary for a person to drive. Contrary to that, computers are general-purpose tools, and can be used to enhance the educational process by providing access to knowledge and research on a massive scale, or by providing interactive lessons, or any other number of education-friendly purposes.
Learning to program is learning how to better harness that power, and has practical benefits for a large number of professions who aren't necessarily professional programmers, like engineers, physicists, and yes, even chemists.