Another Failed Mandate

The government mandate requiring the use of ethanol is failing. Why is producing nearly 14 billion gallons of corn ethanol in 2011 a failure?

Because it requires tax payer subsidies and forces tax payers to use a product that isn’t needed.

In addition, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 as amended, increased the renewable fuel standard (RFS) to 36 billion gallons by 2022, which must be met using a product that doesn’t exist in anything more than experimental quantities – cellulosic ethanol.

Now, with this failed policy reaching a tipping point, ethanol producers are beginning to go bankrupt. The EPA has had to cut the annual cellulosic requirement because the product doesn’t exist.

In an attempt to extend the use of corn ethanol, the EPA is trying to force the use of e15, or gasoline that contains 15% ethanol, but e15 shouldn’t be used by most vehicles, because it can damage the engine.

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is holding its 25th annual conference this August where it will be pushing for all things ethanol – primarily more subsidies and a drive to force the public to use e15.

In addition, the ACE conference will try to scare the public by touting how gasoline fumes cause asthma and other respiratory diseases with the session titled, Clearing the Air – How Toxic Gasoline Emissions Impact Public Health.

Using ethanol from corn has been called a “crime against humanity” by the UN. Nearly 40% of our corn crop is used for ethanol. Using corn for ethanol has caused the price of basic foods to rise everywhere, including in America, and food is needed by poor people around the world.

Wouldn’t it be better to export our corn? America was once called the bread basket of the world. With population growing around the world, our farmers could once again feed the world by exporting corn, wheat and soybeans grown here.

Ethanol has other drawbacks. It can’t be transported by pipeline and must be transported by trucks and barges. This increases emissions and adds to costs. Ethanol, i.e., e85, only has 85% of the energy content of gasoline, so you get fewer miles per gallon when using ethanol. There is strong evidence that the production of ethanol has little effect on reducing CO2 emissions. (CO2 emissions are another prime reason why the EPA is pushing ethanol.)

My earlier article, Should Ethanol Mandate be Abolished? has basic information about ethanol and cellulosic ethanol. It shows why ethanol and cellulosic ethanol can never replace more than a small portion of the oil used for gasoline, which, according to its proponents, has been a major reason for using ethanol.

Renewable Fuel Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen made it clear that, “the wolves are at the door.” By the wolves, he is referring to those who oppose ethanol, but in effect, he is really referring to tax payers who are paying for the subsidies supporting ethanol and who want to curtail the ethanol mandate.

The push for ethanol has exposed America’s farmers to a legislatively induced threat. Thus far, farmers have benefited by producing corn for ethanol, but any sudden discontinuance of the program could hurt farmers.

For once, government needs to recognize the harm it is doing and eliminate the requirement for cellulosic ethanol while also scaling back requirements for corn-based ethanol in an orderly manner, thereby allowing farmers time to shift their focus to the export market.

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