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Finally, America May Be Catching On to Ethanol Racket

ethanol-fuelFrom – -By Nicolas Loris

The results of the Iowa caucus proved that even Iowans—long seen as fervent proponents of ethanol—don’t view Washington’s favoritism to it as necessarily still required.

Much like many campaigns out there, the Renewable Fuel Standard that mandates the use of biofuels in our gasoline has been full of empty promises. When Congress passed the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2005 and expanded the mandate in 2007, policymakers promised reduced dependence on foreign oil, a new source of cleaner energy to lower gas prices, a stronger economy, and an improved environment.

This was certainly wishful thinking, as none of it has come true.

Instead, the policy has resulted in adverse effects to the economy and the environment and demonstrated the folly of the government attempting to centrally plan America’s energy future.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 first mandated that renewable fuels be mixed into America’s gasoline supply, primarily using corn-based ethanol. The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act increased the quotas significantly.

By 2022, there must be 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol and a total of 36 billion gallons of biofuels blended into the nation’s fuel supply, including soybean-based biodiesel. The program does not end in 2022, however, but grants the Environmental Protection Agency authority to set yearly targets.

The mandate has harmed Americans in a number of ways. Ethanol has only two-thirds the energy content of petroleum-based gasoline, so drivers pay more. In addition, the Renewable Fuel Standard has not delivered on the promise of reducing dependence on oil and protection from high prices.

Because ethanol contributes such a small percentage of the overall transportation fuel market (a mere 5 percent in 2014), it has failed to tamp down prices, which mostly continued to climb from 2002 to 2012 despite increased mandated ethanol use and high oil prices allegedly making ethanol more competitive.

Supply and demand (largely of crude oil) will determine the price at the pump, and the contribution of the Renewable Fuel Standard as a transportation fuel is a mere drop in the bucket against the nation’s entire fuel use.

The Renewable Fuel Standard also artificially diverts food to fuel, driving up prices at the grocery store.

A few years ago, 40 percent of America’s corn crop went to ethanol production. In 2012, the amount of corn used to produce ethanol in the U.S. exceeded the entire corn consumption of the continent of Africa and in any single country with the exception of China.

Now, if market forces drove corn production away from food use and toward transportation fuel because it were more profitable, there would be no problem. But that’s not what is occurring here. Producers are diverting food to fuel because of the government-imposed mandate, and since corn is a staple ingredient for many foods and an important feedstock for animals, families are hit with higher prices from a wide range of food products.

Policymakers hailed biofuels as the green solution to dirty oil. But, in its first of three reports to Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency projected that nitrous oxides, hydrocarbons, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, ground-level ozone, and ethanol vapor emissions, among other air pollutants, increase at different points in the production and use of ethanol.

A study by Iowa State University researchers concluded that incentivizing more biofuel production with government policies leads to more adverse environmental consequences caused by farming, the use of fertilizers, and land-use conversion for agricultural production, resulting in increased soil erosion, sedimentation, and nitrogen and phosphorus runoff into lakes and streams.

Though the mandate benefits a select few in the Midwest, the Renewable Fuel Standard spreads the cost to the rest of Americans, including many in the agricultural community. The biofuels mandate gives preferential treatment to the production of corn and soybeans at the expense of other agricultural products and artificially eliminates the risk and competition necessary to drive innovation and economic growth.

The problem with the Renewable Fuel Standard is not the use of biofuels themselves, but rather that it is a policy that mandates the production and consumption of the fuel.

Having politicians centrally plan energy decisions best left for the private sector distorts markets and demonstrates the high costs and unintended consequences of government control.

Congress should admit that the Renewable Fuel Standard is costly to the economy and the environment, benefiting a select group of special interests. Importantly, Congress should recognize that the federal government has no business determining what type of fuel we should use and how much of it we should consume each year.

The only viable solution to this broken policy is to repeal the bio-fuels mandate altogether.

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Robert Otremba

The biofuel mandate is a total bust as stated in the aforementioned responses. I didn’t read many of them,but the thing I didn’t see was the impact to mileage when this fuel is used. My experience revealed a decrease in mpg. Using non ethanol on the interstate @an average speed of 75-80 mph yielded about 31-32 mpg vs 27-28 mpg. This non-e is more expensive BUT it is less caustic to the engine which is obviously better and you gain more miles per gallon!.Further, using ethanol in older non-flex fuel capable cars will run into costly repairs down stream..I’ve seen efuel w/ 15% in lieu of 10% .An other hair brained scheme being mandated by big government.


Steve & Kerry are right. Such fuel causes motorists to use more as it is inefficient not including the mechanical problems it creates. A legion of Washington bureaucrats and elitists with a few politicians have an apathetic agenda to micromanage we the people. Check the Constitution and do some research. Sorry guys I got carried away


No one mentions that it takes over a gallon of oil based energy to manufacture a gallon of ethanol. This includes the energy to farm the corn, produce the needed fertilizer, but especially remove the last 5% of water that cannot be distilled from ethanol. It must be absorbed by molecular sieves which then requires a large amount of energy to recycle the molecular sieve material for reuse to absorb more water. The only way ethanol can compete with gasoline is huge government subsidies which make the end product reasonably priced to add to gasoline. Typical government stupidity.


Same type of program that was around years ago where the government paid our farmers not to plant crops so we could pay Russia and other communist countries money to import their crops to us.

Ted Cruz has been against this ethanol thing from the get-go. And he won Iowa.


I am so sorry to have to tell you this, but Americans are so synthesized
with the gimme, gimme system that they can not be awakened !!!

Maynard Robinson

Ethanol has been the culprit in seizing up mower engines,outboard motors, and automobile engines, and reduces mileage in all cars and trucks in the U.S. It raises the cost of all food stuffs. It also increases the maintenance costs all vehicles using it. The EPA ought to have it’s head examined to have come up with this idea in the first place.

HK Latham

Cato years ago put out a report that in 1999 for Archer Midland Daniels to make $1 in profit, it took $30 taxpayer dollars. Along with all the other horrible problems with ethanol it is totally shameful. When is America going to wake up.


On top of the afore mentioned comments the ethanol program is subsidized way too much. If this program is doing so well then remove the subside and let life on own merit, as what most government programs should.

Gordy Andersen

Government is the problem, not the solution. All your readers should push your state legislators to institute an Article 5 convention of states to reign in the power of the Federal government. Go to this website to learn more.


I have not heard anyone say anything about the damage ethanol causes. It clogs carburetors no matter how much gas treatment you put in it to a point it’s best to throw it away and buy a new one. It’s crap!


This article fails to mention the DAMAGE that ethanol does to fuel systems and other engine parts.
Ethanol is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts water, and causes severe corrosion to aluminum and other metals.
I have had several expensive carburetors literally dissolved by this crap in our fuel.
It also attacks the flexible fuel hoses, turning the hose liners to goo and clogging up the fuel system as well.
Many marine engine manufacturers will void their warranty if they find evidence of ethanol-laced fuel being used. It is stated plainly in the owners manual.
END the ethanol mandate NOW, and eliminate it from our fuel supply TOTALLY!


RE: Ethanol/gasoline mix One of the consequences of ethanol laced auto fuel is that ethanol makes gasoline hdroscopic; in other words it encourages the mixture to mix with water and contaminate the resulting fuel. That then becomes corrosive to aluminum fuel systems such as many small engines such as chain saws, weed eaters and larger engines like those that are installed in hundreds of thousands of small airplane engines that can legally use unleaded 87 octane automotive gasoline as long as there is no ethanol in the fuel. Since the EPA has mandated ethanol in most of the country’s auto fuel, these many smaller aircraft are forced to use the only aviation gasoline manufactured, 100 octane “low lead” fuel which still contains lead as an octane enhancer needed by only a small percentage of higher performance aircraft piston engines. If auto fuel without ethanol was available, there would be much… Read more »

The OLD Warhorse

The BIG problem in this country is that everybody, I mean everybody has their hand out wanting the government to GIVE them something. They (we) figure, what the hell, they (fill in the name of your favorite pet peeve; welfare, illegals, minorities, yes, even seniors) are getting money from the government, why the hell shouldn’t I???? Of course, politicians, always looking for ways to buy votes, keep on giving away other people’s money, because they can, and, in fact, buy votes. They used to say that Social Security was the “Third Rail of Politics” because any politician who wanted to change it would be attacked by his opposition and immediately defeated in the next election, primary or general. It was and is true. That said, it is also true of welfare recipients, food stamp recipients, student loan recipients, study grant recipients, and the list goes on and on and on.… Read more »


Ethanol does not burn efficiently in cars, trucks tractors and especially not in small engines as an additive has to be added to offset the damaging effects of the worthless fuel known as ethanol.
The government supporting the corn producing states especially IOWA just for votes and giving in to lobbyists.
We need a government that is not run by lobbyists.

James Rust

We got into this mess due to Congressional action that told businessmen to build ethanol distilleries because of a mandate for ethanol use. Now we have too much ethanol and you can’t completely stop the mandate because billions of dollars have been invested in honest responses to dumb government policies. Stop increasing the mandate, encourage ethanol exports, and slowly reduce the mandate.


Just another example of problems created when any fed agency starts issuing mandates to further it’s agenda. One sure bet is that the taxpayers will be on the short end.

Dan L

The sooner repealed the better for everyone. If you use it on your small engines without additives your carbuator will plug up.

john nawalanic

I check my gas mileage every week and when ethanol came to be my mileage decreased by 10%! Funny how the pump said 10% ethanol in every gallon of gas! Using corn to make gas is just plain wrong in so many ways!

David Schoepf

If I remember my chemistry correctly, it takes more energy to produce ethanol, that it returns. A net loss!
Only the Government would claim it as a gain.


Robert Simpson is absolutely correct in his comments. If you want to bash government mandates, OK but don’t use the food vs fuel, anti-farming, corn farming-is-awful cool-aid for your reasons. There is also many environmental benefits to modern farm practices. Farm products do much to improve our balance of trade. The very same corn grown for fuel is also recycled and used for feed. All agricultural activities have so much more to benefit us as opposed to bricks and asphalt. Modern farmers are the worlds greatest conservationists. Corn prices from the field are currently very low but food prices are still very high. Corn is beautiful. You are picking the wrong villain. Please use facts, not conjecture. I am disappointed AMAC chooses to stand on such shaky ground on this issue.