In his Washington Post blog post on the Renewable Fuel Standard, Ryan Cooper – just one of the paper’s resident Dems — called for an end to the corn ethanol mandate. Despite its good intentions, Cooper explained that the policy is just not living up to its promises.
While we await the announcement of 2014 ethanol blending levels by the EPA, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) filed a letter to Gina McCarthy, head of the EPA calling for adjustments to the Renewable Fuel Standard, with the support of 168 other members of Congress from both sides of the aisle.
Classic American cars. Ski boats and pontoons. Harleys. Snowmobiles. They’re all a part of what makes our Pure Michigan life so special. But they’re all also threatened by a broken federal policy known as the Renewable Fuel Standard.
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a Field of Dreams-like policy. It was created with the belief that if the government built a market for biofuels, the demand and technologies to support production would magically come, like Shoeless Joe Jackson emerging from an Iowa cornfield.
Motorists are familiar with ethanol because gasoline pumps are affixed with a sticker divulging that today’s gasoline contains 10 percent ethanol. Those who monitors their vehicle’s gas mileage have noticed they must fill up more often because ethanol packs less energy than gasoline.
The Renewable Fuel Standard has become an impossible-to-meet mandate, completely disconnected from market demand. The issues are countless – the looming blend wall, engine damage, increasing food prices, compliance fraud and increased GHG emissions.
Corn ethanol is forcing its way into the marketplace and is likely increasing greenhouse gas emissions, according to the National Academy of Sciences. In fact, corn-based ethanol nearly doubles GHG emissions over 30 years and increases greenhouse gases for 167 years.
Republicans have long criticized the EPA’s renewable fuel standards, which require gas refiners to mix biofuels with conventional gasoline. Rep. Peter Welch (D., Vt.) remarks, originally reported in the Hill, are at odds with the Obama administration’s stance on the program.
With the government shutdown, the rest of the country is left to bear the consequences of continued inaction. Reform to the ethanol mandate or RFS, which appeared to be moving forward, is now stalled with the rest of the government.