In its zeal to impose the ethanol boondoggle, Congress has mandated it, subsidized it, and protected it from competitors. Now some Senators are siccing prosecutors on those who still won't get on their ethanol corn-wagon.
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.
The corn-based fuel has long been subsidized by the government, which should rankle Republicans. It's worse for the environment than gasoline, which should irk Democrats. And ethanol has been shown to drive up food prices, because farmers are devoting more acreage to corn for fuel instead of food.
Government mandates are set to cost consumers billions in 2014, and not just in health care, according to Bloomberg News. The Renewable Fuel Standard requires refiners to mix ethanol into gasoline for consumers' cars and trucks.
The scientific and economic reality is that ethanol is much more costly to produce than gasoline, while providing 27 percent lower fuel economy than gasoline on an energy equivalent basis. Hence consumers have to purchase more fuel to drive the same distances.
A congressional hearing was held on government-mandated renewable fuel standards (RFS). The consensus among industry analysts and experts was that the RFS policy is driving gasoline prices higher. The policy also is distorting energy markets and imposing economic burdens on millions of Americans.
Oil refiners oppose the ethanol mandate, but they are hardly the only ones who take issue with the policy. Environmentalists, tax payers, food producers and consumer protection groups of all types, anti-hunger advocates and even farmers have all spoken out against the RFS.
A Congress Blog post explained how the RFS effectively established corn ethanol as the “practical” fuel of choice for RFS compliance, and then proceeded to slam those who coped with the policy as best they could by making that very choice.
Refining industry executives and restaurant owners are set to meet with lawmakers on Wednesday in a bid to convince them to scrap an eight-year-old renewable fuel mandate.