Friday RFS Roundup – 5/2

May 2, 2014

Last week, the Renewable Fuel Standard further revealed itself to be a classic boondoggle when the government mandate was condemned by a government report (which was then refuted by the government) and subsequently reduced by the government to meet realistic cellulosic targets. Confusing? We know.

Here is a look at some of the commentary coming off the heels of the last week:

  • Times Dispatch, Article Ignored Ethanol’s Downside: With more than 40 percent of the nation’s corn crop diverted to fuel, we’ve already seen prices for feed and food increase. By creating and perpetuating an artificial market, these costs continue to increase and are transferred to the consumer. Since the ethanol mandate has already proven unsuccessful, Americans’ tax dollars are being wasted supporting this industry.

    In Short: “Consumers’ wallets have been hit hard, too. In 2012, the average family of four saw about a $2,000 increase in food costs, due in large part to ethanol policies that divert corn from food to fuel.”

  • US News & World Report, When Gas Prices Rise, Blame Obama and the EPA: We’ve heard from Congress for years: biofuels lay “just around the corner.” After seven years of failed biofuel programs, Congress needs to act now to revise the flawed law, put the current ethanol mandate to rest and alleviate American consumers’ wallets.  

    In Short: “The powerful pro-ethanol lobby would benefit if the number was revised upwards in the final rule, requiring more corn-based ethanol be produced and sugar-based ethanol be imported from Brazil to meet the standards, but at the expense of American consumers who, because the promise of cellulosic ethanol has not yet been realized, are putting part of their food money in their fuel tank every time they fill up.”

  • Forbes, Biofuel Mandates – A Farce EPA Can No Longer Ignore: Author David Blackmon delivers a clear message in this analysis: ethanol mandates serve no benefit and cause such disruption to the marketplace that there is no other solution but to end them in their current form.

    In Short: “The problem the government faces is the problem that arises whenever any mandate or subsidy program is demonstrated to be wrong-headed and ineffective, as almost all of them ultimately are: how to cure the addiction without destroying the patient?   The ethanol and biofuels mandates have created an addiction in the farming and business community, created an artificial marketplace that is unsustainable, and encouraged farmers to convert millions of acres of land that is more suitable to farming rice, cotton, wheat and other crops to corn in order to take advantage of the programs.  The process of winding these addictive programs down almost requires a 12 step program.”

  • Phys.org, Study shows lower ozone pollution in Sao Paulo when drivers switched from ethanol to gasoline: The environmental consequences of ethanol are worse than we thought. A study that came out of Sao Paolo, Brazil and conducted by the National University of Singapore and Northwestern University found that switching from ethanol back to gasoline (to power vehicles) can cause ozone levels in the atmosphere to drop.

    In Short: “Ethanol—fuel derived mainly from plants—has been touted for several years as a much cleaner alternative to gasoline. When burned, ethanol doesn't emit as much particulates or carbon monoxide, and more importantly perhaps, hydrocarbons such as CO2. But now it turns out, it may have a previously unknown downside as Salvo and Geiger have discovered burning ethanol in cars can cause higher levels of ozone to come about in the local atmosphere than does burning regular gasoline.”

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