Michigan Live: Production of corn ethanol as an automotive fuel source should cease

January 18, 2013

Mark J. Perry, Jan. 16- The following guest view was written by UM-Flint economics professor Mark J. Perry.

Among all the problems that have surfaced as a result of using ethanol as an alternative to gasoline, one is especially troubling. It can damage automobile engines and fuel systems.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) case for E15, a fuel blend consisting of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, has completely fallen apart, as evidenced by the recent report from the American Automobile Association (AAA) that E15 can cause accelerated engine wear and failure, resulting in costly repairs for unsuspecting consumers.

The AAA’s report has again raised the question of whether Congress should roll back the mandate requiring escalating production of ethanol, mainly from corn. The answer is, increasingly, yes.

The Renewable Fuel Standard, which Congress enacted in 2005, originally projected that by 2010 the advanced biofuels industry would have taken off. But that has not happened due to many economic and technological barriers that severely limited ethanol’s effectiveness as a fuel.