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.
The government mandated blend of ethanol in every gallon of gasoline is a full-fledged disaster and neither Congress, nor the Environmental Protection Agency shows any indication of either repealing or abandoning it.
The RFS created a market-based compliance system in which refiners must submit credits to prove that the required amount of renewable fuel is used or paid for by them each year. These credits, known as Renewable Identification Numbers, can be bought or sold like commodities.
Anticarbon central planning was bound to distort markets, but it turns out that the planners often increase emissions as they try to engineer President Obama's "new energy economy."
The number of American feedlots leaving the business increased by 9,900 percent in the last year — a mass exodus prompted by the rising cost of feed.
The original law mandated the use of one billion gallons of cellulosic fuel in 2013. This may have been the worst government forecast in history. Even with taxpayer subsidies, total cellulosic volume in 2012 was about 20,000 gallons. The government was off by a mere 99.9%.
The summer is high driving season, so $4 gasoline in many parts of the country will add to the cost of family vacations. The gas price is mostly dictated by supply and demand, but Washington is helping to keep prices high.
"Domestic gasoline demand was assumed to rise to 150 billion gallons in 2012 and 155 billion this year. Last year the country used merely 89% of that projection, and 2013 will probably come in at 80%. The decline is due mainly to slow economic growth and better fuel economy.
Food price inflation is indeed complex, and there’s no simple way to prevent it. But there is a single step that government could take that would almost certainly significantly arrest the rapid rise in the cost of food: end ethanol energy mandates.
Food shortages across Africa, the Middle East and South America are the worst since the 1980s and have produced hunger and political instability. So perhaps this emergency is the time to relax the U.S. ethanol mandate, which diverts four of every 10 domestic bushels of corn into gas tanks.