The result of the ethanol mandate, oil companies argue, is a “blend wall” that inevitably translates into higher gasoline prices for consumers, since oil firms have to buy special credits to make up for missing the law’s blending targets.
The 2007 federal law mandating ever-greater ethanol consumption remains on the books, and it is starting to create the economic equivalent of a multi-car freeway pileup.
America’s prairies are shrinking. Spurred on by the rush for biofuels, farmers are digging up grasslands in the northern Plains to plant crops at the quickest pace since the 1930s. While that’s been a boon for farmers, the upheaval could create unexpected problems.
Congress's response to the drought afflicting the farm belt gets curiouser and curiouser. By now it’s clear that the main impact is on the corn crop, about 40 percent of which usually goes to feed cows, pigs and chickens. As supply shrinks, prices spike, and producers of meat and poultry get hit.