August 30 – The world has changed in unexpected ways since Congress passed legislation in 2005 establishing a renewable fuel standard.
Domestic energy production has increased while gasoline consumption has dipped. And, unfortunately, innovation in next-generation fuels hasn't yet lived up to mass production hopes.
The result is federal mandates — particularly those pertaining to ethanol — that are causing unintended problems.
Don't get us wrong: The renewable fuel standard should not be scrapped. However, it should be idled down for a variety of reasons.
And that's the job of Congress, which we hope will find ways to ease the pressures caused by the current mandates without ending the program.
In the meantime, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently issued a waiver lowering volume mandates for ethanol for 2014.
Corn ethanol, in particular, has been under scrutiny. The “blend wall” is a phrase coined to describe the collision between requirements to mix increasing amounts of ethanol into gasoline, and the inability of the current system to absorb it.