Andrew P. Morriss, Jan. 10— For more than two decades, special interests have persuaded Congress to mandate Americans buy ethanol whether they want to or not. As a result, 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop is now used for ethanol rather than food.
The ethanol mandate means that ordinary Americans pay more for a poorer quality automobile fuel and more for groceries. Ethanol proponents claim these costs will bring us environmental benefits and energy security. They are wrong.
A good first question about a mandate is “how good can a product be if you have to force people to buy it?”
The answer: not very good. Ethanol is vastly inferior to gasoline.
Consider these glaring drawbacks: Its energy density is a third lower, reducing cars' emissions. It attracts water, so it cannot be transported in regular gas and oil pipelines, reduces lubricants' effectiveness, and shortens engine lives. It is caustic, corroding engine parts and dislodging contaminants from fuel tanks.