Eliminate the ethanol mandate: Pros and cons


by Chris Woodward

Source: One News Now

Senators Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), Dianne Feinstein (D-California), and others are looking to eliminate the corn ethanol mandate within the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires a yearly increase in the amount of renewable fuel that must be blended into the total volume of gasoline refined and consumed in the United States.

Senator Coburn says "this misguided policy has cost taxpayers billions of dollars, increased fuel prices, and made our food more expensive." He adds that eliminating the mandate "will let market forces, rather than political and parochial forces, determine how to diversify fuel supplies in an ever-changing marketplace."

Bob Dinneen of the Renewable Fuels Association disagrees. He calls the bill the "Oil Monopoly Protection Act." As OneNewsNow has reported, Dinneen says ethanol has helped consumers.

"The increased ethanol production means we are importing less petroleum, and we are displacing large amounts of imports today and saving consumers money at the pump," he argues. "One study suggests, for example, that consumers saved as much as $1.09 a gallon as a consequence of the increased ethanol use attributable to the RFS."

Sterling Burnett with the National Center for Policy Analysis supports legislation to eliminate the corn ethanol mandate. "Ethanol can actually reduce the cost at the pump, but it still costs the taxpayers more because we're subsidizing it," he explains. "Secondly, there is no question that it has made our food costs higher in all overseas markets. Corn is used as a feed crop for not only putting it on our table, but it's used to feed animals – and when you divert corn to other uses, there is less corn available and the price has gone up.”

Ethanol proponents say their industry has been providing a high-protein feed for animals. That did not stop livestock producers and other related organizations from backing attempts to change things involving ethanol earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Burnett tells OneNewsNow that he favors eliminating all subsidies for the energy sector, including the things that help the oil and gas industry.