NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Ethanol Election Delay

November 2, 2012

Despite a global drought that limited food supplies, the United States continued to mandate that four of every 10 bushels of corn be used in ethanol production. The food shortages have been linked to political instability in Africa, the Middle East and South America, according to the United Nations, says the Wall Street Journal.

  • The biofuel mandates are responsible for at least 192,000 premature deaths every year because of hunger.
  • Global prices for staple food produced increased from 10 percent to 25 percent.
  • However, the renewable fuel standard (RFS) mandates that nearly 15 percent of international corn production be used for fuel.
  • Next year, the RFS mandates that 13.8 billion gallons of corn ethanol be blended into gasoline.

Two groups, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and Action Aid have joined together to petition the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to get rid of the RFS. They argue that the mandate does not meet the basic standards of quality. The EPA has yet to respond to this claim.

Moreover, CEI and Action Aid have noted that the EPA has failed to consider peer-reviewed studies from multiple sources that link the fuel mandate to world hunger.

This policy is juxtaposed with current U.S. efforts in combating global poverty. Rather than responding to critics or changing the renewable fuel standard, the EPA is more concerned with appeasing the powerful farm lobby during the election season.

Source: "The Ethanol Election Delay," Wall Street Journal, October 29, 2012.


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