Is It Time to Stop Putting Food in Our Cars?
The ethanol mandate continues to do more harm than good — inflicting environmental damage, raising food prices, and distorting energy markets.
Two recent developments warrant a reexamination of the fuel ethanol issue.
First, on August 20, 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a call for comments on suspending the renewable fuel standard (RFS), sometimes known as the ethanol mandate:
EPA is seeking comment on letters requesting a waiver of the renewable fuel standard and matters relevant to EPA’s consideration of those requests. Governors of the states of Arkansas and North Carolina submitted separate requests for a waiver. Section 211(o)(7)(A) of the Clean Air Act allows the Administrator of the EPA to waive the national volume requirements of the renewable fuel standard program in whole or in part if implementation of those requirements would severely harm the economy or environment of a state, a region, or the United States, or if the Administrator determines that there is inadequate domestic supply of renewable fuel.
Second, though it has not played a feature role in the 2012 presidential election, both Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama have weighed in on ethanol fuel, staking out different positions.
Our conclusions are that the ethanol mandate continues to do more harm than good — inflicting environmental damage, raising food prices, and distorting energy markets.