The wrong ‘mix’: End the ethanol ruse
With Republican White House, House and Senate control at hand, the days of blending corn-based ethanol into America’s fuel supply under an ill-advised federal mandate should be numbered. Whether that actually happens will test how President-elect Donald Trump translates campaign rhetoric into policy.
Congressional Republicans have long tried to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard. The day before Thanksgiving, the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency gave the new GOP-controlled Congress fresh motivation to do so: It increased the amount of biofuels — mostly corn-based ethanol — that must be blended in 2017, The Daily Caller reports.
Ethanol costs more than gasoline but produces less energy. Blended at more than 10 percent, it hinders performance and can damage engines. Producing it diverts enough corn to raise food prices — and generates pollutants that offset any supposed environmental benefits.
Without the RFS, which also costs refiners millions of dollars for compliance, there would be no market for this “government moonshine.”
Yet Mr. Trump, as a candidate seeking votes, especially in corn-rich Iowa, favored increasing the RFS. As president, he should encourage congressional Republicans to do away with it. Backing corn-based ethanol may be politically expedient at times, but mandating its use always has been economic and environmental folly — and should have ended long ago.