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  • Ethanol: List of Mandate's Victims Keeps Growing

    Bring a rancher, a motorcyclist, a governor, a poultry producer, a gas station manager, and a restaurant owner together around a table, and they probably wouldn’t have much in common regarding their day-to-day lives. But they have all joined the growing ranks of people dissatisfied with the renewable fuel standard.

    The most recent outspoken discontent is the National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR). The federal ethanol mandate costs each restaurant $18,000 a year because of the higher food prices, according to a newly released study by PricewaterhouseCoopers prepared for the NCCR.

    The Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandated that Americans use 15 billion gallons of ethanol in their gasoline by 2015. That’s 5.3 billion bushels worth of corn being diverted from food to fuel.

    While the promises of lowered greenhouse gas emissions and lower gas prices have yet to materialize, Americans continue to face real consequences from the ethanol mandate. This summer’s drought has cast these consequences in sharp relief.

    Higher corn prices directly affect the price of the food we buy in grocery stores and make up the lifeblood of restaurants—products from breads and margarine to less immediately obvious ones like ice cream and corn-fed beef, chicken, and pork.

    But as NCCR executive director Rob Green aptly states, the problem is not ethanol itself:

    The chain-restaurant industry isn’t anti-ethanol. We simply believe it is time for the ethanol industry to stand on its own, as restaurant owners and operators do every day. Congress and the president should repeal the misguided Renewable Fuel Standard and allow the free market to allocate corn to its most highly valued use—not one imposed by a government that forces food to be burned for inefficient fuel.

    The problem is the 2005 mandate. Whether it intends to or not, the mandate has and continues to create winners and losers. The clear winners are bioengineering companies, corn farmers, and ethanol producers, all of whom have a guaranteed (mandated) market regardless of the market price or real demand for their product.

    But the ranks of ethanol mandate losers are getting bigger. The EPA should not treat them as a dispensable rank and file. Temporarily waiving the mandate would only cause uncertainty. Instead, it should abandon the mandate entirely.

    Posted in Energy, Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    22 Responses to Ethanol: List of Mandate's Victims Keeps Growing

    1. KJinAZ says:

      Maybe we need to implement an IQ test to work in DC. It seems that NOBODY in DC understands cause and effect of anything they do. Ethanol was a bad idea from the start, and has continually proven to be a bad idea. Anyone with a brain should be able to understand that.

      • John Hamilton Burns says:

        I disagree. Ethanol is the future because it can be mixed with gasoline and not hinder our transportation needs. The source is the problem. Growing corn, because it is subsidized, is what farmers are growing, but I guarantee you they would rather rotate their crops and plant something else. Imagine if that subsidized money were used for social security? Think of the transportation costs? Transportaing that corn to a distillery to be processed. Think of that cost? Re think that source? Garbage is our greatest resource. Yes it is renewable to a point, but it will meet right now the 2015 mandate of 53 billion gallons annually. Lets do the math. A human being in the USA creates annually 3/4 of a ton of trash per year. Each ton of garbage produces 78 gallons of ethanol. if you have 300 million people in the USA. Multiply that by 78 gallons. Answer 17,550,000,000 Gallons annually. Work 24/7 and remove those landfill mountains in ten years. Triple that output 52,650,000,000 annually. The process that I describe is being used in third world countries right now. They are making a profit from their garbage. Why shouldn't we? Or are we going to pratice this exercise in futilaty forever?

    2. Haditwgov says:

      Which of the two mandates is more harmful, biofuels or Obamacare? Perhaps we develop an argument along the lines of how non progressive both mistakes are.

    3. Next time offer a seat to the table for those in the Gulf who have been negatively effected by the growing dead zone from the Mississippi River that is driven by the excessive fertilizer and other BS required to produce all that cornahol.

      Yes, it is bad enough when the EPA plays economic winners and losers games, but it's even worse when they start playing ecological winner and losers games. Seems the first priority of their mission ought to be 'first do no harm'. Seems like an appropriately designed court case challenging the EPAs right to create a provable ecological disaster zone in the name dubious global warming science for cornahol could solve this issue. Where's the creative econut legal groups on the right when you need them…?

    4. Darvin Dowdy says:

      Well the GOP/Conservatives should certainly go after the fast-food-managers vote. Another winner for the GOP. Thats certainly going to win elections for them, yes sir. They dis'd the farm/agri-biz vote both in '08 and '12 (which contributed greatly to their loss). Failing to look at the BIG picture. And that is the fact that the USA "exports" more of this high priced corn (and other grains) than any other nation on the planet! Higher prices mean larger revenue streams flowing into this nations economy from the outside. Thats something we desperately need since, in most cases, our nations revenue is being redistributed outward.

    5. Only people in congress could think using a major food stock for fuel and subsidizing it and the resulting mixture can be very damaging to engines is a good idea………

      • Sled says:

        AMEN, and don't forget the fact that ethanol reduced your cars gas milage. Everything about using corn/ethanol for fuel makes it a bad idea.

    6. reelman1946 says:

      Left out was the cost to all makers of Marine engines (outboards)…millions have been spent by individuals to repair the ethanol damage and we all have to buy special treatments to pour into the gas tanks now…
      the royal dufus congress should never ever make fuel dependent on a crop…
      because crops depend upon weather.. for openers …and it lowers MPG in every engine!

    7. fred buschbaum says:

      A thought or two. Ethanol attracts water and contaminates fuel tanks. Ethanol in California is mandated to increase it's percentage in fuel in the next few years to outgrow the total farm acerage of the state. And it is a less efficient fuel. In Brazil, using corn for fuel has caused food riots. Now, brazil is switching to ethanol made from sugarcane, less fertilizers, etc. and not a precious food supply. The only thing our polititians know about alcohol is how much goes into their third martini at lunch. And that is vsry high on their priority lists.

    8. K. Adam says:

      The problem is not ethanol. The problem is the source of that commodity. There is no reason for corn to be the ethanol crop. IMHO sugar cane would be much more efficient source and sugar cane does not compete with corn in the food chain. There are millions of acres of arable land which heretofore was used for the production of rice and which now lie fallow and could be used for sugar cane production.

    9. Guest says:

      I'm having to rebuild the carb on an older ATV because the ethanol had destroyed the working parts. Who's going to pay for this damage? Yep! I do, even if I don't want the ethanol.

    10. Jim says:

      As always free markets are best. When our government decides what's best for us we are all in trouble (except for the corn growers that lobbied for this mess and their congressmen that bought farmland votes with this bad legislation).

    11. randydutton says:

      The motorcyclist hates ethanol because it destroys his motorcycle. See the AMA (American Motorcycle Association's) complaints about ethanol.

      The gas station owner has to pay about $30,000 for a pump that can handle E15 because ethanol destroys the other pumps. Ethanol also runs tank sediment through his system and increases tank corrosion, and liability.

      Equipment operators hate ethanol because it damages or destroys open-cycle engines (300 million in the US, valued by the OPEI at $1.5 trillion).

      Drivers hate ethanol because they have to buy more gallons of gas to go the same distance, thus paying more in taxes, and damage to their vehicles. The EPA knew long ago that E15 damaged half the US automobiles it was tested in. Only political pressure forced the EPA to approve it.

      Boaters hate ethanol because it has a short shelf life, soaks up water, destroys engines and gas tanks, and can leave them stranded on the water. E15 can be lethal to boaters.

      The article missed so much.

    12. allen says:

      From CORN to SWITCH GRASS. Is the answer however the Congress will not do it because you can not go home and bring the bacon. On offering switch grass. Another way to screw the people with subsides. What the Farm gets in subsides an average family could get a new car every five years.

    13. Doyle Garrett says:

      My car is twelve years old and can not use E-85 fuel, which is going to be mandatory.
      My stomach is 72 years old and can digest corn, which will not be affordable.

      Perhaps I should just stop driving and drink the E-85 fuel. What could go wrong?

    14. David Thomas says:

      About a 1/4 of my jetski repair business is problems from ethanol. I feel sorry for my customers because these are problems through no fault of their own. If they go to15% it will get worse.

    15. askeptic says:

      Ask the AAA what they think of Ethanol.

    16. Make Common Sense says:

      I remember being at a trade conference many years ago when the ethanol issue was just raising its ugly head. The proponents were there to push it as a fuel. Lower cost, greater efficiency, less polution, etc.
      I made the suggestion that the ethanol industry do two things if they really believed ethanol was such a great idea. 1) Refuse government subsidies – It is supposed to be such a great fuel, why would it need subsidies? 2) Use ethanol as the fuel for producing ethanol. Why should they need to use other energy sources to produce the ethanol fuel if it was such a great energy source?

      The answers? 1) We can't afford to make it without the government helping to pay for it. 2) We can't afford to use ethanol as the energy source. It uses too much energy to produce. It would take much more ethanol to fuel ethanol production than we can produce. Hmmm?

    17. Charlie Peters says:

      California CARB fuel was close to zero ethanol in our fuel in 1992..

      1992 fuel price about $1.40 per gallon.

      Ethanol push from fed EPA and friends pushed ethanol to 5.6% and we paid more for our fuel.

      Fed EPA and Big oil refiners pushed the oxygenate to 10% and we paid more.

      Now BP GMO fuel is pushing for over $1.00 in corporate welfare with 15% of the fuel market while cutting back Oil and refining

      Will BP GMO fuel patents generate credit trade income from the Big oil industry with the Queen Mother help.

      The Queen banker friends may want a share.

      So. how big does California ethanol bill need to be to qualify for the EPA waiver?

    18. L. X. Odhner says:

      If one follows developments in the ethanol industry, one is aware that there is a move to replace corn as the feedstock from which it is produced. "Cellulosic" ethanol can be fermented from anything that was once cellulosic, i.e. waste products, including municipal sewage. The waste product stream is endless, and a great deal cheeper than corn. It has no affect whatsoever on food prices.

      I invite you all to look at the website of a cutting edge cellulosic ethanol producer in Warrenville, IL (Coskata.com)

      Ethanol can be safely used in engines built to use it. Under G.W. Bush, the federal government mandated that all vehicles purchased must be built to operate using "flex-fuel" or E-85 (15% gasoline, 85%ethanol). Needless to say, it is not for use in vehicles not adapted for its use. You wouldn't pump diesel into a gasoline engine either!

    19. Bruno says:

      Ethanol should be made from sugar cane resources instead of corn. At best, ethanol is a crap fuel which does more harm than good to vehicle mpg and engine life. Why use corn, which is critical to the food chain, to produce this garbage fuel when ther is so much land available to grow cane in the Southern US as well as South America?

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