by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor | John Locke Foundation
From Forbes today, warning that the Environmental Protection Agency — no stranger to enforcing impossibly idiotic mandates — now wants to force people to use dangerous, engine-destroying E15; i.e., gasoline-based motor fuel that is 15 percent ethanol:
Last year alone, the [Renewable Fuel] Standard diverted 40 percent of all U.S. corn towards ethanol production. This massive market reallocation in such a short time has led to drastic price increases in all corn-based goods, from cereals to ethanol itself. What’s more, thousands of barrels of ethanol are now going unused in the nation’s Corn Belt, thanks to government mandates that required ethanol production regardless of market forces. There’s such a surplus that fully 10 percent of the nation’s ethanol plants stopped production in the past year.
Let that sink in for a second. The government is forcing corn to (1) be turned into motor fuel which (2) isn’t even used. Ever since Pres. Bush supported this horrid program, and now that Pres. Obama has made it even worse, I have warned about the great and thoroughly unnecessary harm it would do to the poor through food prices and other negative economic effects. But it gets worse:
Aside from bad economics, there are also ethical (“social justice”) concerns surrounding ethanol mandates. For example, tortilla prices in Guatemala have doubled due to decreased supply of corn. Land that was once used to feed people is now diverted to ethanol creation, not enough food is being produced, and locals are going hungry.
To recap: People are going hungry while crop land is used to grow “motor fuel” instead and then it sits in barrels wasting away unused.
Got it so far? Read on, Lizzy:
Despite these mounting issues, RFS2 currently demands even greater percentages of biofuels — whether derived from corn or non-food sources — to be blended with traditional gasoline every year. By 2015, 15 billion gallons must be incorporated into the nation’s gasoline supply, representing roughly 10 percent of the fuel blend. That in itself poses a significant threat to the U.S. economy by further spiking the prices of corn and gas, commodities crucial to almost every individual in the country. But by 2022, the EPA calls for a whopping 36 billion gallons of traditional gasoline to be replaced by biofuels.
Forbes notes that even the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the trade association for the U.S. ethanol industry, has conceded that those standards are unattainable.