We tried. It didn’t work.

Let’s Put the Ethanol Mandate Behind Us.

There is a mandate in place that requires your gasoline to contain 10% ethanol. The intent was to reduce carbon emissions, but in reality, ethanol production is more harmful to our environment and economy than lawmakers realized.

Rethink Ethanol is a new initiative to address our nation’s failed mandated and subsidized corn-based ethanol policies.  We will be engaging voters, thought leaders, industry experts, and policymakers in a frank conversation on the effects of corn-based ethanol.

This is the face of ethanol mandates.

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If Ethanol’s So Great, Let It Compete Without Mandates

By Jerry Jung

Ethanol plant operators are fixated on the federal mandate and rules because without significant federal assistance, ethanol makes no economic sense (“Trump Urges More Help for Ethanol,” U.S. News, June 19). Numerous studies as well as common sense conclude that it takes more fossil-fuel energy to make ethanol than it yields. Think of the heat used to distill corn along with energy consumption of agricultural tractors, trucks and chemicals.

Ethanol production’s renewable identification numbers (RINs) act like subsidies. If refineries don’t put 10% ethanol in their gasoline, they must acquire RINs, the price of which varies wildly. When former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt granted small refineries waivers from this onerous mandate, the price of RINs collapsed. Stable markets are based on the equilibrium of supply and demand. In normal markets prices increase gradually as demand increases. But the market for RINs is all or nothing. If there are adequate RINs they are theoretically worth nothing. If there aren’t enough, they are theoretically priceless. Mandates and markets don’t function well together.

Birmingham, Mich.

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the data about ethanol 


Estimated increase in cost of corn between 2006 and 2011 attributed to the RFS mandate. The RFS creates a guaranteed demand for ethanol that does not reflect market realities.

Source: Our Energy Policy – The Effect of the US Ethanol Mandate on Corn Prices

The number of years it took us to remedy our lands from edge tillage. Edge tillage is planting right up to the edge of the field thereby removing protective bordering lands and increasing soil erosion, chemical runoff and other problems. It took us 40 years to end edge tillage in this country, and overnight ethanol brought it back with a vengeance.

Source: Forbes Magazine: “It’s Final — Corn Ethanol Is Of No Use”

Recent land conversions to grow more corn and soybeans released 131 million tons of carbon into the air between 2008 and 2012, as much as 34 coal-fired power plants.

Source: April 2015 study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin.

The EPA can improve the quality of our air, water, and land by accepting the reality that the national policy to promote corn-based ethanol is a failure. This policy, initially well intended, is devastating to our environment and to our wildlife. It’s distorting food quality and prices. And, our government is wasting taxpayers’ money to further the damage caused by corn-based ethanol. It is time to stop and rethink ethanol.

In 2007, Congress passed the Renewable Fuel Standard with good intentions: reducing dependence on fossil fuels, accelerating development of sustainable biofuels, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Unfortunately, nine years later, there have been severe unintended consequences—large-scale loss of wildlife habitat (especially native grasslands) and degradation of water quality—and wildlife has borne the brunt of these impacts.

Ethanol production is damaging to land, water, air and wildlife. 


Rethink Ethanol is a non-profit group dedicated to increasing awareness and initiating changes in ethanol usage in order to help the environment and people.

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