The Trump Administration Should End, Not Expand, the Ethanol Mandate
By Nicolas Loris
Oct 8th, 2019
The ethanol lobby is like that greedy child on Halloween who is supposed to take one piece of candy at the door, but grabs a handful and runs away.
Already guaranteed a share of the energy market through the Renewable Fuel Standard, a regulation which mandates that fuel used for transportation contains a certain amount of renewable sources like ethanol, Big Corn is reaching out for even more.
This is a problem, as the ethanol mandate has never come cheap. Indeed, it’s hugely expensive, both economically and environmentally. University of California-Davis researchers determined that the mandate has raised corn and soybean prices 30% and 20%, respectively. Higher prices for food and feedstock are bad news for consumers and farmers raising chickens, cattle, turkeys, and other livestock.
The mandate has also produced undesirable environmental side-effects. The National Wildlife Foundation found that it resulted in the “conversion of 1.6 million acres of grassland, shrubland, wetland, and forestland into cropland between 2008 and 2016.”
Complying with the mandate is hugely expensive for American refiners as well. Naturally, those costs are passed on to consumers — sometimes costing them more than $1 billion a year. The Energy Policy Research Foundation and others estimate it has driven up gasoline prices 6 to 9 cents per gallon.