18 June 2015

Shoot Me, I Agree with the Republicans

Republicans in the House want to repeal the ethanol mandate for gasoline:
A new Republican bill introduced Tuesday would completely repeal the federal mandate to blend ethanol into the nation’s gasoline supply.

Sen. Bill Cassidy’s (R-La.) legislation would completely do away with the renewable fuel standard, which first took effect in 2005 and now requires increasing levels of ethanol and biodiesel to be put into traditional fossil fuels.

The mandate invites frequent criticism from Republicans, the oil industry and sectors that complain the demand it creates for corn ethanol increases agricultural prices.

“Workers, refiners, producers, farmers and ranchers across the country are affected by the renewable fuel standard,” Cassidy said in a statement. “More mandates mean less jobs. It means families are paying more for gas and groceries.”

Cassidy represents Louisiana, one of the largest states in terms of fuel refining capacity. Refiners say that buying ethanol or fuel credits increases their prices, and they must pass those costs onto consumers.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has had trouble keeping up with the annual volume mandates amid a decrease in fuel use. The agency proposed mandate levels for 2014 through 2016 last month.

The proposal would increase ethanol levels, though not to the goals set out in the law, leading to criticisms from both supporters and opponents of the mandate.
Republicans want this for a different reason than I do, though.

They object, because they believe that any imposition on the big oil is a crime against God, while I believe that ethanol, at least corn based ethanol as generated in the United States, makes little to no savings in CO2 emissions when all inputs are considered, and serves primarily as a way for Presidential candidates to pander to Iowa farmers so as to improve their performance in the Iowa caucuses.

Biodiesel is another matter, and unlike Cassidy, other proposals to eliminate the ethanol mandate do not eliminate a biodiesel mandate, which is the path that I favor.


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