Time to Close the Books on U.S. Biofuels Policy

Main St. Agenda by from The Hill, May 7, 2014

Today, seventeen industry leaders from a diverse swath of America’s business landscape have convened in Washington united in concern over bad government policy albeit hopeful that a solution is near. Representing interests as disparate as cattle ranchers to snowmobile manufacturers and concrete producers, these men and women have come from across the country to make a final plea to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stick to proposed reductions to the Renewable Fuel Standard’s biofuel blending requirements in 2014. As the EPA’s final ruling looms, it’s become all too clear that America’s biofuels policy has failed as consumers face consequences like engine damage, greater gasoline costs, rising food prices and dirtier air as more and more ethanol is blended into our gasoline supply.

Confronted by rising foreign oil imports and heightened demand for gasoline in 2005, policymakers thought it wise to mandate the blending of biofuels —mostly in the form of corn-based ethanol— into U.S. gasoline to address what appeared to be a dark energy future. Fortunately, since that time, nothing short of a domestic energy miracle has increased production at home, diminished our import reliance and transformed America’s energy landscape. At the same time, gas demand has tempered as vehicle technology continues to improve and our cars become more efficient. Yet, all the while, the EPA has insisted that more ethanol be burned despite cries from consumers and industry alike.

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