Ethanol Folly

by Paul Chesser, Heartland Institute Correspondent on April 9, 2009

The Congressional Budget Office has now weighed in on ethanol mandates so I guess now it makes it official: they drive up food prices and do nothing for greenhouse gas emissions. The Washington Times reports:

Federal ethanol-fuel policies forced consumers to pay an extra 0.5 percent to 0.8 percent in increased food prices in 2008, and the government itself could end up paying nearly $1 billion more this year for food stamps because of ethanol use, according to a new government report.

The report by the Congressional Budget Office helps answer questions raised by Congress last year as food prices shot up, and some lawmakers questioned the effects of government policies, such as the ethanol mandate….

Also, government-sponsored subsidies and mandates for ethanol to be mixed with gasoline are supposed to help foster U.S. energy independence and to cut down on greenhouse-gas emissions, but only have reduced greenhouse-gas emissions by less than one-third of 1 percent.

CBO also noted that pushing for ethanol could actually increase greenhouse gas emissions, with deforestation being one reason among many for that consequence. Even the New York Times figured that out a long time ago.

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