Post image for Diverse Coalition Calls for Ethanol Policy Reform

On Wednesday, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) introduced H.R. 1461, a bill to repeal the renewable fuel standard (RFS) program, and H.R. 1462, “The RFS Reform Act,” a bill to eliminate the corn ethanol component of the RFS program, cap the amount of ethanol that can be blended into conventional gasoline at 10%, and require the EPA to set cellulosic ethanol blending targets at commercial production levels.

A diverse coalition of agriculture, business, environment, hunger, taxpayer, and free-market groups joined Rep. Goodlatte and co-sponsors at a press conference announcing the introduction of H.R. 1462. Spokespersons for 15 of the groups each provided a paragraph explaining their particular reasons for supporting RFS reform in a joint letter. Here’s what I wrote on behalf of the Competitive Enterprise Institute:

If ethanol is such a great deal, why do we need a law to make us buy it? Although ethanol is cheaper than gasoline by volume, ethanol has about one-third less energy than gasoline and does not make up the difference in price. Consequently, the higher the ethanol blend, the worse mileage your car gets, and the more you have to spend for fuel. For example, at today’s prices, the average motorist would have to spend an extra $400 to $650 a year to switch from gasoline to E85 (the highest commercial ethanol blend). Congress should stop forcing Americans to make a “fuel choice” that increases our pain at the pump.


Post image for Cellulosic Biofuel: “No Eureka Moments” – Greenwire

Yesterday’s edition of Greenwire features an amazing column on cellulosic biofuels by reporter Paul Voosen. It’s got interviews with leading researchers, industrial history going back to WWII, science, economics, and the narrative suspense of a detective story.

Voosen’s main point: Despite substantial private and public investment, there have been “no Eureka moments” in the “long U.S. campaign” to scale up Nature’s digestive processes (found in fungi and the guts of termites, cows, dung beetles, and other fauna) to break down cellulose and create affordable alcohol fuels from prairie grasses, wood wastes, and other fibrous plant materials.

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