I do believe I’ve mentioned it before, but one of the moments from the Republican primary race when I was least happy with Trump and Cruz earned my somewhat grudging respect was when they were in Iowa…and Cruz flatly said the ethanol subsidies were going the way of the dinosaur if he was elected, while Trump pandered to the corn lobby. Trump was wrong then, and Cruz was right. Period.
Amid all the media hoo-ha over President Trump’s latest tweets, tariffs and the Russia investigation, you might have missed a significant report — the Environmental Protection Agency says ethanol made from corn and soybeans and added to our gasoline has become an environmental disaster. So why do we continue to make it?
The devastating report — based on, yes, actual “science” — shows that the forced addition of ethanol to the nation’s gasoline is making our air dirtier.
The irony, of course, is that ethanol’s entire rationale is that it would make our air cleaner.
Why do we keep doing this? The farm-based ethanol lobby not only wants current standards of up to 10% of our fuel made up of ethanol (the “E10” standard), but would like to see it rise to 15% (E15). And, unfortunately, President Trump seems open to the idea.
Is ethanol really that bad?
Yes. Yes, it damned sure is.
Well, never mind that there’s a significant amount of evidence that it’s bad for your car, boat or motorcycle engine. That’s bad enough.
But the damage isn’t just from using the ethanol in our fuel; it’s in the entire process involved in radically altering our agricultural sector from growing food to growing an energy supplement.
As it turns out, this is not “green energy” at all, as its proponents say. It’s “brown energy.” The only green is the money that lines the farm lobbyists’ pockets.
As American Enterprise Institute fellow and economist Mark J. Perry noted in IBD all the way back in 2015, “countless independent studies have shown that corn ethanol is far worse from a greenhouse-gas emissions perspective than traditional fuels.”
Private researchers and economists have known this for a long time. What’s new is that the EPA is recognizing it for the first time.
One could hardly imagine a more perfect example of everything wrong with American government than the ethanol scam. It achieves none of the benefits claimed for it, and does damage far afield, in ways not anticipated; it amounts to little more than a near-naked bribe for a powerful lobbying group; its assumed benefits are based on smoke, mirrors, and brazen political manipulation; aside from those benefiting financially, there is little or no public demand or market for it; it continues in seeming perpetuity based not on the merits but on inertia, skullduggery, and outright payola; it is ruinously expensive, and opens the door to yet more strangling regulation, bureaucracy, waste, and graft.
If Trump’s EPA finally does away with this nonsense, it will be yet another win for the American people, whether Trump himself is fully on board with it or not.