An editorial written by USA Today’s Editorial Board deals harshly, but factually, with the ethanol mandate contained in the 2007 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The article begins bluntly, “When members of Congress decided in 2007 to require that Americans put 36 billion gallons of ethanol and other biofuels in their gas tanks annually by 2022, they must have thought there was an award for bad public policy.”
For comparison’s sake, the ethanol mandate would require 37 percent of the entire domestic corn crop to produce enough ethanol to meet the RFS’s demand. Combine the irresponsibility of the RFS with decreasing national fuel consumption, and the ethanol mandate looks just as USA Today describes it.
According to the editorial, new drilling technologies have pushed up domestic oil production by 1.3 million barrels per day since 2005. Oil imports now only account for 40 percent of gross national consumption (down from 60 percent) and are continuing to occupy less of the market. Yet the RFS is making gasoline more expensive for consumers, adding roughly 10 cents per gallon thanks to a system known as RIN. RINs are credits purchased and traded that allow refineries to not blend ethanol with their gasoline. If the law remains unchanged, RINs may push gas prices up as much as $1 by next year.
“Why would Congress fleece consumers in this way? There’s only one reason: to please a well-organized farm lobby, which collects most of the money consumers are forced to waste.” Read the entire article here.