The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)—also known as the ethanol mandate—was passed by Congress in 2005 and expanded in 2007. Regardless of market conditions, it required ever-increasing quantities of biofuel be blended into the nation’s gasoline supply—though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does have the flexibility to make some adjustments based on conditions, such as availability and infrastructure.
In today’s edition of the Heartland Daily Podcast, Dr. Keli’i Akina, President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, joins host H. Sterling Burnett to talk about the efforts to ban gasoline and diesel vehicles in the state of Hawaii and more.
“We can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices,” President Obama told an audience four years ago at the University of Miami. Like this year, it was an election year and Obama was running for re-election. Later in his speech, he added: “anybody who tells you that we can drill our way out of this problem doesn’t know what they’re talking about, or just isn’t telling you the truth.”
The purpose of any economic exchange is to better one’s position, whether a person buys or sells something for money or barters for something else. This is the essence of free market capitalism, where all economic transactions are voluntary because they are of mutual benefit. They are all “win-win” situations in the minds of the participants.
Environmentalists like a good crisis. Spreading fear is a proven fundraising technique—with manmade climate change as the fear du jour. But, back in 2005, the “looming crisis,” according to the Kansas Sierra Club, was the end of cheap oil. The post concludes: “The end of cheap oil, followed by the end of cheap natural gas, threatens to cripple strong economies and devastate weak ones.” The author posits: “The world burns oil faster than new oil is discovered.”
As predicted, President Barack Obama on Friday, November 6, 2015, rejected the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada in a victory for environmentalists who campaigned against the project for more than seven years. His reasons include protection of the environment, no “lasting” economic benefits for the U.S., and the current low price of petroleum.
Early in his campaign, now top-tier Republican presidential candidate, Ben Carson, supported ethanol—a position for which I called him out. It has long been thought, that to win in Iowa, a candidate must support ethanol.
Sustainability issues have been at the center of public discussion in Ohio since 2014, when the state became the first in the nation to freeze its renewable energy mandate. Discussions of state mandates for wind and solar power and policies requiring the use of ethanol in fuels are common in statehouses around the country.
I would like to thank Crain’s Chicago Business for the opportunity to respond to the article published on September 10th: “Is U.S. commitment to renewable fuels waning?” Frankly, the article was either poorly researched or intellectually dishonest to an incredible degree. Contrary to the author’s claims, the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) has been a failure in almost every respect. Rather than mandating more ethanol be used, we should realize ethanol is a corncob pipedream, and do away with RFS, also known as the ethanol mandate, once and for all.
It’s common for people to misunderstand or misconstrue the difference between acknowledging the failure of the ethanol mandate to deliver on its promises of materially increasing energy independence or lowering prices for consumers, and being “anti-ethanol.” It’s entirely possible to see advantages of using ethanol without believing it should be mandated, just as it is possible to see the advantages of having a health insurance policy without supporting Obamacare. All mandates have unintended consequences.
In a recent article promoting his Protect Our Public Lands Act, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) argues the government should ban hydraulic fracturing on public lands. Pocan cites concerns about potential environmental and economic impacts of horizontal hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” and raises concerns about fracking in national parks. The article has critical shortcomings regarding the environmental and economic impacts of fracking, and it misrepresents oil and gas activity in national parks.
Congress concocted the mandates over fears that US gasoline demand would rise forever and keep the United States dependent on foreign oil, as America’s supposedly limited reserves were depleted. The mandates currently require that we blend 15 billion gallons of ethanol with gasoline every year, and produce over a billion gallons of biodiesel. They hammer us consumers every time we fill our tanks.
Nearly 10 years have passed since the federal government imposed a national mandate requiring gasoline be blended with ethanol. At that time, President George W. Bush claimed the United States was addicted to oil and that biofuels, especially ethanol produced from corn, offered an important way to bring down gasoline prices while weaning the nation off of foreign sources of oil and supporting economic development in rural America.
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” has made the United States the world’s leading producer of natural gas and oil. The country is producing record amounts of natural gas and crude oil production has increased by 80 percent since 2008. This increasing production has helped the United States drill its way to lower energy prices, which has resulted in large savings for every American, especially those who need it most.
They say politics makes strange bedfellows. In a perfect example, U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) are cosponsoring the “Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act,” to abolish the corn ethanol Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires that increasing volumes of this biofuel be blended into gasoline. Let’s hope it passes, as an amendment or stand-alone bill.
In the early 2000s, ethanol was touted as the solution to a variety of ills plaguing our nation. As is currently the case, those who worshipped at the altar of ethanol placed their faith in a false idol.
On Monday, the City Council’s Committee on Finance voted to approve an ordinance mandating gas stations sell gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol, also called E15. Chicago gas stations already sell E10—gasoline with a composition that’s 10 percent ethanol. Should the City Council and the mayor approve the committee’s recommendation, Chicago would be the first major city to enforce such a requirement.
Thanks mainly to the shale revolution, oil production in the U.S. hit a 28-year high last month while imports were at their lowest levels since 1995. Consequently, prices have fallen 15% since June, and Saudi Arabia has cut production by 400,000 barrels a day — providing further evidence that OPEC no longer has the power to set prices.