Liberal Democrat: I think we can all agree that the Renewable Fuel Standard has “been a flop”

posted at 8:41 pm on October 9, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

True that lawmakers’ allegiance or opposition to the Renewable Fuel Standard — one of the many EPA-administered “green energy” mandates that requires refiners to blend an ever-increasing volume of regulators’ favored biofuels with the nation’s fuel supply, or else purchase credits — often correlates more closely with their geographical loyalties over their party identification, but the apologetics of the economically- and environmentally-damaging practice definitely skew Democratic. The “Environmental Protection” Agency plays major defense for the Big Ethanol lobby largely because the White House wants to have as many types of alternative-energy programs in their arsenal as possible, the better to cushion their “all of the above,” “less foreign oil,” “climate change mitigation” recitations, and plenty of Congressional Democrats are content to follow suit.

Ergo, this is notable and most welcome development, via The Hill:

The federal requirement for gas refiners to mix biofuel in with conventional gasoline is a “flop,” according to Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), and should be eliminated.

Welch said that the renewable fuel standard, administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), drives up the cost of corn, which ends up raising prices for dairy farmers in his state as well as other livestock producers.

Plus, he said, the amount of energy required to produce the biofuel ends up hurting the environment.

“It’s been a flop, and the amount of energy that goes into producing a gallon of ethanol is a lot. Twenty-eight gallons of water to produce a gallon of gas, 170 gallons, I guess, to produce a gallon of ethanol,” he said.

“There’s not been an environment benefit; there’s actually been an environmental detriment and there’s been an economic detriment to many sectors of the economy, even though there’s been a significant benefit to the Corn Belt,” Welch said.

Both the idea and the actual legislation for repealing this expensive and market-defying boondoggle of a mandate have already garnered bipartisan support, but if we are ever going to rid ourselves of the food-and-gasoline price-spiking consequences of this particularly insidious bit of central planning, it’s going to need a lot more political momentum — and it is way past time to do away with this thing once and for all.


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Corn for my plate, not for my gas tank.

predator on October 9, 2013 at 8:44 PM

Anyone with half a brain cell knew it would be a flop before it was implemented. The only ones who thought it would be viable are liberal idiots.

Oldnuke on October 9, 2013 at 8:46 PM

Anyone with half a brain cell knew it would be a flop before it was implemented. The only ones who thought it would be viable are liberal idiots.

Oldnuke on October 9, 2013 at 8:46 PM

And the corn-state legislators red and blue were eager to enable them. It’s like Baptists and Bootleggers.

Jeff Weimer on October 9, 2013 at 8:50 PM

And the corn-state legislators red and blue were eager to enable them. It’s like Baptists and Bootleggers.

Jeff Weimer on October 9, 2013 at 8:50 PM

Yep. I live in a corn state. And I’ve got a lot of friends that are farmers, but I’m pretty dammed tired of filling their pocket books with my money for this ethanol scam.

predator on October 9, 2013 at 8:53 PM

I really wish many of my whore-ish farming neighbors would stop taking the wh0re $$ from Uncle Sugar.
Many of them spout about their disgust with the current admin, but are the 1st to giggle about the corn payments they receive, no matter the crop condition.
You.Cannot.Believe. what some of these guys are getting for growing corn.
I $hit you not it would pi$$ you off if you knew the real story of some of these big farmers.
And that’s just in ND & SD.
Think about what it’s like is REAL corn country.

Badger40 on October 9, 2013 at 8:55 PM

“It’s been a flop, and the amount of energy that goes into producing a gallon of ethanol is a lot. Twenty-eight gallons of water to produce a gallon of gas, 170 gallons, I guess, to produce a gallon of ethanol,” he said.

“There’s not been an environment benefit; there’s actually been an environmental detriment and there’s been an economic detriment to many sectors of the economy, even though there’s been a significant benefit to the Corn Belt,” Welch said.

But this was known long before any of this biofuel idiocy even started. Or, did this Welch genius just find out this little factoid?

Wait until some leftists figure out that electric cars run on electricity that has to actually be produced ‘somewhere’ using coal and oil and all sorts of things, while a gas engine is more efficient in producing the same energy right where it is actually being used … I expect that “revelation” to dawn on one of them sometime around 2163.

Even so, the EPA has utterly refused to back down from their… a policy with which the White House is clearly on board, given their veto threat of the mandate’s repeal.

Big surprise. The more the fraud of global warming is exposed the more Barky and his EPA implement un-Constitutional, illegal, stupid anti-global warming strangulations.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on October 9, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Since we are burning 40% of our corn crop and that could be better used to feed the world, that may have something why the world hates us. because we elect stupid politicians that make stupid policies.

deimos on October 9, 2013 at 8:56 PM

They think feelings can replace them.

blink on October 9, 2013 at 8:54 PM

I was just talking about this in my Biology class today with my sophomores (& the 2 juniors taking it over AGAIN).
I told them to quit thinking with their feelings.
I’m really on a crusade for the past decade to get my students to consider problem solving using LOGIC instead of their groins & their inner souls or whatever.
It is challenging.

Badger40 on October 9, 2013 at 8:57 PM

The Richardton ND ethanol plant has received a nice amount of federal $$ over the years.
Bcs they were losing $$.
A new ethanol plant was built in ND I believe.
Bet it has the same options.

Badger40 on October 9, 2013 at 8:58 PM

This is the problem with our government. Everyone can see it’s a failure. Everyone can agree it’s a failure. But no one can repeal it.

p0s3r on October 9, 2013 at 9:04 PM

This is the problem with our government. Everyone can see it’s a failure. Everyone can agree it’s a failure. But no one can repeal it.

p0s3r on October 9, 2013 at 9:04 PM

Let this be a lesson to those who think that the best way to kill BarkyCare is to have it implemented swiftly and completely.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on October 9, 2013 at 9:07 PM

You know it’s bad when Fidel Castro figured out the ethanol boondoggle six years before a majority of Congress did.

(And on a semi-related note, the global warming hysterics are back with a new “The World Is Going To End Melt!” study. Since Al Gore’s deadline for the polar ice caps melting was supposed to have been this summer, and the only thing that happened was the ice cap got thicker in 2013, this time they’ve pegged things out to 2047, or long enough to make sure their forecasts can’t be disproved only a few years down the line.)

jon1979 on October 9, 2013 at 9:10 PM

Flop? How about UNMITIGATED DISASTER?

GarandFan on October 9, 2013 at 9:12 PM

He must be feeling some heat back in his district. That, or he wants the subsidies for his district.

TQM38a on October 9, 2013 at 9:13 PM

The science was settled.

rogerb on October 9, 2013 at 9:14 PM

Liberal Democrat: I think we can all agree that the Renewable Fuel Standard has “been a flop”

Since I finally agree with a liberal democrat on something, global cooling warming cooling must’ve finally reached Hell.

rukiddingme on October 9, 2013 at 10:03 PM

It’s all about corruption.
Pay off the farmers in Iowa
for the primaries.
It’s disgusting.

shorebird on October 9, 2013 at 11:07 PM

Anyone with half a brain cell knew it would be a flop before it was implemented. The only ones who thought it would be viable are liberal idiots.

Oldnuke on October 9, 2013 at 8:46 PM

And the corn-state legislators red and blue were eager to enable them. It’s like Baptists and Bootleggers.

Jeff Weimer on October 9, 2013 at 8:50 PM

:-) Having grown up in a ‘Dry’ county I can tell you some real stories about baptists and bootleggers….and the still that was once in the cellar under our smoke house :-)

Oldnuke on October 9, 2013 at 11:21 PM

For many years, I’ve told young people — so miserably lacking in even the barest exposure to a Civics education — that we have a central government for one primary reason: to do the things that no rational individual would ever do. The ethanol boondoggle is a perfect example of my maxim.

In my career in heavy construction, I spent one full season and part of another helping to build a new ethanol refinery near Marion, OH. I made very good money the whole time, but knowing what I know now, I wish I’d never heard of the place.

Humphrey on October 10, 2013 at 12:28 AM

As with anything, let the free-market decide. If it is any good it will survive.

cat-scratch on October 10, 2013 at 6:14 AM

It’s really never been about the environment. It’s about paying off the big agricultural companies.

sadatoni on October 10, 2013 at 8:11 AM

They’re working the ethanol benefits hard right now – no doubt trying to save the RFS… Iowa haws historically subsidized E-10 by making it 10cents cheaper per gallon than normal unleaded. No prob – I still buy unleaded. With Ethanol blend getting less mpg it works out the same anyway.

Lately however, the price between E10 and regular unleaded has started to diverge. I think it was 22 cents more per gallon last time I filled up. I’m not sure what changed; I’ve got to look at it. Me, I’ll probably still buy straight unleaded. But I can see a few other people switching to E10 because of the price difference now.

Free Indeed on October 10, 2013 at 9:05 AM

Doing away with the fuel standard is an unsatisfactory partial solution. We should be doing away with the EPA.

burt on October 10, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Because ethanol is displacing gasoline, there is a reduced demand for gasoline.

Because the refining process turns crude oil into gasoline and distillate fuels (diesel, heating oil, jet fuel) in roughly fixed proportions — three barrels of crude becomes two barrels of gasoline and one barrel of distillates — a reduced demand for gasoline distorts the global market for both fuels.

This time of year the Northern Hemisphere enters its peak demand months for distillate fuels — heating oil for heating homes during the cold months, and diesel to harvest and transport crops like corn and soybeans. So refiners must turn crude oil into diesel, but at the same time they add to the surplus stocks of gasoline. Gasoline cannot be hedged, since future months are cheaper than the current or spot month, so everyone in the supply chain tries to get rid of gasoline as quickly as they can, no matter what the price.

Refiners also attempt to limit the surplus gasoline they produce, which has the effect of limiting the production of distillate fuels. Thus, US stocks of gasoline are right at the top of the band of 5-year averages for this time of year, and stocks of distillates are at or below the bottom of the 5-year band.

Thus is explained the relative low prices for gasoline, and the relatively high prices for diesel. And all because of ethanol subsidies. Get rid of the Renewable Fuel Standard, get rid of the tax credits and mandates, and the refiners and terminal operators will be able to get rid of their excess gasoline stocks. Then the refiners will be able to operate profitably at a higher rate of utilization, and there will be sufficient diesel and heating oil to bring down prices for those fuels.

J Baustian on October 10, 2013 at 11:49 AM