Walter Russell Mead reports that two separate bills have been introduced in Congress seeking to limit the corn-to-ethanol boondoggle. The ethanol mandate was invented by the greens, who believed, falsely, that it would lower air pollution by “oxygenating” gasoline and making it burn cleaner. That scientifically dubious proposition was made moot even while the econuts were dreaming up laws to force it on us because by 1983 the entire fleet of domestic automobiles had replaced carburetors with fuel injection systems.
Undeterred, the supporters switched to an “energy independence” theory and that, in turn, was discredited when studies showed that it costs more energy to produce ethanol from corn than it yields.
By this time, every corn grower in America, large corporation and Mr. Greenjeans alike, was addicted to the cash flowing from the mandate. 40% of corn production now goes to ethanol, and demand for corn has pushed its price to all new highs. Tough for people who like to, say, eat, but ConAgra loved the result and Washington loves ConAgra, so there you have it. Doesn’t hurt that Iowa, the heart of the corn industry, holds an early presidential primary.
Ethanol ruins engines by destroying rubber seals, clogs them with sludge, and costs consumers at the pump but so far, Congress has refused to admit that. Indeed, Obama’s EPA is pushing ahead to require still more: 15% instead of 10% be blended with gas, for no known reason other than to pay off their boss’s contributors. I don’t share Mead’s optimism that these bills will go anywhere, but I do hope I’m wrong.
UPDATE: Inagua reminds me that Al Gore now admits that the ethanol mandate “was a mistake”, made because “I have a certain fondness for Iowa farmers because I was running for president”. Gee, if he’d lie to the American public because of personal ambition, do you suppose there’s anything else he’s not been telling the truth about? Did the possibility of becoming a multi-multi-millionaire from other government-imposed mandates affect his statements about global warming? I know my answer to that question.