With oil prices in record territory, presidential candidates stumping for votes in corn-centric Iowa, and congressional Democrats anxious to pass an energy bill to cut the nation's dependence on Mideast oil, this should be the right moment for ethanol. But a plan to dramatically increase ethanol production has become a major sticking point in congressional negotiations to complete work on the bill…. Pro-ethanol Democrats and farm groups want the bill to require a nearly fivefold increase by 2022 in the amount of home-grown alternative fuels that must be blended into gasoline. They say the mandate would reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and help America's farmers. Democrats on the other side, joined by environmental and food-industry groups, think the mandate could raise the price of corn used for food; harm the environment by using more land to produce biofuels; and gouge taxpayers by expanding ethanol subsidies. (Los Angeles Times, Wednesday)
Central planning of energy continues.
FEE Timely Classic
Ethanol versus the Poor by P. Gardner Goldsmith