Share This Page

Time to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard

| Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The idiocy of federally mandated corn-based ethanol production is so plain that even a liberal Democrat now has joined the chorus of conservative voices advocating its end.

Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont called for repeal of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for corn-based ethanol at a Washington event focused on that mandate, The Hill newspaper's RegWatch blog reports. And his rationale certainly is familiar to those on the opposite end of the political spectrum who've long opposed this RFS.

The standard raises food and livestock-feed prices — and adds 5 to 10 cents to the price of a gallon of gasoline, according to The Wall Street Journal — by diverting 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop to production of ethanol that's blended into gas. Ethanol takes more energy to produce than it yields as fuel, offsetting supposed environmental benefits, and those ethanol-gasoline blends reduce performance of and can damage engines.

Absent this RFS, the corn-based ethanol market wouldn't exist — which is a sure sign that it shouldn't. To his credit, Mr. Welch is among lawmakers who've introduced legislation to repeal the corn-based ethanol standard. And he thinks momentum for doing so is growing.

Still, every RFS — the one for corn-based ethanol and those for other, more exotic, even less economically viable biofuels — should go. Especially with technological innovation making domestic oil and natural gas newly abundant and affordable, Uncle Sam should not be artificially propping up any not-ready-for-prime-time “alternative” energy source.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.