July 18, 2013
Oh, I’ll tell you what’s ridiculous: That the artificial incentives (hint: mandate) created by the Renewable Fuels Standard are messing with worldwide food prices, to the detriment of the poor; that both environmentalists groups and oil companies now think that ethanol is a generally terrible idea; that all of this biofuel production is turning out to be demonstrablynot even a little bit “green,” as it brings marginal lands into production and costs more carbon to produce than it actually saves; that Europe (Europe!) is now scaling back on what they’re beginning to admit is one heck of an expensive taxpayer subsidy; that the federal government’s arbitrary standards are a factor in rising gas prices; and that somehow, somehow, the Big Ethanol Lobby and the bureaucrats who love them are still able to say that this was ever a worthwhile endeavor while maintaining a straight face. That is all highly, wildly ridiculous.
But let none of that deter the oh-so-august policymakers of the Obama administration. Over the past few months, there’s brewing storm over the RFS, which requires refiners to blend an ever-increasing volume of specific biofuels into the fuel supply or else buy increasingly pricey credits, and even Congress has been examining the possibility that it would really just be better for everyone if we flat-out got rid of the whole accursed thing.