David Williams

What many Americans may not know is that the substance that is poured into millions of American fuel tanks every year can no longer be classified as gasoline.

Due to legislation passed in 2007, the government requires that millions of gallons of ethanol be blended into gasoline each year to create a form of biofuel. The legislation was passed on the premise that the demand for gasoline would increase over time, making fuel more expensive. And, by mandating that ethanol be blended into gasoline, legislators believed that the country would become less reliant on traditional fuels, driving prices down in the process. But the idea backfired and consumers and taxpayers are suffering.

A funny (but not unexpected) thing happened along the way to the pump. Rather than Americans guzzling down an increasing amount of gasoline, new technologies were invented that revolutionized fuel efficiency. In turn, there has been a decrease in demand for fuel, meaning that the legislation was based on a faulty premise.

Now, instead of using common sense and logic by calling on Congress to reform or repeal the legislation, President Obama has been using the mandate to pedal his green energy agenda, which not surprisingly relies on higher fuel prices.

The president and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been using an obscure market created by the biofuel legislation to artificially increase the price of fuel and strengthen support among environmental groups more interested in eradicating fossil fuels than helping families to get to school and work in a cost-effective manner. Taxpayers are also affected as the government's fleet of more than 600,000 owned or leased vehicles guzzle more of the expensive fuel.

The EPA requires that Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) be attached to each gallon of biofuel produced to ensure that oil refiners are complying with the EPA’s mandate. But not all refineries have the capacity to blend ethanol with gasoline, which is why an open market was created where RIN credits can be bought and sold. Under the mandate, each refinery is obligated to blend a minimum amount of biofuels into their gasoline supply or buy additional RIN credits on the open market. Those that exceed this minimum can sell their outstanding credits.

David Williams

David Williams is the President of the Taxpayer Protection Alliance (TPA).