RFS, signed into law by George W. Bush and supported by then-Senator Barack Obama, was a dud from the beginning because it was based on an assumption. (You know what they say about assumptions.) Congress was led to believe most of the ethanol would be derived from inedible substances rather than corn. Seven years in, and billions of research dollars later, nothing has changed -- except the more we learn about ethanol, the less we like it. Corn-based ethanol drives up food prices locally and globally, reduces gas mileage performance and produces more greenhouse gas than petroleum.
Even green energy gazillionaire and former Vice President Al Gore admitted corn-based ethanol was a foolish endeavor. For him, it was all about votes. Speaking about his previous support of corn-based ethanol to a crowd at a conference in Greece, Gore said, "One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president."
At least Gore was honest about lying, which is more than can be said of the Obama administration, which has all the facts laid before them regarding ethanol yet obviously capitulated to lobbyists awhile back by upping the ethanol blend requirement from 10 to 15 percent. This change forces gas stations to purchase new pumps to process the E15 blend, and automakers are questioning the impact it will have on automobile engines. According to Consumer Reports, nine automakers voiced concerns to Congress stating they cannot honor warranties for older cars running on E15.
The recent drought should give all Americans, and especially those in elected leadership reason for pause to reexamine our priorities as a nation. Farmers and ranchers are forced to slaughter livestock prematurely because there is not enough corn feed to keep them alive. The ethanol mandate currently requires around 40 percent of corn crops be used for ethanol production leaving roughly 34 percent for livestock feed, 13 percent for exports, and humans get what's left. Might our priorities be a tad out of whack?
To be honest, Bush's "compassionate conservatism" got us into this mess with the act he signed into law, but I have to believe that same compassion would have most likely convinced him to relax the production requirements based on the reality of today's dire situation.