You Have to Burn Ethanol, But Should You?
|January 10, 2014||Posted by Staff under Editorials|
This 2013 excerpt of the Daily Caller, Dec 27, is by Burton A. Abrams.
Gasoline blended with ethanol, an alcohol, corrodes metal and deteriorates plastic and rubber parts. Fuel lines have been known to leak, causing obvious dangers to operators. Where’s the Consumer Protection Agency when you need it? Not only won’t the government protect us consumers, it caused the problem. Government legislation mandates the blending of ethanol into most gasoline sold in the United States.
Mandating the use of ethanol imposes more costs than benefits, including hidden costs on consumers that hit the poorest members of society worst, and provides billions of dollars in lucrative business to grateful campaign-donating special-interest groups.
In 2012/2013, approximately one-third of the U.S. corn crop went into ethanol production. U.S. annual production of ethanol has surged since 1998, increasing from slightly over one billion gallons to over 13 billion gallons in 2012. This surge in production and consumption is the result of state and federal mandates requiring it to be blending with gasoline.
Lands previously planted with other grain crops have been shifted into corn production, lowering supplies of other grains and raising their prices. Livestock that feed on higher-priced grains have had their costs of production and prices go up as well. These higher prices for food items are a “tax” on consumers — financial burdens that fall disproportionately on lower-income families whose budgets are heavily weighted towards food items.
The environmental benefits of corn-based ethanol are in doubt. While ethanol is an oxygenate that allows for the cleaner burning of gasoline, drivers using gasoline blended with ethanol find their cars’ miles-per-gallon fall, so more gallons of blended gasoline are needed for traveling any given distance.
Ed. Notes: A better solution to air pollution might be to just make the polluter pay and to repeal automatic limited liability. To avoid pollution charges and high insurance premiums, car manufacturers would find alternatives. There could even be one already found, sitting on a shelf, awaiting our use; who knows? As long as government tilts the playing field, who knows?
If government wants to help farmers, it could actually tax land, driving down its price and the mortgages that go with it, and use the raised revenue (raised mainly in cities, where locations are steepest) to pay citizens a dividend. An extra income (more honest than subsidies) would go further in the country, where the cost of living is lower. And it’d go further still, if government weren’t taxing incomes.
Geonomize — that’s how you help nature and farmers.