Conservatives believe in competition, but The Washington Times’ editorial, “The ethanol bubble” (Monday), sides with a would-be monopoly, Big Oil, against its leading competitor, American ethanol.
Ethanol costs 75 cents per gallon less than gasoline, offering lower prices at the pump. But Big Oil would rather shut out competitors and shortchange consumers. That is why the Big Oil companies are refusing to move to higher ethanol-gasoline blends, such as the 15 percent blend that has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for vehicles built after 2001.
Instead, the oil companies are buying renewable identification number (RIN) credits for not meeting the Renewable Fuels Standard for blending biofuels with gasoline. By selling these credits to each other, they’re bidding up the costs of RINs — needlessly and irresponsibly, as a scare tactic.
The RIN program was designed to meet any shortages of renewable fuels, not to allow oil companies to avoid blending ethanol with gasoline. In fact, there is no shortage of ethanol in the marketplace. Ethanol stocks are high, while production-capacity utilization is an unusually low 85 percent. The problem is that Big Oil is refusing to blend more ethanol and is punishing American motorists in the process.
Contrary to your editorial’s claims, the Renewable Fuels Standard does promote environmental quality and energy security. According to a study published by Yale University’s Journal of Industrial Ecology, ethanol reduces greenhouse-gas emissions by 48 percent to 59 percent when compared with gasoline. Ethanol has reduced American dependence on imported oil from 60 percent in 2005 to 41 percent in 2012.
If we give it a chance at the nation’s fuel pumps, competition really can work wonders.
Renewable Fuels Association
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By Rand Paul
Obama acts as though we no longer have a Constitution