- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 10, 2011


As a new slate of presidential candidates prepare to pander to Iowa voters by forcing the rest of the country to pump corn into their gas tanks, a bipartisan backlash is building. Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, and Sen. Ben Cardin, Maryland Democrat, teamed up Wednesday to introduce legislation to eliminate the 45-cents-per-gallon ethanol tax credit doled out to blenders of this unnecessary and inefficient gasoline additive that costs taxpayers $5.7 billion a year.

With only 68 percent of the energy content of gasoline, ethanol does nothing to improve fuel efficiency or make cars run better. A 2008 study by researchers with Princeton University and the Woods Hole Research Center found it didn’t even help the environment. Those who believe in the global-warming myth won’t be pleased to learn that ethanol programs encourage farmers to convert forests and grassland into space to grow highly lucrative, subsidized crops. The same market distortion pushes up prices throughout the food chain, provoking shortages in poorer nations.

It’s bad for cars, it’s bad for the environment and it’s bad for the poor. That’s why groups as diverse as Americans for Limited Government and the American Meat Institute have joined the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth in opposing ethanol.

In addition to ending the subsidy, Congress must overturn an Environmental Protection Agency decision boosting the allowable ethanol level in gasoline from 10 to 15 percent. Most vehicles on the road today are not designed to run on an overdose of corn. Such blends can be fatal to the engines in small equipment like lawn mowers. The EPA decision is the equivalent of a mandate because the George W. Bush administration and Congress guaranteed that Americans would be forced to buy 14 billion gallons of ethanol from Big Corn.

It’s time to end the corporate welfare and pull the plug on shameless politicians attempting to buy Midwestern votes with other people’s money.

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