Stop 'Big Corn'; Ethanol Subsidies Drive Up Gas and Food Prices

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Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The Environmental Protection Agency wants to dump more corn into your fuel tank this summer, and it's going to cost more than you think.

The agency is expected to approve a request from 52 ethanol producers known collectively as Growth Energy to boost existing requirements that gasoline contain 10 percent ethanol to 15 percent. The change means billions more in government subsidies for companies in the business of growing corn and converting it into ethanol. For the rest of us, it means significantly higher gasoline and food prices.

It's time that this shameless corporate welfare gets plowed under.

In 2007, members of Congress joined with the Bush administration in mandating by government fiat the annual sale of 36 billion gallons of ethanol by 2022. To meet the ambitious sales targets, the EPA has little choice but to approve the 15 percent ethanol fuel blend. Big Corn's advocates claim that forcing Americans to use this renewable fuel would reduce dependency on Mideast oil and lead to cleaner air. It's just as likely, however, that they want to get their hands on the $16 billion a year from the 45-cent-per-gallon blender's tax credit - in addition to the various state and federal mandates giving us no choice but to pump their pricey product into our fuel tanks.

The benefits are overstated. According to the EPA, reduction in foreign imports will result in $3.7 billion in energy security benefits at the expense of $18 billion in increased fuel costs by 2022. Environmental testing has proved inconclusive, as certain types of pollutants increase when ethanol content increases. It should be noted that the EPA's track record on environmental gasoline additives includes Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE), a possible carcinogen whose once-mandated use has contaminated groundwater across the country. …