The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is a federal law requiring that ethanol be blended with gasoline. It was adopted in 2007 to reduce oil imports.
The rationale shifted to fighting global warming, and when it was discovered that ethanol increases greenhouse gas emissions, the rationale changed again to helping farmers. Farmers still lobby for ethanol subsidies even though RFS hurts ranchers, consumers, and even many farmers.
Ethanol production is now known to have a “carbon footprint” as large or even larger than production of oil and natural gas. Diverting corn crops to make fuel also has raised the cost of feed for cows, cattle, hogs, and even chickens, and raised the prices of other inputs for other crops. High ethanol blends damage engines and reduce mileage, making it more difficult for auto manufacturers to meet CAFE standards.
Smart drilling and fracking technology have created a boom in domestic oil and natural gas development, allowing the United States to make substantially more progress toward reducing dependence on foreign countries for the oil we need.
RFS should be repealed and all subsidies and mandates for ethanol and other biofuels should be repealed. It’s time for energy policy to catch up to this new reality and stop propping up an obsolete energy choice.