Ethanol law has become a mandate to nowhere


Research continues into the elusive formula for cellulosic ethanol (AP)

Sunday’s column, available on

We’re squabbling about legislation that clearly hasn’t worked.

Last week, the oil and ethanol industries traded barbs over the future of a 2005 law that requires blending the corn-based additive in gasoline.

The American Petroleum Institute, the mouthpiece of the energy industry, released a report that found the Renewable Fuels Standard will drive up gasoline prices and shave as much as $770 billion from the country’s gross domestic product in the next two years.

“The RFS is bad policy for anyone that drives a car, transports goods, or purchases products that rely on gasoline – in other words, virtually everyone,” the institute’s Robert Greco told reporters last week.

Ethanol’s impact on gasoline prices, though, remains less of a factor than the price of crude oil, and while gasoline prices have been rising, they are still lower than they were a year ago.

Loren Steffy

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