With the Iowa caucuses now blessedly behind us, we can discuss a more serious subject: The engine-destroying, food-burning, anti-free-market program that is corn-based ethanol.
Why we still subsidize turning food into an inefficient fossil-fuel substitute is anyone’s guess — but mine is that the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus has been the main reason. Anyone who wants to be president simply can’t risk pointing out how ruinous and wasteful ethanol is, lest they get punished by the Iowa corn producers.
Yet there are some promising signs that the ethanol industry’s grip on the political process has been loosened. This was made clear on Feb. 1, when Senator Ted Cruz won the Republican Iowa caucus. Although he later waffled a bit, he voiced opposition to ethanol subsidies on “Meet the Press. This was a contrast with other candidates who lent their support, and particularly Donald Trump, who called for higher ethanol mandates. As Bloomberg News observed, “Senator Ted Cruz’s victory in the Iowa Republican caucuses emboldens other critics of federal biofuel mandates just as the U.S. Senate is poised to consider a measure that would gut the decade-old program.”
That is potentially great news for taxpayers, auto enthusiasts, small-equipment users and boaters — literally anyone who uses gasoline, almost all of which is mixed with much more ethanol than is needed.
Here is a stunning factoid: Iowa grew 2.4 billion bushels of corn on 13.2 million acres of land in 2014. Much of that corn is used as feedstock for animals and for ethanol plants. Less than 4,000 acres out of those 13.2 million are used for sweet corn– the tasty variety humans eat, and the kind you see at roadside stands and farmer’s markets across the state. In total, 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop, the world’s largest, is used to produce ethanol.
Robert Bryce, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, observed that ethanol “costs more than traditional fuel, and it’s worse for the environment than traditional fuel. It’s a terrible, terrible deal.”
Continues here: Enough With Ethanol