For the first time ever, the Environmental Protection Agency has decided to reduce the ethanol mandate in the American gas supply instead of add to it. In 2014, gas will have 15 billion gallons of ethanol as opposed of the 18.15 billion gallons of years past.
This new EPA ruling has people on both sides of the issue talking about the pros and cons of the decision.
James M. Taylor, Senior Fellow for Environmental Policy at The Heartland Institute says, “EPA’s decision to reduce the ethanol mandate reflects a long-overdue realization that ethanol mandates not only cost consumers money, but they also inflict substantial environmental damage. The only beneficiaries of ethanol mandates are special interests who use the power of government to profit off the American people.”
Jay Lehr, Science Director from the Heartland Institute disagrees with this way of thinking, saying, “If ever a government was putting its head in the sand and ignoring all that is going on around it, this example of EPA and our president deciding to redouble their efforts on producing renewable fuel at ridiculously high costs is an example of the ostrich-head-in-the-sand approach.”
In 2005, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act, which declared that gasoline refiners had to add 4.7 billion gallons of ethanol to the country’s gas supply. When the act was passed, supporters said it was done so with the purpose of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and America’s dependence on foreign countries for oil.
Congress then passed the Energy Independence and Security Act in 2007, which allowed the EPA to increase the amount of ethanol mixed with gas as much as they saw fit until it reached a maximum of 36 billion gallons by 2022.
Since the Energy Policy Act was passed, opponents claim that it is needlessly promoting huge corporate farmers since ethanol is a corn-based substance. Groups like Friends of the Earth, who fight to save the environement, claim that ethanol is actually adding to the problem of global warming and ruining important habitats.
Alan Caruba, founder of The National Anxiety Center and Policy Advisor at The Heartland Institute says, “consumers pay the price for this scam at the gas pump and in the food aisles of the supermarket.”
Marita Noon, Executive Director of the Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy, believes that the Energy Policy Act made more sense in 2005 when it was believed that the fuel supply was running short. Now, however, she says, “the paradigm is upended. Ethanol has not proven itself to be the panaceas it was predicted and the only energy shortage we have is due to an access shortage.”
With America regaining its place among the oil powerhouses of the world, this reduction of ethanol in the gas pool smells like a foreshadowing of new policy changes that will be made in the near future.