On Thursday, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators unveiled legislation to end the corn ethanol mandate.
Senators Tom Coburn, (R-OK) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced with eight cosponsors The Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2013. The bill, cosponsored by Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Corker, (R-TN), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jim Risch (R-ID) and Patrick Toomey (R-PA), eliminates the corn ethanol mandate within the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires a yearly increase in the amount of renewable fuel that must be blended into the total volume of gasoline refined and consumed in the United States. The RFS, which was first enacted in 2005 and then expanded in 2007, requires refiners and blenders to use 16.55 billion gallons of renewable fuel in 2013.
“The time to end the corn ethanol mandate has arrived,” Coburn said. “This misguided policy has cost taxpayers billions of dollars, increased fuel prices and made our food more expensive. Eliminating this mandate will let market forces, rather than political and parochial forces, determine how to diversify fuel supplies in an ever-changing marketplace. I’m grateful my colleagues on both sides of the aisle are prepared to take this long-overdue step to protect consumers and taxpayers from artificially high fuel and food prices.”
“I am pleased to join Sen. Coburn and others on a bill to eliminate the federal corn ethanol mandate from the Renewable Fuel Standard, while maintaining provisions designed to grow the low-carbon biofuel industry,” Sen. Feinstein said. “Under the corn ethanol mandate in the RFS, roughly 44% of U.S. corn is diverted from food to fuel, pushing up the cost of food and animal feed and damaging the environment. Oil companies are also unable to blend more corn ethanol into gasoline without causing problems for automobiles, boats and other vehicles. I strongly support requiring a shift to low-carbon advanced biofuel, including biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol and other revolutionary fuels. But a corn ethanol mandate is simply bad policy.”
“I have long opposed efforts to increase the use of corn ethanol as a fuel additive and am pleased to support this bipartisan legislation,” Senator Collins said. “Corn ethanol blended gasoline poses economic and safety risks by damaging or destroying engines of older cars, boats, and snowmobiles, has caused food and feed prices to rise, and presents significant environmental concerns. Expanding alternative, domestic fuel sources remains critically important for energy independence, however, and I continue to support the development of promising advanced biofuels to meet our energy and environmental challenges.”
“It’s become obvious that the Renewable Fuel Standard is having some unintended consequences, like higher food prices and fuel market disruptions that could raise gas prices,” Sen. Corker said. “This bill is a common-sense step to mitigate those consequences and move our energy policy in a direction that better reflects the realities of our domestic fuel demand and production.”
“Diverting corn to produce ethanol hurts hardworking families by raising the cost of food,” Sen. Manchin said. “While I believe that we need to develop alternative energy sources as part of a domestic, all-of-the-above energy approach, we must be smart about where we make our investments. It is long past time to eliminate these harmful corn ethanol requirements that do little to make us energy independent, while raising the cost of food in these already tough economic times.”
“Since 2005, fuel suppliers like those in Trainer and Philadelphia have been forced to blend millions of gallons of biofuels – notably corn ethanol – into the nation's gasoline supplies,” Sen. Toomey said. “This flawed central planning harms the viability of good-paying jobs, drives up gas prices, increases food costs and harms the environment. This is the government using corporate welfare to shower money on a favored industry and send the bill to the general public. Labor leaders, business and environmental groups have pushed back against this harmful regulatory regime. It’s time to repeal the requirement that directs more corn in our gas tank at the expense of the hardworking men and women of Pennsylvania.”
Additional background information here.