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Bernard L. Weinstein, National Journal With the nation suffering its worst drought since 1956, now is an appropriate time to reconsider public policies regarding the use of biofuels in the energy mix. Though direct subsidies to ethanol refiners, such as the 46 cents per gallon tax credit, have been discontinued, the 10 percent requirement to blend corn-based ethanol with gasoline remains. What’s more, the Obama administration wants to increase the mandate to 15 percent. With perhaps one-half of this year’s corn crop lost to the extreme heat and lack of rain, the existing mandate should be lifted immediately. Otherwise consumers will feel a double whammy from rising corn prices, both at the grocery store as well as the gasoline pump. In addition, those provisions of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) dealing with biofuels should be repealed, most notably the requirement that petroleum refiners switch to cellulosic ethanol. As Deroy Murdock of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution pointed out recently, cellulosic ethanol simply doesn’t exist, and the one company attempting to develop this fuel went bankrupt in 2010. Nonetheless, the Environmental Protection Agency recently imposed a $6.8 million penalty on oil refiners for NOT blending cellulosic ethanol with gasoline, jet fuel and other products. Read More
Bernard L. Weinstein is Associate Director of the Maguire Energy Institute and an Adjunct Professor of Business Economics in the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. He has taught at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the State University of New York, the University of Texas at Dallas, and the University of North Texas. He has authored or co-authored numerous books, monographs, and articles on the subjects of economic development, energy security, public policy, and taxation. His work has appeared in professional journals as well as the popular press. He earned an A.B. degree from Dartmouth College and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University.Full Bio
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