It’s disappointing, to say the least, that the Washington swamp-draining, America-building Trump administration would cede any quarter to the government moonshine business more commonly known as ethanol.

But wearing a lapel pin that read “Don’t mess with the RFS (Renewable Fuel Standard),” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters and farmers in Nevada, Iowa, that “ethanol is here to stay, and we’re going to work for new technologies to be more efficient.”

Neither the science nor the economics of ethanol justify continuing the antiquated RFS in a nation that is rapidly advancing its energy independence with shale oil and natural gas. Indeed, this continued fixation on ethanol is oxymoronic from an administration that says it wants to make America “energy-dominant.”

Ethanol is sustained not by any public demand for it but by a political infrastructure that forces this corn-based mixture into the nation’s fuel supply. Under the latest RFS mandate, more than 19 billion gallons of so-called renewable fuel must be blended with conventional fuel.

But by consuming up to 40 percent of the nation’s corn crop, ethanol drives up food and animal feed costs. It has boosted fuel costs by up to $3.4 billion since 2014, based on the EPA’s own figures. And contrary to its PR, ethanol increases emissions, according to some research.

For these and other reasons, ethanol should be drained from the nation’s fuel supply — not championed by Team Trump.


(c)2017 The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)

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