Law mandating ethanol use

But the viability of that plan came under sharp inspection when, yesterday, the U.

Department of Agriculture forecast a sharp decline in farm grain output predicting next year’s global corn stockpiles will 5.4% – to the lowest levels in 39 years.

The law was designed to assuage skeptics who felt that even during good times on the farm too much corn would be diverted to fuel.

By 2022, a full 21 billion gallons of ethanol are to come from so-called cellulosic production.

It's time for federal and state officials to either end the regulatory buffoonery, or at least admit that ethanol policy has less to do with environmental protection and energy security and more to do with political opportunism. Lehman is executive vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

He is a registered professional engineer with a degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Illinois.

But a fuel consisting of just 10 percent ethanol won't have an appreciable environmental benefit.

And such fuel will certainly be more costly to consumers, producers, taxpayers, or all three.

Ironically, the EPA has been struggling to find ways to meet the mandate since consumer demand for ethanol has lagged expectations – even though subsidies keep the price per gallon below that of regular unleaded gasoline.

Ethanol, like other alcohols, is highly corrosive and makers now use special stainless steel or modified synthetic fuel line and engine components to resist damage.

Only months ago, the EPA was pressing hard to expand the use of ethanol in the nation’s gasoline supply, but in the wake of this summer’s fierce drought, the agency may soon reverse course and actually trim back because of shortages of corn used to produce the renewable fuel.

The USDA warned that only 23% of American corn crop yields are in “good” or “excellent” shape compared with 70% last year.

Hatch and others are hoping that by at least reducing the potential demand for corn stocks for fuel use demand prices may level off – which could, in turn, prevent a spiral driving up overall U.

While FFVs haven't been burning ethanol, the extra gas guzzlers U. The Bush administration and Senate leaders are considering legislation mandating that all gasoline sold in the United States contain 10 percent ethanol, a blend all automobiles can use. Larry Julian, who represents farm-intensive Shiawasee and Clinton counties, has introduced a similar bill.

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