Depressing: GOP Candidates Pandering to Iowa on Ethanol

Trying to win a corn state leads the ugly sight of Republican candidates pandering on a horrible policy that ruins cars and the environment.

ethanol corn cob

The gas station nearest my house used to sell pure gasoline (no ethanol) for about 7.5% more than the crud with corn pollution—that’s all they sold in every grade; glorious, pure, superior gasoline with no engine-destroying gunk.

Then, the station changed ownership, and went to the garbage everyone else sells. Now… a few stations in the surrounding area still sell straight gasoline, but it’s pretty much 50% per gallon more expensive, and even though my mileage was consistently 17% better with pure gas (sometimes more) I cannot justify paying that premium to get it. And I’m not happy.

I’m not happy about this report from the Patriot Post either: “Does the Ethanol Mandate Include Singing Its Praises?

Almost all of the major GOP White House contenders failed the conviction test in Iowa.

Rick Perry said, “I don’t think you pull the RFS [Renewable Fuel Standard] out and discriminate against the RFS and leave all these other subsidies.” In other words, subsidies are good because subsidies exist.

Chris Christie and Lindsey Graham voiced full-throated support for the RFS, and Mike Huckabee claimed ethanol was good for national security policy by reducing dependence on foreign imports. Rick Santorum argued ethanol “creates jobs in small-town and rural America, which is where people are hurting.”

Even Scott Walker, who opposed ethanol in 2006, said that while he is opposed to government intervention he will support the ethanol mandate. “Right now we don’t have a free and open marketplace,” he asserted, so why not keep the mandate going? He did add that eventually there will be “no need to have a standard,” but his squishiness was palpable.

Jeb Bush was less objectionable, but also ducked making any substantive statements. “The markets are ultimately going to have to decide this,” he said, though he equivocated by refusing to set a firm deadline for phasing out the RFS.

Only Ted Cruz managed to get it right. “I recognize that this is a gathering of a lot of folks where the answer you’d like me to give is, ‘I’m for the RFS, darn it,’” he said. “But I’ll tell you, people are pretty fed up, I think, with politicians who go around and tell one group one thing, tell another group another thing, and then they go to Washington and they don’t do anything that they said they would do.”

Cruz added, “I don’t think Washington should be picking winners and losers. When it comes to energy, we should have an all-of-the-above approach, but it should be driven by the market.” Exactly right.

The audience applauded Cruz’s candor for coming out against the RFS, but no doubt many also made a mental note to scratch him off their short list for 2016.

Ethanol does not help the environment. Ethanol ruins many small engines, and significantly decreases your miles per gallon. Ethanol is one huge government boondoggle that harms the masses, but gives wonderful profits to a key industry, and brings votes to corrupt politicians who will sell their souls to win.