May 5, 2009

More, More , MORE !

FROM- Global Warming Org.

Flex-fuel mandates: throwing bad regulation after bad

Rent-seeking–the whoring after market-rigging rules and subsidies–is a true addiction, an appetite that grows with feeding. For the ethanol lobby, it’s not enough that government props up their product with Soviet-style production quota, protective tariffs, a 45-cent-per-gallon blenders tax credit, R&D handouts, and other support. Like the Johnny Rocco character portrayed by Edward G. Robinson in the Bogart and Becall classic Key Largo, the ethanol lobby always wants “more.”

And there are always well-meaning politicians happy to oblige. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) have introduced bipartisan legislation (HR 1476, S. 835) requiring each automaker to ensure that at least 50% of the vehicles it manufactures or sells are flex-fuel by 2012 and at least 80% by 2015. A flex-fuel vehicle is one that can run on either regular gasoline or E-85 (a blend containing 85% ethanol), or anything in between.

Supporters acknowledge that flex-fuel technology will add about $100 to the purchase price of a new car. But, they claim, this expense will be more than offset by the reduction in fuel costs. That’s an interesting theory. However, according to, a Web site jointly administered by DOE and EPA, it costs hundreds of dollars more annually to fill up a flex-fuel vehicle with E-85 than with regular gasoline. No wonder so few people buy flex fuel vehicles!

When will mandatists learn? If the combination of flex-fuel vehicles and E-85 is such a great bargain, consumers will demand them, and profit-seeking companies will produce and deliver them for sale, all without regulatory coercion. Alternatively, if the flex-fuel/E-85 package is not a good buy, no amount of government meddling can make it so.


1 comment:

  1. I agree that massive subsidies for ethanol are a bad idea, creating just one more special interest group with unhealthy influence over Congress.

    However, please note that the Open Fuel Standards Act requires production of vehicles that can run on any blend of gasoline and alcohol, not just ethanol, but methanol also. Methanol is already realistically producible, not requiring any cellulosic production breakthrough, and would cause open market forces to act on gasoline and ethanol producers. For those vehicles running on diesel, the Act would require manufactures to make them compatible with bio-diesel blends.

    There are compelling environmental, economic, and security reasons why the Open Fuel Standards Act should become law. Learn more at: