Wednesday, December 2, 2009

No Fast Track on Ethanol

The Financial Times reports that the EPA is holding off on increasing the allowable ethanol component of gasoline from 10% to 15% until it completes its technical evaluation of the impact on vehicles (text of EPA announcement). 

This is good news.  I'm no fan of biofuels, especially corn-based ethanol, because they usually require more energy to produce than they save and are largely dependent on government largess.  Using food products for fuel screws up the food market and it causes growers (mostly in other countries) to convert pristine land to farming, leading to potential ecological damage. 

I'd love to see the EPA take into consideration the total effect of ethanol, from the externalities of producing the fuel to the impact to cars, in making its decision.  Unfortunately, it is beyond the charge of the EPA to take on such a widespread analysis.

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