Client News

Sun Sentinel: Biofuel mandate does more harm than good

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I disagree with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s Oct. 8 claim that government-funded fuel pumps for E85 and other ethanol-based fuels will “reduce our country’s environmental impact” and “deliver better and farther-reaching outcomes for taxpayers” in “More Pumps for Biofuels Coming to South Florida.”

In a time of continued economic uncertainty, a $100 million dollar grant to fund infrastructure upgrades for a product with almost no demand is an egregious use of U.S. tax dollars.

Our free-market, entrepreneurial nation should allow ethanol companies to succeed on the basis of their product. If customers want higher blends of ethanol in their fuel, the market will adjust accordingly. As it stands, programs like Vilsack’s Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership and the federal ethanol mandate, known as the Renewable Fuel Standard, are bad for the marketplace and bad for consumers.

Ethanol-blended fuel is significantly less energy efficient than pure gasoline, meaning drivers have to burn more gas and ultimately pay more per mile. Manufacturers fueling costs are also increasing because ethanol-blended fuel burns more quickly than regular gasoline.

Meanwhile, mounting scientific evidence demonstrates that mandating the use of ethanol is not the green policy it was touted to be. Numerous studies and the Environmental Protection Agency’s own data have shown that ethanol mandates actually increase greenhouse gas emissions and diminish air quality.

There is certainly merit in considering sustainable sources of energy, but only if it does more good than harm. Florida presidential hopefuls Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio have both spoken out about the importance of market-driven energy solutions — it’s time for leaders in Washington to listen.

Ned Bowman, executive director of the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association.

« Return to News