Biofuels backers still pushing a failed model

Fuel Fix:
The fight over the nation’s renewable fuels policy is heating up again, as federal regulators mull where to set final biofuel quotas for 2014, and groups on both sides of the issue pressure Congress to take up the topic.

The Environmental Protection Agency is on track to establish this year’s quotas for traditional corn-based ethanol as well as advanced biofuels made from non-edible plant materials and waste before summer, probably in June. Its first draft of those targets, released last November, proposed requiring refiners to use 15.2 billion gallons of renewable fuels in 2014, some 3 billion below the amount mandated in federal statutes.

Biofuel backers say the EPA was “caving to Big Oil” and have implored the agency to boost the mandates, warning that clean energy jobs and the vitality of rural America are both at stake.

Now, they are hitting the airwaves, with a new advertisement aimed squarely at EPA. The TV spot, by Americans United For Change, will air in Washington, D.C. during “Meet the Press,” “Fox News Sunday” and other Sunday news shows this weekend.

The group did not say precisely how much they were spending on the campaign, only that the ad buy is “approaching six figures.” The commercial insists that the agency must protect renewable energy jobs tied to the biofuel mandate.

“Big Oil wants to gut America’s renewable fuel standard, because it works, because the more renewable fuels we use, the less they make,” says the ad. “And if you get in the way of Big Oil’s record profits, you better watch your backs. Big Oil interests will do whatever it takes to protect their bottom line.”

Not to be outdone, the American Petroleum Institute next week is beginning its own new round of ads on the renewable fuel standard, with a campaign that focuses on Capitol Hill and aims to pressure lawmakers to repeal the eight-year-old mandate.

The first API commercial features a family of boaters wearing life jackets and white sunblock who storm into the House of Representatives to complain about higher ethanol fuel blends damaging their boat’s engine.

“The mechanic said it’s that renewable fuel mandate which forces the blending of too much ethanol into our fuels and can damage small engines,” says the father portrayed in the spot. “Huh. Didn’t know that. But I hear you all did.”

The ad ends with the dad delivering a demand — and a punchline: “Repeal this renewable fuel mandate,” he asks the lawmakers, “or, you’ll be up a creek without a paddle.”
We don't need renewable fuel standards.  We don't need biofuel.  The whole rationale for the biofuel market was based on the false premise that traditional fuels were scarce and leading to ever greater imports.  That is clearly no longer the case, yet the rent seekers are still pushing their failed model.

How failed is it? It could not survive in a fair market place so it has to have expensive mandates that consumers wind up paying for.  It is not Big Oil that is suffering because of the mandates, but consumers who have to pay more because of the government mandated market manipulation.  It is also a less efficient fuel which means less fuel economy and potential damage to engines.


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