Big Corn and Big Oil are now battling over the fate of the law. The oil industry wants the ethanol requirement reduced or repealed altogether. The corn lobby wants to preserve the mandate, along with the hefty subsidies paid to producers of renewable fuels (up to 40 percent of the nation’s corn crop is used for fuel). We say: Leave it, change it or scrap it, but just give consumers a break and make it possible to buy gasoline that doesn’t turn to goo.
Proponents of repeal call the ethanol requirement an expensive boondoggle with little or no environmental benefit, a mandate that drives up the cost of food and fuel. It may even be, as some contend, that it takes more energy to produce a gallon of ethanol than a gallon of gasoline. It certainly takes a lot more water in an age where water is being fought over. The other side sees ethanol from corn as a necessary step toward energy independence, one that reduces pollution by making engines burn cleaner.
From our vantage point, far from the endless fields of Midwestern maize, running vehicles on food seems like not just a boondoggle but an environmental dead end. Millions of otherwise fallow acres have been ploughed up and put into corn to meet a government-created demand for a troublesome fuel most people would prefer not to buy.
— The Concord Monitor