Charles Lane: The ethanol mandate's coming car wreck
Hence, too, we have elaborate government mandates and subsidies for blending ethanol into gasoline, which cause farmers to divert land, water and capital into growing corn and other crops for fuel rather than food.
But a 2007 federal law mandating ever-greater ethanol consumption remains on the books, and it is starting to create the economic equivalent of a multi-car freeway pileup.
Alas, like many previous attempts at central planning, the RFS has run afoul of changing realities in the marketplace — specifically, a seemingly permanent leveling-off of motor-fuel consumption because of changing driving habits, the sluggish U.S. economy and CAFE standards, among other factors.
Formerly a few cents per gallon, the price of a RIN recently reached $1.40 as businesses covered by the RFS — and speculators — snapped them up in anticipation of the "blend wall."
This is the sort of argument between rent-seekers that occurs when government tries to meet public-policy objectives through complex subsidies and mandates — rather than by setting broad incentives and letting market participants respond to them.
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Christmas spirit: Do you have more than a homeless man? - 1
- The Sony hack: Kim's judgment of Obama - 26
- Obama gets smoked: Castros celebrate in Havana - 35
- On naming the victim: It is Kibby's story now - 0
- After Newtown: A gun rights revival - 39
- Vermont's disaster: An Obamedy of errors - 15
- Jeb takes a dip: First Flavor of the Week - 21
- Asking about marriage: The Census should keep doing it - 3
- All lives matter: Even Al Sharpton says so - 14
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Dave D'Onfrio's Patriots Notebook: Finding a way to win - 0
- Sam Asano's Let's Invent: NoNose gets readers talking like nobody's business - 0
- Know the Law: Your trust can be named beneficiary of an IRA - 0
- Another View -- Bill O'Brien: Ask your state rep. to vote for transparency in the House - 0
- Old friends and a 'homeless angel' make for good stories anytime - 0
- Clooney gets it: Sony attack was not a 'crime' - 0
- New coats warm city kids, firefighters' hearts - 0
- NHIAA Roundup: Martin, Pinkerton top Salem in tournament - 0
- Inmate reported missing from Concord transitional unit - 0
The Sony hack: Kim's judgment of Obama
'Everybody was extremely fortunate'