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: 1
- Where is Shaheen? Hiding from you - 64
- Portman's good point: A leadership deficit all around - 3
- Wheeler in Dist. 5: A GOP fighter for the little guy - 4
- GOP for legal pot? Hemignway's high help - 12
- Obama's indecision: In NH, only Ayotte urges action - 56
- Concealed controversy: Our 'Mother, may I' gun policy - 57
- Innis in the 1st: A strong choice for Congress - 11
- Obama waits: A terror threat grows - 41
- For U.S. Senate, Scott Brown best NH candidate come November - 73
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Goffstown's Bourque impresses; Memorial, Bishop Guertin, Pinkerton win in Queen City Jamboree - 0
- Hanover boys soccer edges defense-minded BG - 0
- NH Fisher Cats, Pierre stun Rock Cats in 4-3 win - 0
- Helping hands for new St. Anselm students in Manchester on move in day - 0
- To market, to market: Market Basket shoppers flock on in - 0
- Nashua Market Basket employee: 'Worth every day of work lost' - 0
- NH teen killers to get sentence reviews after state Supreme Court decision - 0
- Manchester raid came 8 months after home invasion - 0
- NH killer in 1991 Smart trial seeks time with wife - 0
Where is Shaheen? Hiding from you
Goffstown's Bourque impresses; Memorial, Bishop Guertin, Pinkerton win in Queen City Jamboree