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: 36
- Jonah Goldberg: Triumph of the vulgarians - 1
- Maureen Mann: Labeling genetically-modified foods would help New Hampshire consumers - 16
- David Harsanyi: Ninety-six percent of Americans are wrong about Congress - 3
- Patrick J. Buchanan: Will we go to war over Japanese islands? - 0
- Sean Kenneally: A once pure NH view is no more - 12
- Jonah Goldberg: Obamacare was sold on a few core lies - 8
- Charles Krauthammer: Obama the oblivious - 6
- Roger Simon: What Nelson Mandela overcame - 1
- George Will: Raise the minimum wage? It's iffy - 9
- Propane truck overturns on Bow side street - 0
- NH makes tort reform group's 'Judicial Hellholes' list - 2
- Manchester's O'Neill, Lebanon's Morrill form UNH's 'Granite Wall' - 0
- Stretch of I-293 North and South closed after propane tank crashes - 1
- $13m contract recommended for next phase of Nashua parkway - 0
- Couple charged in connection with Exeter burglaries - 0
- Proposed article sets rules for use of temporary signs - 0
- Newsreel: State unemployment stable; Gates Foundation CEO named; generic Viagra out soon - 0
- Leclerc takes second place in men's hockey - 0
Sales of new limited edition ‘Old Man’ liquor bottles will help fund Hall of Flags restoration projectREADER COMMENTS: 0
Shaheen, Ayotte split on House budget plan