The Coronation of Big Corn
An editorial in this morning’s Kansas City Star details some of the negative consequences of Missouri’s new ethanol fuel standards, which went into effect on January 1.
In 2006, the General Assembly passed a bill that required all gasoline sold in Missouri to contain a 10-percent ethanol blend beginning January 1, 2008, making Missouri only the third state in the country to impose such high standards.
In doing so, as the Star correctly documents, the General Assembly overlooked several problems with the “new brew”:
- Fuel with 10 percent ethanol has about 3 percent less energy than gasoline made from petroleum. Fuel mixed with ethanol gets fewer miles to the gallon.
- Ethanol is subsidized with a 51-cent federal tax credit. Increased consumption of blended gasoline leads to higher taxpayer funding for the ethanol industry.
- It takes a lot of water — as well as fertilizers that create pollution — to produce corn-based ethanol. As a result, ethanol has some negative effects on the environment.
Missourians can debate whether ethanol is an effective solution to Missouri’s energy needs and whether its costs are justified. But it is important for voters to be aware of these costs and recognize that ethanol is not the “free lunch” panacea that some pretend it to be. And what Missourians especially don’t need is a political coup that only replaces “Big Oil” with “Big Corn” for “Big Bucks.”