WSJ and NY Times Join Chorus Against RFS

The case against the federal biofuel mandate, the Renewable Fuel Standard, is mounting. In the last two days, both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have run opinion pieces criticizing the costly RFS and its proponents. The New York Times op-ed focused on how forcing Americans to blend ethanol with gasoline is really a hidden tax:

Since 1982, the price of an energy-equivalent amount of ethanol has, on average, been about 2.4 times the price of gasoline. Furthermore, for eight full years between 1986 and 1998, ethanol cost at least three times more than an energy-equivalent amount of gasoline. In fact, since 1982, ethanol has always been more expensive than gasoline.

The same energy-equivalent prices allow us to estimate the annual cost of the ethanol tax. Between 2007 and 2014, about 92.5 billion gallons of ethanol were mixed into domestic gasoline supplies. Over that eight-year period, the energy-equivalent cost of ethanol averaged about 90 cents per gallon more than gasoline.

Motorists thus incurred about $83 billion — roughly $10 billion annually — in additional fuel costs over and above what they would have paid for gasoline alone.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal editorial board eviscerated Republican presidential candidates for going to Iowa and toeing the pro-ethanol line:

Political cynics will say we’re, well, tilting at windmills by expecting politicians to swear off energy subsidies, but that merely proves our point about the Iowa caucuses. If they were thinking bigger, Republicans would understand that they’ll have more credibility to reform social welfare if they oppose corporate welfare.

You can read the rest of The Wall Street Journal editorial here.

You can also find the rest of The New York Times op-ed here.

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