Why a biofuel mandate is terrible public policy
Bernard Weinstein, an economist and associate director of SMU's Maguire Energy Institute, opines against a biofuel mandate.
By Bernard Weinstein
The Renewable Fuels Standard, commonly known as the “ethanol mandate,” is perhaps the most egregious example of resource misallocation resulting from flawed public policies.
Though proposals have been made to reform the mandate, the public interest will be best served if the RFS section of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act is repealed. In the first place, the biofuels mandate has done little or nothing to enhance America’s energy independence or security. Oil imports have dropped dramatically over the past five years, from 60 percent of consumption to around 35 percent; but the credit goes to the shale revolution that has greatly boosted domestic production.
What’s more, the potential contribution of ethanol to the energy mix has been oversold. Processing the entire U.S. corn crop into ethanol would yield energy equal to just...
Bernard L. Weinstein is associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute in the Cox School of Business at SMU and a fellow with the George W. Bush Institute.