2 thoughts on “EPA fuel standards ‘unworkable,’ industry says”

  1. Let’s see what all is wrong with this concept.
    1. The ethanol systems we have produce a lot less than the standard needs for refiners to comply.
    2. In order to comply, the ethanol systems would have to use a lot more food crops, would have to plant the trash crops, or would need a much more viable way of using existing trash. Two of those approaches produce problems with food supply and food prices and the other seems to be based on unicorn poop.
    3. Ethanol chemically contains less available energy than do petroleum-based fuels. So a more costly product delivers less performance, increasing the cost of transport throughout the economy.
    4. Ethanol is hard on many engines. Higher concentrations will be more damaging, especially for things like lawn mowers.
    5. The federal government doesn’t have any reasonable basis for the authority to do this in the first place. Nothing in the Constitution can reasonably be seen to give the government authority to mix our gasoline or choose our cars and trucks for us — but the fuel standards and the CAFE standards do exactly that.
    6. Ethanol production probably emits more CO2 in the life cycle than petroleum-based fuels do, although the ethanol crops might absorb some of the CO2 produced by their own cycle. But CO2 doesn’t matter anyway.
    7. If we could run transport fuels more economically on ethanol, we’d have had the motivation and the opportunity years ago. If we can do it in the future — which seems doubtful — the systems will evolve through normal free-economy choices driven by profit motives. Just to go all Adam Smith.
    There is a role in government for mitigating and reducing pollution because pollution crosses state borders. There might be a role for government in auto safety standards — my libertarian streak says that should be a matter of choice among the manufacturers and the buyers, but I’ll allow some possibility here. The choices of economically desirable fuels and vehicles requires too many knowledge points to be assigned to an agency or a committee of any kind. History shows that governments, when given the chance to choose winners and losers, only create losers.

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