Ethanol Biz Benefits From Bipartisan Corporate Cronyism

Do you want to put gasoline in your car that’s made up of 15% ethanol? I know I don’t. But there’s a bipartisan push to bring more corn to our gas tanks. (Just imagine if they’re successful what it will do to your lawn mower, weed whacker, generator, and other equipment with small engines.) Not only are they giving subsidies and imposing mandates, now they’re bullying the oil industry into doing their bidding. Talk about extortion.

Now some Senators are siccing prosecutors on those who still won’t get on their ethanol cornwagon.

That’s the gist of a recent letter from Iowa Republican Charles Grassley and Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar, demanding the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission investigate the oil industry for “anticompetitive practices aimed at blocking market access for renewable fuels.” That’s Senatorial Cornspeak for saying oil companies should have to put their gas stations in the service of Big Ethanol.

Congress’s 2007 Renewable Fuels Standard mandates the blend of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels (ethanol) annually into the nation’s gasoline supply by 2022. But gasoline consumption remains flat. Refiners are thus crashing against the 10% “blend wall”; beyond that concentration in gasoline, ethanol begins to damage motors.

So now ethanol’s promoters are scrambling for new outlets, pushing for more pumps that supply straight 85% ethanol, or “E85.” Problem is, few retailers want to sell it. Installing E85 equipment is costly, while “flex-fuel” cars that can use E85 account for less than 3% of the U.S. fleet. (Read More)

What they’re doing is really diabolical, as Freedom Works recently noted.

 In Washington-speak, what the Senators are really asking for is truly atrocious: we want the federal government to force another industry to pay to develop its competition’s business.  And if they don’t, throw them in jail and punish them with fines!

Of course, the oil companies reject having to pay for ethanol infrastructure and fuel pumps, but since when in America is it anti-competitive to reject having to pay for a competitor’s business?  Does Coke pay for Pepsi machines?  What would McDonalds say if the Senators told them to sell Burger King Whoppers?  With 2012 revenues of $89 billion, why can’t Minnesota-based Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) afford to invest in ethanol infrastructure, particularly if its fuel is cheaper and cleaner than gasoline – a point that the Senators make in their letter?  Well, the answer is actually simple: ADM doesn’t have to bother investing its own money when two U.S. Senators are willing to use their influence as a hammer against the oil industry.

We would advise the Senators to stop using the talking points given to them by huge corporate farms and crony interests like ADM.  They are doing a huge disservice to the majority of working class families living in their states.

Policies like the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) only benefit a handful of people – rich farmers and big business interests.  The vast majority of citizens in those states face higher costs for the food and the gasoline that they buy.  That means less disposable income for working families who are already struggling from paycheck to paycheck. (Read More)

Republicans ask us for our vote and donations to their campaigns, then they turn around and do this crap. It’s getting so old. Is it any wonder they’re still so unpopular? Next time you get a fundraising plea tell them to ask their cronies getting rich off of their ethanol boondoggle.