Corn-based ethanol is a controversial fuel in its own right, and a longstanding federal subsidy for blending the biofuel with gasoline has been an additional source of consternation over the last 30 years. According to The Detroit News, Congress has wrapped up its work for 2011 without extending the incentive, a move that's drawn praise from environmental groups and taxpayer advocates.

Hand-in-hand with the discontinuation of the tax subsidy, an import tariff on ethanol imported from Brazil has also been cancelled, which opens the tap for a source of ethanol that doesn't have the reputation of being a dirty diversion of a food crop that corn-based ethanol carries. That means that while the blenders' tax credit is no more, the 2007 legislation calling for a significant increase in the use of renewable fuels is likely not going anywhere if the abundant ethanol produced from Brazil's sugarcane economy can be used instead.

The corn lobby is naturally not thrilled with the news, but it has put on a brave face. Tom Buis of Growth Energy, a group that supports and fosters the cause of domestic ethanol production, tells the DetNews, "without the tax credit, the ethanol industry will survive; it will continue to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create jobs, and strengthen our economy." That statement isn't exactly at odds with the actions of Congress, since there's now about $6 billion per year that could be plowed into further renewable fuel research and development that would ensure corn ethanol is indeed a stepping stone fuel, as it was sold in the first place.


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  • 152 Comments
      thinkfirst
      • 3 Years Ago
      If the ethanol industry will "survive" without the tax subsidy, then the subsidy was not needed to begin with and was a waste of taxpayer's dollars.
      fdverderam
      • 3 Years Ago
      The use of ethanol in gasoline has been a disaster for most Americans. Food prices have risen. Meat and poultry prices have sky rocketted. In short we have been messing with one of the important factors that made our country great. Reasonably priced food. To add injury to insult gasohol is actually deleterious to automobile and marine engines. To subsidize the oil industry for using up good grain to produce ethanol for fuel is outrageous. We have been hoodwinked. Dropping this subsidy is the first sensible thing that this Congress has done in my recent memory. Congratulations!!!
      surffmaster
      • 3 Years Ago
      Burning our food to run our cars when we have at least a century's worth of nat gas we could be running them on is about as stupid and befuddling a strategy as we could pursue. The morons in washington need to pass the nat gas legislation which will clean the air, stop sending our money to the middle east to fund their activities against us and create hundreds of thousands of jobs all in one stroke. We need to stop bowing to the eco-nitwits and take charge of the opportunity now.
      whiteoak
      • 3 Years Ago
      GOOD itsw time we the people STOP footing the bills so the corn/alchol industry cn pay each other the big bonuses with our money
      BG
      • 3 Years Ago
      It was a poor idea all along because corn is an inefficient way to produce ethanol compared to sugar cane. Also, the environmental effects have been pretty severe because corn is a high-fertilizer crop. The runoff goes down the Mississippi and contributes to the anoxic dead zone. This whole business of tax subsidies to one industry or special interest group or another always have unintended consequences; and some people say we're not a socialist country.
      cray542464
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's about time.
      elendil3136
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ethanol is a non-starter as a substitute for gasoline. It's too expensive and labor intensive to produce on a large scale. One of the problems with the subsidy was that most of the money was going to a handful of large Argibusiness corporations that were being paid billions to do "research". This was plain and simple graft to buy the votes of the Plains states politicians who are in their pocket. You won't hear this on the Faux News network, but this subsidy is a major reason for the rise in food prices in the last three years. It is now 3:56 pm. You have three minutes to sell your corn futures.
        dgframer
        • 3 Years Ago
        @elendil3136
        Brazil has made ethanol work. It's not the process, it's the crop used. Sugar cane works well and gives a good return. But just because it works there does mean that it will work here.
      Glass Family
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's about time we quit put our food in the fuel tank! Maybe now the price of food will start to come back down
      Mark
      • 3 Years Ago
      Does this mean we can finally have real gas to put into our vehicles instead of that crap that reduces our fuel economy by 35%? My car went from 20-28 MPG and 360-504 miles on a tank to 13-21 MPG and 234-378 miles to a tank just from that crap alone. What's the point of having that crap in our gas if it causes more of our precious gasoline to be wasted versus without it? At $3.00 per gallon the fuel economy loss is equivalent to paying $5.00 per gallon by giving us less of what we pay for. In humid climates the octane rating loses four points from the humidity absorbtion so with water in the gas an 87 octane pump is actually dispensing 83 octane gas and ruining more than just fuel economy. We need to get all ethanol out of all gasoline. There's no functional reason for having it.
      Peter
      • 3 Years Ago
      At last...about time we stop the pork barrel wheeling and dealing to put this crap in our cars.
      Making11s
      • 3 Years Ago
      About time. Corn doesn't even make good ethanol.
      Catherine
      • 3 Years Ago
      About time this subsidy was ended! Thank You!
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