The Tea Party movement was a key factor in ending corn-based ethanol subsidies because it pushed Republican candidates to speak out against spending, in this case monies that would provide little benefit to the transportation industry while exacerbating the national debt and deficit situation, the Atlantic reported.
Tea Party members also highlighted the fact that high oil prices continued to make ethanol price-competitive without the subsidies, which cost United States taxpayers about $6 billion a year. Additionally, the EPA's Renewable Fuels Standard ensured a quota of ethanol production whether the subsidy was in place or not, the Atlantic reported.
Last month, the United States Congress decided against extending corn-based ethanol subsidies in a move that's drawn praise from environmental groups and taxpayer advocates. While ethanol supporters say more ethanol production lessens domestic dependency on foreign oil and creates more farming jobs, many environmentalists, academic researchers and economists have questioned using corn as a fuel feedstock, citing both spikes in corn prices that at times have exacerbated worldwide shortages of many grain-based foods, and environmental concerns related to potential waterway contamination from fertilizer and additional water and electricity requirements for corn production.
Meanwhile, the EPA recently boosted its 2012 goals for production of non-corn-based biofuels by about 36 percent, reflecting the federal government's efforts to both cut its dependency on foreign oil and find alternatives to corn- and alcohol-based fuels. The EPA boosted its production goal for advanced biofuels, whose feedstocks range from sugarcane to algae, by 48 percent, while increasing its goal for cellulosic biofuels, or biofuels produced from grasses, wood and plants, by 36 percent. Production of biomass-based biodiesel is set to rise 25 percent this year, according to the EPA.