Senate Votes to Repeal Ethanol Subsidy
June 17, 2011 2:00 PM
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39% of all corn produced in the U.S. goes to ethanol production
House to vote next
Lawmakers in Washington are working hard to write and pass laws that would have fuel efficiency standards in the U.S. changing drastically in coming years. While some in Washington support the new standards for vehicle efficiency, others oppose the standards. Along with mandating better fuel economy across a carmakers fleet, Washington is also seeing green and renewable fuel alternatives for vehicles.
In the U.S., ethanol has been added into the fuel we run in vehicles for years. Ethanol is as high as 10% in fuels today and some that are against ethanol, which is derived from corn, claim that the biofuel is increasing the price of some food items in America. A report published by the GAO claims that the use of ethanol has driven the cost of some food items up as much as 20%.
With all of Washington in cost cutting mode in an effort to shore up the federal budget lawmakers are looking at everywhere money can be saved. One place that some in the Senate want to save money is by repealing the subsidy on ethanol. The
Thursday 73-27 to end a $0.45 per gallon tax credit on ethanol-blended gasoline starting on July 1. According to those that support the repeal, the subsidy cost taxpayers $5.6 billion last year.
Growth Energy, and ethanol association, CEO Tom Buis said, "The Senate missed an enormous opportunity to take real action on deficit reduction and energy policy when it failed to put oil subsidies and giveaways to the same test as ethanol."
On the other side of the coin, Kate McMahon coordinator of biofuels campaigns for Friends of the Earth said, "Senators scored a win for the public and for the environment by voting to end this $6 billion giveaway." She continued saying, "[the Senate delivered a message] that the ethanol industry's days of living high off the taxpayers' hog have come to an end."
The effort to end the ethanol subsidy now goes to the House for voting. White House spokesman Jay Carney says that the Obama administration supports a reduction in the ethanol subsidy, but does not support a full repeal. Some claim that 39% of the corn produced in the U.S. is currently going into fuel tanks. With the costs to reach the
regulations for fuel economy reaching nearly $10,000, some automakers are calling for the removal of ethanol from gasoline. Ethanol is renewable and greener than petroleum fuel, but reduces fuel economy.
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6/18/2011 3:30:20 PM
Another point that I neglected to make is that larger vehicles like the Passat are available with engines/tech that give them outstanding fuel economy, too.
We're not just talking about small cars. The VW station wagon (called the Jetta Sportwagon in the US) is an example:
VW Golf Estate 1.6 TDI 105PS BlueMotion Manual 5-speed
VW Golf Estate 1.6 TDI 105PS BlueMotion 7speed DSG S Direct shift 7-speed
Both of those beat the Honda Insight:
HONDA Insight 1.3 IMA S 5dr  Continuously Variable
The midsize Passat sedan nearly equals the Insight:
VW Passat Saloon 1.6 CR TDI 105 PS BlueMotion Manual 6-speed
People like to brush off fuel efficient diesels' advantages by dismissing them as merely being relegated to tiny cars, but that's not really the case. Their efficiency can be useful for all vehicle sizes.
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