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Reduced corn production makes increased ethanol content in fuel worrisome

A new report has been published that looks at the tense negotiations between the White House and automakers over CAFE standards that would push fuel efficiency to 54.5 mpg by 2025. According to the report put together by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the Obama administration "openly played automakers off of each other to gain a tactical advantage over the industry." 
"The inevitable product of this reckless process was a pair of rulemakings that reflect ideology over science and politics over process. … Americans will be forced to drive expensive, unpopular and unsafe automobiles mandated by the Obama administration," stated the report.
However, representative Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), rejected the report stating, "Any allegations that the White House is seeking to weaken the auto industry are simply ridiculous — this is the White House that saved the auto industry from its near-collapse."

"Japan is angry. Feel like they have been screwed." -- Toyota
The report also features notes from auto manufacturers involved in the negotiation process with Washington. The notes show that foreign automakers particularly were unhappy with the process and felt that the rules were jilted in favor of Detroit automakers. Despite misgivings, most foreign automakers agreed to the deal. Handwritten notes in the report from Toyota stated, "Japan is angry. Feel like they have been screwed."
Automakers maintain that the new requirements would add about $2,000 to the cost of the average vehicle by 2025 or roughly $3,000 when costs from the 2012 to 2013 fuel efficiency rules are figured in. Automakers felt pressure to agree to the Obama administration's fuel economy standards over fears that California would enact even stiffer efficiency ratings if they turned Washington down.
While fuel-efficiency standards are set to increase in the coming years, the White House is working hard to get more ethanol into the nation's fuel supply to help reduce the need for foreign oil. However, the U.S. is currently in the middle of a corn shortage. Ethanol in the U.S. is primarily produced using corn. Corn production in the U.S. has fallen drastically due to drought, and livestock producers fear that increasing the ethanol content in gasoline will result in even less corn being available feed, therefore, raising prices of feed and food supplies.

Severe drought conditions have obliterated this year's corn crop [Image Source: MSNBC]
The Detroit News reports that over 180 members of Congress are calling on the Obama administration to waive increased ethanol requirements in fuel. White House spokesman Jay Carney said, "The EPA has made clear that they're working closely with the Department of Agriculture to keep an eye on yields, and they will evaluate all the relevant information when assessing that situation."
EPA spokeswoman Alisha Johnson said, "We are in close contact with USDA as they and we keep an eye on crop yield estimates, and we will review any data or information submitted by stakeholders, industry and states relating to the RFS program."

Sources: The Detroit News [1], [2]

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RE: More exploitation and abuse of consumers
By DiscoWade on 8/13/2012 6:35:40 PM , Rating: 2
Then highways. While we can agree roads are a necessary public good you should also be aware that its one of the most corruption-ridden areas of government procurement around the world, even in otherwise 'clean' places like government. Kick-backs abound. If someone along the line had profit-motive to keep costs under control, maybe things would turn out different?

I will give you an example. Here in North Carolina there is a toll highway that is going to be built near Charlotte called the Garden Parkway. In North Carolina it is common knowledge that there is a "good old boys" mentality in the DOT. The route for the Garden Parkway conveniently goes through land that state senator William Current (a Republican) just sold to his son. When funding and planning for the Garden Parkway was talked about being axed, someone created a bogus letter in the DOT's name saying it was needed.

That is corruption. Although this has changed recently, in North Carolina it is well known that a few eastern towns get all the DOT money while the rest get what is left over. The towns along the US-70 corridor from Raleigh east got favored status. Raleigh projects get escalated, while projects in the other metro areas get delayed. Former governor Jim Hunt was well-known for his corruption and he made sure his hometown of Wilson received many favorable road projects. Those projects are done now and the special eastern towns aren't being favored like they were, but the "good old boys" network remains. Now it is statewide. North Carolina is a very corrupt state.

By Ringold on 8/13/2012 9:39:35 PM , Rating: 2
North Carolina doesn't sound any more corrupt then any other state I follow. I know here in Florida, that is all par for course, at the city, county and state levels. Those sorts of stories break, without much fanfare, in the news all year long, year in and year out. I hear the same from Georgia and Indiana, and when reading news from overseas, I read about it everywhere from squeaky-clean Japan to crony-capitalist former Soviet bloc nations to South America. Like I said, road and infrastructure corruption is probably the 2nd oldest economic activity, right behind prostitution, when one group of guys probably decided the brothel needed a path cleared to it, and some other guy bent them over the yet-to-be-invented barrel to do it.

There's an unquestioning belief it seems like on the left that government spending is good spending, that its inherently more noble and just than private-sector spending, less vulnerable to human error, greed, malice, or ego. History unequivocally says that's not true.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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