An Ethanol Defender Misses The Point

Marc: In any event, the $.45 per gallon subsidy that Robert refers to didn’t go to the farmers or the ethanol industry, it primarily went to the oil/gasoline blenders to make up for having to use 10% of someone else’s product.

I have seen this argument before, and the rebuttal is quite easy. Who howled when Congress was debating eliminating this subsidy? It wasn’t the oil industry. It was corn farmers and ethanol interests. That tells you everything you need to know about who this subsidy actually benefited, regardless of how it was structured.

Marc: Correcting an injustice is not an injustice.

The whole point is, not everyone agrees that it’s an injustice, and they don’t agree that if it was an injustice that this is the correct fix. Some might argue that we should instead be mandating more electric vehicles. So, we return to my argument: There are going to be vested interests lined up against you, and sometimes they are going to win. This dependence on the federal government to set the markets is exactly what has hurt the ethanol industry since President Trump’s election. He has primarily favored the refiners over the ethanol industry — which would be irrelevant if the Midwest was driving this market themselves.

Marc: I’d say that Forbes must view Robert’s editorials as being anti-ethanol enough to meet their criteria for bashing ethanol, thereby allowing Robert to publish five unfavorable ethanol articles in such quick succession.

Let me just clear that up right now. As long as I stay in my lane (energy), Forbes doesn’t object at all to what I write. They haven’t censored a single column of mine ever. Others have argued that Forbes is anti-climate change, yet I have published multiple articles arguing that this is a serious problem that must be addressed. So this is really just an ad hominem argument, and an unwarranted shot at Forbes given the latitude they give their contributors. And, I might add, I am working on an interview with one of the pro-ethanol groups to allow them to make their points. But, I will be challenging those points if warranted, as I am challenging Marc here.

Marc: Robert wants to compare Iowa to Saudi Arabia, and he wants to treat Iowa as an isolated sand locked country. He wants to treat Iowa as if its ruled by a “royal” dictator and his family, and commands that Iowans use ethanol before using any other fuel.

That is an utter misrepresentation. I used Iowa as an example, but go on to point out that the entire Midwest is where most of the ethanol is produced. Further, ethanol enjoys far more political power than oil interests in the Midwest (most of which has no oil production at all). Thus, Midwest governors could easily band together and come up with policies for vastly increasing the use of ethanol in the Midwest. It would be far easier than forcing more ethanol into Texas or California, which are states where you will find some staunch opposition to ethanol mandates.