Corn Ethanol: Who Pays? Who Benefits? (Hoover Institution Press Publication)

In this in-depth, fact-based evaluation, Ken G. Glozer provides a detailed political history of how the United States ended up with current federal corn ethanol policy. Part I relates the significant external events that have…

In this in-depth, fact-based evaluation, Ken G. Glozer provides a detailed political history of how the United States ended up with current federal corn ethanol policy. Part I relates the significant external events that have driven the politics that in turn has driven the policy since 1977. He answers important questions about when the policy started, how it evolved, what were the major political and market forces that drove it, and, most important, who were the key officials that formed and shaped the policy.

Part II of the book contains an in-depth objective evaluation of the major claims made by those who have advocated the ethanol policies during the past thirty years. Glozer uses his analytic, policy evaluation skills, honed during his twenty-six years with the White House Office of Management and Budget, to probe how well the ethanol policy has worked compared to the claims made by two presidents, three federal agencies, ethanol producers, and the corn and soybean growers.

The author presents the results of an evaluation of the Renewal Fuels Standard, which was first enacted in 1975 then doubled, to a mandatory 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol blended into the nation’s gasoline supplies. His surprising finding—that federal ethanol policy has little to do with energy and everything to do with wealth transfer—is particularly compelling because, after three decades of federal subsidies, trade protection, and, most recently, mandated ethanol blending, ethanol remains uneconomical. Also, according to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, ethanol never has and never will have a significant impact on petroleum imports compared to what could be achieved under a competitive market policy. Glozer’s sobering conclusion is that the taxpayers and consumers are the victims of the current policy in that they have no choice but to pay and pay.

Fuel and Fiber

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