Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Alcohol Mandate

Carl Icahn wrote an op ed in the Wall St Journal decrying the use a and abuse of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs).  These are some kinda chits that concern the addition of alcohol to gasoline before it is sold at the pump.  I didn't fully understand Icahn's explanation of how the scam on RINs worked, but he claimed it was driving the smaller refineries out of business and leaving gasoline production to the majors and the big service station chains.  Icahn is in the business and probably has it right.
   More to the point, the entire alcohol in gasoline program is a scam.  Beloved of greenies, who think it  saves the planet, and of farmers who see a huge market for their corn, in actual fact, the program just raises the price of gasoline.  Growing the corn and distilling it into alcohol consumes more gasoline and diesel (energy)  than the alcohol provides.  We would get more gasoline for less drilling if we just refined crude into gasoline and sold it. 
   Back when the alcohol in gasoline scam got started, the greenies were told that raising corn and distilling alcohol would save on crude oil production.  So all the greenies, and Congresscritters who thought they could snare some greenie votes fell in line.  And all the farmers who correctly saw that massive alcohol production would skyrocket the price of corn got on board, and between the two they had enough votes to slide the mandatory alcohol in gasoline program thru Congress.  That was years ago. 
   The truth is, making alcohol consumes more gasoline and diesel than the alcohol conserves.  And the bulk of us motorists  (in America everyone is a motorist)  are stuck with a program that raises the cost of gasoline.  We ought to abolish the whole thing, RINs and all.   Maybe the Trump administration will do something about it. 

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