So we complain quite a bit about ethanol around here, but you might be thinking, what does it really cost me? Well, according to an analysis by the Environmental Working Group, US taxpayers shelled out over $3b in ethanol subsidies in 2007 alone. As if that weren’t outrageous enough, ethanol slurped up two-thirds of all government assistance to renewable energy producers that year. The so-called E10 “blender’s credit” (51 cents credit for every gallon of gas blended with ethanol) racked up $2.9b of the bill, with the Alcohol Fuel Tax Credit adding another $50m. In addition to countless state-funded subsidies for ethanol producers, distributers and refiners. If this is starting to sound like more money than it’s worth, don’t worry. It’s only going to get worse. Ethanol blending mandates were set at 4.7b gallons in 2007, climbed to 9b gallons in 2008 and will reach 12b gallons in 2011. Regardless of whether consumers want it or not. Unscientifically projecting those numbers forward, blender’s credit claims for 2008 could easily top $5b after the IRS adds it all up. Oh yeah, and the Ethanol industry is already asking for $1.5b in “emergency” loan guarantees and short-term credit facilities. And an expansion of blending mandates to E15 and beyond. How great is that?
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