First President Obama said the Senate may forego passing cap-and-trade, by far the most critical piece of the energy legislation that’s brewing on Capitol Hill. And now, the Environmental Protection Agency is suddenly pushing snake-oil, uh, corn-based ethanol in the latest iteration of the renewable fuel standard [proposed rule PDF], claiming that its substitution for gasoline will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This contradicts an earlier renewable fuel standard iteration, and most studies of the matter, including a 2008 study in Science, which found that “corn-based ethanol, instead of producing a 20% savings [as per typical life-cycle studies], nearly doubles greenhouse emissions over 30 years and increases greenhouse gases for 167 years.” [Ed: for more on the corn ethanol sham check out TTAC's E85BOTD archives]
The Washington Post quoted EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson saying she was “confident” that “we weren’t dumbing down the standard to favor any particular industry or…outcome.” Of course any increase in corn ethanol mandates is pretty, well, dumb, and it’s a safe bet that Obama, who nixed gas tax relief during that summer of pricey petrol in ‘08, knows better than this. But then this is the same guy who during primary season ditched his Chrysler 300C muscle car after the press outed him, following his speech castigating the D3 for building bigger, faster cars. For all the changes in Washington over the last year, one thing hasn’t changed: when it comes to the renewable fuel standard, politics still trump science.