From Merrill Matthews at the Institute for Policy Innovation:
President Obama reportedly will announce on Friday that he will waste another $100 million taxpayer dollars in his never-ending quest to push consumers to embrace his green dreams.
Though he won’t actually put it quite like that, that’s the upshot of his message.
The $100 million is to expand special fuel pumps, called “blender pumps,” that allow drivers to choose how much ethanol they want in their gas tanks. If consumers could choose zero, at least it would represent a real choice, but don’t bet on that.
Consumer Reports says that about 70 percent of gasoline has a 10/90 blend, that is, 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol, known as E10.
Ethanol advocates — primarily the farmers who grow the corn and the processers that turn it into ethanol, both of whom profit greatly from the product — claim that newer cars can take a blend ratio of E15. And some flex-fuel cars can go significantly higher.
But why would most people do that, since the higher blends of ethanol appear to reduce miles per gallon?
When Consumer Reports compared the gas mileage of E10 to what the ethanol industry is really pushing, E85 (85 percent ethanol), it found a significant reduction in miles per gallon. “When running on E85 there was no significant change in acceleration. Fuel economy, however, dropped across the board. In highway driving, gas mileage decreased from 21 to 15 mpg; in city driving, it dropped from 9 to 7 mpg.”
In addition, many environmentalists who once encouraged ethanol expansion have begun to back off that support.
Obama’s predictions about the adoption and benefits of his environmental policies have been every bit as bad, if not worse, than his predictions about his health care law. He predicted there would be a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015; there’s actually about 286,000. His efforts to push high-blend ethanol are likely to be no better.
There is nothing wrong with a transition to higher-blend vehicles — if that’s what consumers want. But that is not this administration’s approach. What matters is what the president thinks is good for you, whether he would ever use it or not, and to back his vision with your taxes.