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Issues 2016: Ethanol Is Bad for Consumers, Bad for the Environment, and Does Effectively Nothing for "Energy Independence"

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Issues 2016: Ethanol Is Bad for Consumers, Bad for the Environment, and Does Effectively Nothing for "Energy Independence"

November 24, 2015
Energy & EnvironmentRegulationsTechnology / Infrastructure
EconomicsRegulations

Abstract

Since the 1970s, the U.S. government has been subsidizing the production of—or mandating the consumption of—corn ethanol. Promoters of the fuel have made many claims about the alleged benefits of corn ethanol, including its lower cost, its ability to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, and its ability to reduce America’s dependence on imported oil. None of these claims is true.

Key Findings

  • Americans have spent a total of $170 billion on federal corn ethanol subsidies and mandates.
  • Corn ethanol emits more greenhouse gases than conventional gasoline.
  • Corn ethanol, which satisfies the equivalent of only 3 percent of U.S. oil demand, has no noticeable effect on America’s “energy independence.”

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