Complex ethanol policies are creating problems at the pump

08/20/2013 | Washington Post (tiered subscription model), The

U.S. gasoline consumption has decreased since Congress created the Renewable Fuel Standard, and now refiners are required to blend more ethanol than the market can take, and fear of this has caused the price of Renewable Identification Numbers to rise, writes columnist Charles Lane. The ethanol industry has said Big Oil can avoid this problem by blending E15 and E85. "This is the sort of argument between rent-seekers that occurs when government tries to meet public-policy objectives through complex subsidies and mandates -- rather than by setting broad incentives and letting market participants respond to them," Lane writes.

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