FactsAboutEthanol.org is a Project of the Humans Against Ethanol, a non-profit public policy organization dedicated to the principles of economic liberty and limited government.
The free enterprise system puts unrelenting pressure on businesses to cut costs, innovate, and improve the products and services they offer to consumers. As a result, free enterprise creates wealth and fosters a society of opportunity and a culture of progress.
Government’s role in a free enterprise system is limited. Government clarifies and enforces the rules of fair play, but it does not attempt to substitute policymakers’ preferences for consumers’ preferences, nor does it rig the marketplace to favor one firm or industry over another.
Unfortunately, special interests relentlessly lobby policymakers to enact market-rigging subsidies, tax breaks, and regulatory mandates, and policymakers are often happy to oblige-particularly when the payoff for their patronage is big, fat campaign contributions. The consequence is a mountain of corporate welfare that enriches the few at the expense of the many, misdirects resources, and corrupts the political process.
There are many forms of corporate welfare, but none enjoys more favorable PR than the federal ethanol program. Ethanol is touted as a solution to high gasoline prices, air pollution, oil dependency, and global warming. Its proponents are legion and include the corn lobby, big agribusiness firms, federal bureaucrats, farm state politicians, environmental activists, and right-wing defense hawks.
HAE, an organization that exists to champion free market principles precisely in areas where the political forces favoring intervention are strongest, has created FactsAboutEthanol.org to provide information, analysis, and commentary on the economic, political, and environmental issues pertaining to ethanol.
Our Main objective
The site’s primary purpose is simply to provide information. Our policy is to post all relevant news items, commentary, and analysis, regardless of whether the author’s views agree with ours or not. Our goal is to build a One-Stop-Shop for your ethanol information needs.
However, we will not be bashful about expressing our viewpoints. For example, ethanol supporters from President Bush on down claim that, “America is addicted to oil.” That is an abuse of terminology. An addiction is an unhealthy appetite that grows with feeding. We depend on oil, yes; we also depend on water, yet nobody would say we are “addicted” to water. I depend on gasoline to do my grocery shopping. But I do not wake up in a cold sweat, sneak out of the house in the dark of night, and drive to the nearest road-side pusher to top off my tank. People do not desire oil per se but rather the mobility it provides. As soon as the marketplace develops alternatives that outperform gasoline at less cost, consumers will demand it and profit-seeking firms will supply it.
Although America is not addicted to oil, the ethanol lobby is addicted to government support. Not content with a 51 cent-per-gallon tax credit, a 54 cent-per-gallon tariff on ethanol imports, a 7.5 billion gallon ethanol mandate, untold millions of dollars in federal R&D subsides, and a host of state-level policy props, some ethanol advocates call for a federal mandate to require gasoline stations to build pumps for E-85 (motor fuel made with 85% ethanol), a mandate requiring automakers to manufacture specified percentages of flex-fuel (E-85-capable) vehicles, and for revisions in the 2005 Energy Policy Act to expand the 7.5 billion gallon mandate. This Web site will, among other things, monitor this ongoing debate.
Specifically, FactsAboutEthanol.org will include:
- Scholarship from the peer-reviewed literature on the economics and environmental impacts of ethanol and other bio-fuels.
- HAE-commissioned studies on ethanol.
- Congressional and other expert testimony on ethanol-related issues.
- News articles (not self-promotional puff pieces) about ethanol policies and markets.
- Commentary (op-eds, magazine articles, speeches) pro- and con- the current and proposed ethanol subsidies and mandates.
- Regularly updated information about ethanol prices, comparing them to gasoline prices.
- A regularly updated Blog for HAE commentary on all of the above.
We welcome input from those who visit this site to help us keep up with the fast moving policy debate about ethanol. If you come across a news item, op-ed column, or study that you would like to see posted on this site, please contact us here.