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It’s Time to End Crisis Governance on Energy Policy
As expected, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reduced this year’s target standards for the amount of renewable fuel, primarily corn-based ethanol, which the federal government will mandate to be blended into the nation’s fuel supply.
While we should briefly celebrate this move, the entire fight over the Renewable Fuels Standard program (RFS) has been a sign of broader problems with the federal government’s energy policy. Too often, the government tries to pick winners and losers in the energy market and the American people are usually the losers. The RFS has done nothing to achieve its goals of environmental conservation and energy security. Instead, it has only served to prop-up crony ethanol and agribusiness interests on the backs of the American people.
If the EPA didn’t lower the RFS mandate, higher-than-anticipated levels of ethanol and other experimental fuels would have been forced into the American market. As the figure below demonstrates, the 2007 fuel consumption projections that Congress used to craft the RFS mandates were way off, meaning that the EPA would be enforcing standards based on predictions that never came true:
Higher fuel prices and increased engine and fuel infrastructure repair costs would have plagued an already tepid economic recovery.
While we’ve averted this crisis for now, it’s a sign that the nation needs to stop crisis-governance of energy policy and let market forces work. Central planners writing the bill in 2007 got the RFS wrong, and the American people shouldn’t be dependent on one of the most radical EPA administrations in history to swoop in and save the day every year. The RFS is a failed program and should be repealed before we face this crisis again next year.
Here are some of the things FreedomWorks did to educate activists nationwide to help in this fight: