by Lone Shark
Now that the Iowa Caucus is in the books, one might be tempted to think that the knee-jerk pandering to the ethanol lobby, especially by aspiring presidential candidates (that would mean you, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich) would be over with. One wonders if those candidates’ support for ethanol factored into their respective 1st, 2nd, and 4th place caucus finishes? Quite likely. Unfortunately, the gaseous nonsense about this gas additive is now front and center in Florida, and lawmakers such as current Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam are not helping matters out.
Florida currently has a requirement that all gasoline sold within the state must be blended with ethanol (between 9.0-10.0%, with exemptions for boat engines and aircraft), a law which passed under the much hyped “green” regime of former Republican Governor Charlie Crist. Crist sold the mandate to Floridians by insisting that we would be significantly decreasing our notorious “carbon footprint” and that an influx of green jobs would rush into the state– the former of which never mattered, the latter of which never materialized.
It’s been well documented that the ethanol boondoggle significantly impacts the price of food globally, thus making it harder for malnourished peoples to obtain food in the first place. That fact alone should immediately prompt us to end the use of ethanol as a gas additive on moral grounds. But what’s not widely known is that the use of ethanol actually has a corrosive effect on engines, as its continued use over time allows microscopic contaminants into a modern engine’s fuel system that diminish its performance. And since ethanol burns hotter and quicker than pure gasoline, it also reduces engine life in cars whose engines were not originally designed for ethanol consumption.
So why is Commissioner Putnam stating that a repeal of the ethanol mandate would be sending the “wrong message” for Florida? Here’s what he had to say about repealing Florida’s ethanol mandate-
“Symbolically, it sends the wrong message for Florida about our commitment to renewable energy. So if you’re saying we need to repeal this and modernize it, that’s absolutely right. We do need to repeal it and modernize it to give it the flexibility that reflects the rapidly advancing technologies in renewable fuels. That’s not really what’s being said though. What’s being said is we just need to repeal it.” – Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam
Mandatory ethanol blending laws have simply always been more inane government meddling that only yields unintended consequences. When true alternative fuel sources emerge that can cost-effectively replace gas and petroleum, they will come about through marketplace innovation, not because of government mandates that emerge from the federal government or from Tallahassee. Putnam should realize that a bad mandate is a bad mandate regardless of where it emanates from, and such mandates should be repealed with a full explanation and rationale to the public as to just why they are bad.
Big kudos go to Representative Matt Gaetz for leading the charge to fully repeal the ethanol mandate in the state. I encourage you all to contact your state legislators and help Rep. Gaetz pass HB 4013 which repeals the Florida Renewable Fuel Standard Act.