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Archives: October

New Bi-Partisan Calls for End to Ethanol Subsidies

by Joel Velasco on Oct 29, 2010

With Americans set to head to the polls next week, consumer watchdog groups, editorial columnists and candidates from across the political spectrum are renewing calls for an end to multi-billion dollar ethanol subsidies at a time of record deficits – all against the backdrop of soaring profits for the nation’s producers. And remember, the sole purpose of the tariff that blocks sugarcane ethanol is to offset these tax credits - if the tax credits go, then the tariff should as well. Read More

Folly by Numbers – USDA Shows Economic Gains from Eliminating Subsidies

by Joel Velasco on Oct 26, 2010

Last week at the National Press Club, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack made headlines when he called for a “fiscally responsible short-term extension of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit [VEETC],” citing a new report by the agency’s Economic Research Service. In an ironic twist, it turns out the report shows that with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) in place, eliminating those tax credits would actually increase the nation’s economic productivity by roughly $4 to 6 billion dollars (depending on the price of oil). Read More

Vilsack Changes Tune on the Import Tariff

by Joel Velasco on Oct 21, 2010

In what was billed this morning as a major speech at the National Press Club, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled a laundry list of proposals designed to spur production and demand for biofuels. Along the way, he expressed the belief that “the [ethanol import] tariff is likely to continue but over time be phased out,” in conjunction with his call for a “fiscally responsible short-term extension of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit [VEETC].” Vilsack’s remarks put him at a great distance from where he stood four years ago when (as Governor of Iowa and a presidential hopeful) he offered surprisingly candid remarks on those very topics in a sitdown at the Council on Foreign Relations. Read More

Should Obama Back Ethanol Subsidies?

by Joel Velasco on Oct 19, 2010

This week, the National Journal's Energy & Environment Expert's blog posed the question of whether or not the White House and Congress should incentivize corn-based ethanol in the transportation sector. Our answer details why the best thing President Obama and Congress could do for ethanol policy this year is nothing. Read More

EPA Decision Should Signal End to Ethanol Subsidies and Trade Protection

by Joel Velasco on Oct 14, 2010

Many U.S. ethanol groups have argued recently that after 30 years of tax credits and trade protection they are ready to compete without subsidies provided the government grants them greater access to America’s fuel pumps. With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to increase ethanol limits by 50% for newer vehicles, that day has arrived. Read More

A Busy News Day

by Joel Velasco on Oct 12, 2010

Today has been full of news relevant to the ethanol debate. The busy news cycle kicked off this morning with front-page articles in both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. It then continued to build with a mid-day conference call organized by opponents of the domestic ethanol industry’s new attempt at a unified legislative proposal (policies we described last week). Here’s a quick recap of with related links. Read More

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?

by Joel Velasco on Oct 08, 2010

After months of well-publicized family-feuding Congressional and industry outlets are reporting today that the nation’s powerful corn ethanol lobby has reached a consensus on key policies set to expire on December 31st – namely the $6 billion per year tax subsidy and the 54 cent per gallon tariff on imported ethanol. Just in time for the lame-duck session. Read More

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