LETTER: Ethanol mandates are damaging

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The goals of the Renewable Fuel Standard are well-meaning, and so are the farmers involved in producing corn-based ethanol.

But the damage caused by unsustainable ethanol mandates is so significant and widespread that environmental groups, restaurants and grocer associations, automobile manufacturers, and producers of poultry, pork and beef are just a few of the groups that have joined the oil and natural gas industry in speaking out.

For anti-hunger groups, food producers and restaurants, food prices are a concern. Ethanol production has diverted more than 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop from food to fuel, leading to a 25 percent increase in the consumer price index for food since 2005.

Then there’s engine damage. Research has shown that increasing ethanol content from the current 10 percent (E10) to 15 percent (E15) can damage engines and fuel systems. About 85 percent of cars on the road today are not manufacturer-approved to use fuel blends above E10, and numerous automakers warn that engine damage caused by E15 will not be covered by warranty.

Both Democrats and Republicans agree the RFS is a failure, and polls show voters are concerned about the impact of the RFS on their engines and budgets. We’ve had 10 years to evaluate the RFS in action, and the evidence is overwhelming. It’s time to repeal or significantly reform this outdated, failed policy.

Maureen Ferguson
executive director, Indiana Petroleum Council

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