Ted Cruz Cozies Up To “Big Ethanol” In Iowa

Pity the poor Ted Cruz. A successful candidate today has to be as nimble as a Nureyev and as changeable as a chameleon to get enough votes to win election. Cruz  has gone on record opposing the Renewable Fuel Standard. That’s the requirement farmers shoved down the throats of American motorists 30 years ago that requires ethanol be added to our gasoline.
Corn raised for ethanol

According to Mother Nature Network, Cruz says he favors a “free and fair energy marketplace.” That means “We should embrace all of the energy resources with which God has blessed America: oil and gas, nuclear, wind, solar, and biofuels and ethanol. But Washington shouldn’t be picking winners and losers.”

In theory, ethanol will help reduce carbon emissions and shower us with a panoply of other wondrous benefits. In fact, according to a United Nations report, it doesn’t do any of that stuff. Instead, it reduces fuel economy at a time when the government is pushing car makers hard to raise the average miles per gallon of the cars they build.

The Energy Information Agency reports that when ethanol content was increased from 2% in 1993 to 10% percent in 2013, it resulted in a decline of about 3 percent in the average energy content per gallon of gasoline over that 20 year period. If the government is serious about improving our national gas mileage, it should eliminate the Renewable Fuel Standard, whose only real purpose is to put money in the pocket of corn farmers.

Iowa has a lot of farmers and they grow a lot of corn. They love forcing ordinary citizens to buy all their lovely corn. They are none to pleased with a presidential candidate who is open to reducing the amount of ethanol American drivers are required to buy. According to the Washington Post,

“The ethanol lobby is bird-dogging Cruz everywhere he goes. Upset by his pledge to phase out the Renewable Fuel Standard, employees of an industry funded group — which is run by the son of the popular Republican governor — follow Cruz everywhere he goes in a camper. They hand out flyers attacking him to people at his event. They have a field operation, run attack ads, and plaster voters who might be amenable to Cruz with mailers.”

Cruz is no dope. As a result of the pressure, he has now changed his tune, at least in Iowa. He published an op-ed piece in the Des Moines Register on January 6 entitled “I’m Fighting For Farmers Against Washington.

In it, he not only supports the Renewable Fuel Standard, he calls for eliminating the “blend wall” in the current policy which limits the amount of ethanol to no more than 15%. “If allowed full market access, mid-level ethanol products like E25 or E30 could prove quite popular with American consumers, who are increasingly concerned with fuel economy,” Cruz wrote in the Register.

Sure, Ted. That makes perfectly good sense. If 10% ethanol reduces average fuel economy by 3%, let’s make the blend 30% ethanol and reduce mileage by 9%. Way to go, Senator. That’s the kind of leadership on important issues America needs! The problem will be solved one day, when Americans no longer use gasoline to power their cars. Then Iowa farmers will have to find a way to force America to make electricity from corn.



Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.