Commentary: Requiring use of imported ethanol is stupid
If the U.S. won’t use corn ethanol, then the rest of the world can prosper from using U.S. ethanol.
What will happen once cellulosic ethanol becomes a bigger part of the U.S. ethanol production is still unknown. The cost of cellulosic ethanol compared to corn and sugarcane ethanol will be a factor, but the EPA has suggested that it sees cellulosic ethanol as being better than sugarcane ethanol in terms of GHG impact. So, if large cellulosic ethanol volumes come online in the near future, it would reduce the need for sugarcane ethanol imports to meet the RFS requirements.
It isn’t that sugarcane ethanol production and use is protecting the U.S. environment to any great extent. A large portion of corn ethanol doesn’t even leave North America. From the latest government data, in November, Canada was the leading importer of U.S. ethanol and Mexico began importing a sizeable volume, too.
The most encouraging part of the recent report on U.S. imports and exports is that ethanol imports were lower in November than any month since February, 2012, and drastically lower than the fall months of 2012 and summer months of 2013.
Simply put, it is stupid to limit use of U.S. corn ethanol and require imports of sugarcane ethanol.
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