Ethanol, Inflation and Biden’s Energy Policy

Source: By C. Boyden Gray, Wall Street Journal • Posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Does it make sense to divert corn stocks to use more E15 gasoline?

President Biden speaks about ethanol in Menlo, Iowa, April 12. Photo: Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg News

The editorial board levies legitimate criticisms of the Biden administration’s energy policy, but its skepticism about ethanol is based on mistaken premises (“Biden’s Ethanol Gas Price Trick,” April 13).

First, it’s wrong that ethanol is bad for the environment and cars. Higher blends of ethanol are not only cheaper, but are also safe and green. Carbon-dioxide emissions from increased land use are more than offset by the replacement of nonrenewable fossil fuels with renewable ethanol. Ethanol also doesn’t meaningfully increase food prices, as it is a natural, nonprotein coproduct of the creation of corn feed for livestock.

Second, ethanol is not at odds with U.S. oil and gas. American fuel policy is a web of conflicting subsidies and regulations: Some help oil and gas, some help biofuels and many promote electric cars. How exactly to move to a more rational, all-of-the-above energy policy is a tough question, but anything that eliminates irrational regulatory barriers to greener and cheaper fuel is something everyone should support.

C. Boyden Gray


Mr. Gray was White House counsel to President George H.W. Bush. His firm, Boyden Gray & Associates, represents corn growers and other clients with interests in ethanol sales.