Heartland Institute Experts React to Proposed New Ethanol Mandate for Chicago

Published July 25, 2014

The Finance Committee of the Chicago City Council on Monday is expected to take up an ordinance that would require gasoline stations to provide the so-called E15 blend of fuel, which is 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline. Most Chicago-area filling stations have E10 fuel, which is only 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline.

The following statements from energy policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

“At a time when environmental groups and consumer advocates agree E15 is environmentally and economically counterproductive, it is astonishing that the government/big business alliance is pushing to expand rather than roll back ethanol mandates. With the exception of the well-heeled ethanol industry, all of America loses as a result of this unsavory political dealmaking. This is yet another example of the dangers of giving excessive power to big government.”

James M. Taylor
Senior Fellow for Environmental Policy
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“Consumer choice is the right approach to take when it comes to green initiatives. However, if fuel retailers thought E15 would be a profitable product to sell, they wouldn’t need an ordinance compelling them to sell it. Unfortunately, if passed, those new installation costs will have to be passed down somewhere.

“The City Council is correct E15 is cheaper than gasoline, but they forgot to check if E15 is as powerful of a fuel as gasoline, because it is not. This means cars that run on E15 will have to make more frequent stops to fill up their tank than cars running on pure gasoline, resulting in increased costs.

“A lot of evidence suggests ethanol-blended gasoline fails to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions, because producing ethanol wipes out huge swaths of land that would otherwise be removing CO2 from the air through photosynthesis. Even the National Academy of Sciences points out leaving open land alone does more to reduce CO2 than making relatively small displacements of oil use for ethanol.”

Taylor Smith
Policy Analyst
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 30-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.