Business & Policy Environmental Policy American Government Wants to Put More Food in Your Gas Tank By Lloyd Alter Design Editor University of Toronto Lloyd Alter is Design Editor for Treehugger and teaches Sustainable Design at Ryerson University in Toronto. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Lloyd Alter Updated June 20, 2019 Share Twitter Pinterest Email Business & Policy Corporate Responsibility Environmental Policy Economics Food Issues Oh, the farmer and the oilman should be friends. But they are fighting over ethanol. It's hard being President of the United States. As Ronald Reagan used to say, you dance with the one that brung ya, but it's tough when it comes to ethanol. TreeHugger noted last year, before the midterm elections, that he was going to be "unleashing the power of E15 to fuel our country all year long," cancelling the ban on the use of ethanol in summer months. This made farmers in red midwestern states very happy, but made the coastal elite cadre of environmentalists sad; ethanol evaporates more quickly in warm weather, causing greater smog formation and surface ozone, which inflames lungs and impairs immune systems. But hey, that's mainly in cities, which are full of Democrats. Oh, the farmers and the oilman should be friends. Forty percent of corn now goes into gas tanks instead of stomachs, but the farmers want more. The problem is that ethanol is more expensive than gasoline these days, and the small refiners are hurting due to high costs. So the government issues waivers to small refiners producing less than 75,000 barrels a day and facing "disproportionate economic hardship" so that they do not have to blend in ethanol. The number of waivers has increased five-fold under this President because, of course, the oilmen are also big supporters with bigger bucks than farmers.According to Timothy Puko and Alex Leary of the Wall Street Journal, this makes farmers sad. They complained to the President:"The EPA’s oil-refinery waivers threaten to undo your good works,” said Kevin Ross, a farmer who serves on the Corn Board of the National Corn Growers Association. “I ask that you listen again because the pain that the ethanol and biodiesel industries have endured is holding back a farm economy that has further capacity."Republican Senators agree.Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa) added that the EPA in recent years “has had a harmful habit of passing out these waivers left and right, to refineries big and small. That’s got to stop.” She has spoken recently with Mr. Trump directly about the issue.Farmers are under pressure these days, thanks to the President's trade war with China, and look to biofuels as another way to get rid of their soybeans and corn. Get rid of all these socialist tariff walls and subsidies! ©. Andy Singer © Andy Singer It is all enough to make a true Republican believer who hates socialism and love free markets wonder what's happening in America. How did we get to a point where the Federal Government is subsidizing farmers to grow corn and soybeans that they can't sell because of tariffs, and then legislating that oil companies buy the expensive ethanol made from that corn? This increases costs to people who buy gasoline and pollute the air, even though the President says in his campaign launch that “our air and water are the cleanest they’ve ever been by far.” It's socialism and government interference in the free market gone wild.