Ethanol requirements for U.S. gasoline appear to be losing friends and influencing the wrong people, with calls growing to reform or scrap the government mandates altogether.
The Environmental Protection Agency in November proposed reducing the amount of renewable fuels, including corn-based ethanol, that oil refiners must blend with gasoline. The rule is a centerpiece of government efforts to curb carbon emissions, while jump-starting alternative forms of energy.
The draft rule would impact the 2014 requirement for renewables to fall between 15 billion and 15.52 billion gallons from 18.15 billion gallons. But the proposal to reduce ethanol requirements for 2014 has done little to quell the groundswell of complaints about the practical effects of using corn-based fuel in America's gasoline supply.
Earlier this month, California Democrat Dianne Feinstein joined forces with Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn to introduce a Senate bill to strip ethanol completely from the Renewable Fuel Standard, also known as RFS. Although Feinstein continues to champion renewable fuel, she has expressed concerns that excess corn-based fuel production—mainly due to the RFS requirements—is "really not wise," and that the standards may hurt the Golden State's livestock producers.
(Read more: Proposed ethanol reduction could hurt farmers)