Chris Bliley schools columnist Ron Hart about the error of his ways regarding ethanol.

Ron Hart recently penned a column trashing the "greasy hands and half-baked policy ideas" of various policymakers. Mr. Hart is entitled to his views on politics, but his column also contained a laundry list of myths about ethanol, and readers deserve the truth.


First, the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) research proved once again that homegrown ethanol reduces carbon emissions by 39 percent or more. In addition, corn-based ethanol does not receive "subsidies." The last one expired nearly a decade ago, while subsidies for fossil fuels continue.


Ethanol’s better for drivers too. Thanks to competition at the pump under the Renewable Fuel Standard, ethanol saves the average household $142 per year, according to the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. Ethanol also provides a major octane boost for better performance, without the need for toxic additives linked to groundwater contamination, smog, and cancer. That’s why 98 percent of all fuel contains about 10 percent ethanol, while those seeking higher octane often select the even more affordable blends like E15. NASCAR uses a 15 percent blend in every car, at every race, and American drivers have logged more than 12 billion miles on the road with this engine smart, earth kind fuel.


And the idea that ethanol takes more energy to produce than it yields? Even most oil industry followers stopped making that claim years ago, after they were unable to refute the years of federal reports showing just the opposite.


The simple truth is that homegrown biofuels play a vital role in improving fuel choices for American motorists and protecting our climate.


Chris Bliley, senior vice president of regulatory affairs at Growth Energy, representing supporters and producers of ethanol.