Ethanol Weathers Tariff Repeal Attempt

John Davis

An attempt to end the 54-cent-a-gallon tariff on foreign ethanol has been turned away in the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Judd GreggThis story in the Des Moines Register says that Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire had made the argument that it was costing motorists on the East Coast:

“I would rather buy ethanol from Brazil than oil from Venezuela. It just makes a lot more geopolitical sense in how we protect ourselves,”Gregg said.

Sen. Charles GrassleyUsually, you see votes in the Senate split along party lines, but this one had more of a regional feel to it as Midwestern Senators sided with protecting their homegrown ethanol. Plus, the corn-rich, and thus ethanol-rich, Midwest would continue to enjoy the 51-cent-a-gallon federal ethanol incentives. The Senate ended up voting 56-36 to reject a procedural move that was needed to add the tariff repeal to a pending energy bill.

Defending the tariff, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Ia., said that ethanol supplies were adequate and that fuel additive is being imported in spite of the levy.

“There is imported ethanol shipped into New York and Baltimore harbor today,” he said.

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