CBO Report Fails to Look at the Larger Picture

Joanna Schroeder

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released a new report, “Using Biofuels Tax Credits to Achieve Energy and Environmental Policy Goals,” that according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), takes the issue of ethanol tax incentives out of context. The report provides no comparison to other technologies or types of biofuels against the destruction that goes hand in hand with fossil fuel production, cites RFA. The association plans to post a detailed analysis on its blog.

RFA President Bob Dinneen expanded on the issues his organization has taken with the report. “It may seem penny-wise, but would be pound-foolish to dismiss the benefits of current biofuels in light of the havoc wrought by our dependence on fossil fuels,”

“Analyzing American energy policy cannot occur in a vacuum. To effectively address the energy, environmental and economic problems caused by our addiction to oil, we need to take a holistic approach,” continued Dinneen. All comprehensive analyses demonstrate that ethanol provides a real world, cost effective tool to reduce dependence on oil and create domestic jobs. Additionally, as CBO rightly notes, ethanol also reduces carbon emissions compared to gasoline.”

Also missing from the CBO report, says RFA, is the discussion about the continual evolution of ethanol production. Biotechnology Letters recently published a study that demonstrated that ethanol production has reduced water use by 20 percent and overall energy use by 28 percent in less than 12 years. During this same time period, ethanol plants have increased yields and produce valuable co-products.

However, what RFA felt was done correctly in the report was the exclusion by CBO of international indirect land use change (ILUC) and its estimates of CO2 reduction costs. This theory has been highly debated for several years and is under fire due to the scientific inability to prove it’s assertions.

“There is no renewable technology available today that can match ethanol’s ability to reduce oil use and create jobs, all while emitting fewer climate changing gases than gasoline,” said Dinneen. “New biofuel technologies, like cellulosic ethanol, promise to provide even greater benefits. Unfortunately, it appears CBO has chosen to take a narrow, time constrained look at the issue and has failed to
consider the much larger picture.”


Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA