COMMENT: US should reconsider fuel ethanol’s excise tax exemption

As the US Senate takes up comprehensive energy legislation, it has an opportunity to fix an increasingly wasteful tax incentive that has directly increased the prices and profits enjoyed by energy producers in times of tight supply. Given the recent focus on oil companies’ profitability, it may come as a surprise that I am speaking of the federal gasoline excise tax exemption that the fuel ethanol industry has enjoyed since 1979. In recent years, this incentive has undergone a dramatic transformation from supporting a nascent industry to needlessly adding billions of dollars to the federal deficit while conferring windfall profits on producers.Most debates about ethanol subsidies fo...

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