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Out of Energy

The President's proposals for energy in the State of the Union address are wrong-headed. He proposes to put the boon in boondoggle by increasing the amount of renewable fuels in the nation's gasoline supply to 35 billion gallons (up from the current 7.5 billion) by 2017. This will require a vast amount of US crop land or clearing of forests (see this study for a comprehensive analysis), while the current mandate is having unforeseen negative consequences in Mexico even. Moreover, it means that more of us will have to buy E85 flex-fuel vehicles if the nation is going to meet the target. No, I don't know anyone who has bought one either. The CAFE requirements will involve another comprehensive redesign of the American fleet just like we saw in the 70s and 80s, but this time those who are concerned about safety are going to have less choice (when it comes to vehicle safety, size does matter). The call for more domestic production is certain to fall on deaf ears in Congress, so what we are left with is an energy plan that hurts the American consumer, hurts the economy and diverts billions of dollars in subsidies to a few rich industries that wouldn't actually survive without government interference. The nation is going to be weaker, less competitive and no more secure, unless people figure that a depressed American economy is going to be a less attractive target...