"Regardless of the numbers, biofuels mandates are coming under increasing scrutiny. Last year, the World Trade Organization called on governments to pare back their ethanol laws, saying that they had increased food volatility around the world. Some scientists have argued that corn-based ethanol can actually be worse for the environment than gasoline if they indirectly drive deforestation. (Biofuels that are made from non-foodstuffs, such as algae, are still not yet viable.)
And some members of Congress have criticized government support for ethanol as an undue form of corporate welfare. This year, for the first time in three decades, Congress allowed a tax credit for ethanol production to expire. The credit was worth $6 billion in 2011. At the time, the ethanol industry didn’t put up much of a fight to preserve the credit—after all, the renewable fuel standard would ensure a continued market for their products.
But now even that standard is starting to come under attack. Earlier this week in the House, Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Jim Costa (D-Calif.) introduced a bill, supported by the livestock industry, that would relax the ethanol mandate by up to 50 percent when supplies are low."