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Trump Swerves Toward Ethanol to Appease Grouchy Farmers and Drivers

Having hammered rural America with his reckless trade and feckless infrastructure policies, Donald Trump is trying to win back farm votes by proposing to allow more ethanol in gasoline year-round:

U.S. President Donald Trump will seek to lift a federal ban on summer sales of higher-ethanol blends of gasoline on Tuesday, a senior White House official said, delivering on a move long-sought by anxious Midwest farmers ahead of November’s elections.

The move will be coupled with restrictions on biofuel credit trading sought by merchant refiners like Valero Energy Corp and PBF Energy Inc. Those rules would be aimed at retailers and oil majors accused by merchant refiners of driving up cost of complying with biofuels blending laws [Jarrett Renshaw and Humeyra Pamuk, “Trump to Lift Ban on Higher-Ethanol Gasoline Ahead of November Elections,” Reuters via KELO Radio, 2018.10.08].

Trump may also be hoping a little more corn whiskey in our cars will temper the gasoline prices that are bucking the usual fall trend and rising thanks to his reckless anti-Obama foreign policy:

Gas prices are going in the wrong direction for American consumers. The national average is climbing towards $3 a gallon at a time of year when it should be falling. With midterm elections around the corner, that is uncomfortable news for incumbents.

The reason is not hard to find. President Donald Trump decided to take almost 3 million barrels a day of crude oil off the market by reinstating sanctions on Iran, just as OPEC and its friends had succeeded in draining excess global inventories [Julian Lee, “Just in Time for Election Day: Gas at $3 a Gallon,” Bloomberg, 2018.10.07].

We can keep watching from the passenger seats, watching Trump randomly shift gears to pander to his arena mobs, or we can elect a Democratic Congress to take the driver’s seat and get America back to rational policy-making.


  1. Darin Larson 2018-10-09 08:43

    Don the Con has played farmers just like many of his constituencies. At the same time he’s trying to appease farmers with E15, his Big Oil buddies that he put in charge of the EPA have undermined the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by granting waivers for almost 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol that otherwise would have been required to be blended into our nation’s fuel supply.

    The effect of the EPA granting these waivers is that the price of ethanol has remained flat even as gasoline prices have risen significantly. Since ethanol prices have not followed gas higher, ethanol producer margins have remained flat so they have not bid up corn prices nor accelerated production of ethanol.

    The upshot of this entire con by the Trump administration is that we need E15 just to get back to where we were before Trump’s EPA undermined the RFS by granting twice as many waivers as the last year of the Obama Administration.

  2. jerry 2018-10-09 09:40

    News fits in nicely on keeping Russian oil high to sustain it’s economy on one hand, and helps farmers on the other. Soy can also be used for bio-diesel and with that, could trend the oil prices lower. Would trump really want that to happen? The Kremlin annex would probably not want that.

    “The inaction by OPEC and Russia at the end of September—and the growing evidence from tanker tracking data that Iran’s oil exports have started to fall quicker than most market participants had been expecting—has emboldened bulls, and some analysts started to predict that the possibility of $100 oil as soon as year’s end is not to be ruled out.

    Hedge funds and other money managers started to bet on rising prices again, and they did so in Brent in five consecutive weeks. Until last week, when longs on Brent dropped for the first time in six weeks. In the week to October 2, the net long position in Brent Crude dropped by 2.9 percent, after a 53-percent surge in the previous five weeks, according to Bloomberg estimates on ICE Futures Europe data. The number of longs declined by 1.5 percent, but more significant was the number of shorts soaring 24 percent in the week to October 2, the most since May.” Market Watch 10/09/2018
    Short sellers unite!

  3. jerry 2018-10-09 09:42

    Nikki Haley resigns from the UN.

  4. jerry 2018-10-09 09:56

    “Proposing” is the key word here. I propose that I lose 15 pounds by tomorrow, but that means about as much as the last BRIBE trump put up to shut farmers up and vote for his fascist policies. trump knows that if he cuts the legs out from under Putin with lower oil prices, he will get no protection from him. That is how protection rackets work.

  5. jerry 2018-10-09 12:20

    Grouchy farmers and soon grouchy damned near everyone…except the elite. They are happy at our misfortune.

    “”China will not cave in to US demands even if it faces further tariffs on its exports, China’s Commerce Minister Zhong Shan has said, signalling Beijing’s uncompromising stance in dealing with US.

    “There is a view in the US that so long as the US keeps increasing tariffs, China will back down. They don’t know the history and culture of China,” Zhong said, in a statement published by Bloomberg News.

    “This unyielding nation suffered foreign bullying for many times in history, but never succumbed to it even in the most difficult conditions. China doesn’t want a trade war, but would rise up to it should it break out.

    “The US should not underestimate China’s resolve and will.”” This will not end well for the world.

  6. o 2018-10-09 12:25

    Jerry, excellent point. The Chinese culture of sacrifice is pitted against the US culture of instant gratification to see who caves first?

  7. leslie 2018-10-09 13:28

    HAhaha-by 2030 fossil fuel and meat consumption are gone, if we wanna survive the heat and pollution. Carbon tax and actual pollution costs are the way. Jimmy Carter was right. We ALL must change as true patriots. Guess Reagan should not have pulled renewables off White House roof. Stupid GOP are dinosaurs. DUKE UNIV climate professor. Big picture Nuclear Doc! You have students to educate!!

  8. jerry 2018-10-09 16:04

    If the “proposed” ruling goes into play, the processing will not start until “driving season of 2019” at the earliest. Believe trump at your peril.

  9. Robert McTaggart 2018-10-09 16:19

    I’m working on it ;^).

    If we are truly interested in solving climate change, why wait for large energy storage to come to fruition? Let’s do efficiency, load-following nuclear, and renewables right now.

  10. mike from iowa 2018-10-09 17:02

    You have approximately 12 years and counting…………. better get a move on mnnn mn mn, we will yell with all of our might.

    Adeptly stolen from the Dave Clark 5 Catch Us If You Can.

  11. jerry 2018-10-09 17:33

    Doc, I guess you missed the trump memo regarding climate change…he ain’t interested. We are gonna be history in 11 years so in the brilliance of trump and his accomplices, we should just burn more coal and gas. 7 degrees, better than 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, party on.

  12. OldSarg 2018-10-09 19:21

    jerry, don’t you think is is a little bit weird you defend the communist country of China but you call me a Russian? I try to understand where you are coming from but I think you are really just “unknowing”. It’s almost like you never took an economics or finance class in your life and have learned everything on the streets. Not that that is bad but I am sure it is reflected in your standard of living. Do you get energy assistance?

  13. Robert McTaggart 2018-10-09 19:43


    Trump should be for American companies that sell products that ameliorate climate change to the rest of the world in order to reduce our trade deficit. Those American workers will spend that income in the USA.

  14. jerry 2018-10-09 21:28

    Doc, correct on that. trump only knows the world of the bribe and that is how he has always gotten by. The 12 Billion BRIBE to soybean producers was as flat as a burrito and this new BRIBE will be much the same. We have no coherent energy plan and what we have for a Farm Bill is equally as ridiculous. The smartest people in the room are those that are abandoning the dumb trump ship.

  15. jerry 2018-10-09 21:40

    No Russian, you are a real Russian, on the paytroll. I read the news from China as I read the news from Germany, the UK, and just about everything else I can check out. I read news like this from Arab sources:

    “Karachi, Pakistan – Pakistan’s navy is no longer part of the counterpiracy Combined Task Force (CTF) that operates in the western Indian Ocean, officials told Al Jazeera.

    The decision to leave the task force was taken after the US-led operation refused to pay for fuel for the patrolling warships as part of a previous agreement, two highly-placed military officials told Al Jazeera on the condition of anonymity.” Al Jazera 10/09/2018 So then, we will go it alone…build a few more ships on the taxpayer dollar. Somehow that economics class you blabber about, bypassed this trump regime to think that fuel is more expensive than building more warships. Party on, it’s only money.

    Yes, I get energy assistance from life itself and sometimes a little shot of espresso to warm the soul. Try it sometime and lay off that cheap Russian vodka that has your mind soggy.

  16. leslie 2018-10-10 05:52

    Your recent appearance here OS is consistent with the Russian social media security leak NPR outlined yesterday in the new book “LIKE WAR” by Singer about Russian paid trolls and bots that swarmed the 2016 election stealing it from HRC, just like McConnell stole the seat of Judge Merrick Garland that same year. The Senate majority leader has been crying “unfairness” in the rushed Advice/Consent hearing granted to GOP Federalust Society groomed and picked, brand new (never tried a case Ken Starr hit Man sexual harasser) SCOTUS Justice Bart O’Kavanaugh in fear of a 2018 Blue Wave. Tell us you are not a Russian paid troll or bot wasting our time with the charade as a West Rapid vet.

    McConnell knew it was happening and treasonously OBSTRUCTED Obama’s efforts to adequately alert the 50 state SOSs in time. His own state was flooded with these malicious false social media attacks. He, like Noem, doesn’t care and instead supports Trump’s highly objectional, racist and ineffectual administration to achieve billionaire servicing of GOP’s last gasp, drowning, flailing daily distractions which do disservice to the large majority of Americans who need affordable healthcare, living wages, higher ed, housing, safe environment and vastly improved neglected infrastructure–not $12 B farm bailouts or ethanol bailout ploys. Trump spends public $ with criminal abandon.

  17. leslie 2018-10-10 06:13

    Doc, thx for your positive attitude toward the Democratic Party pivot from fossil fuels. Billionaires be damned. Our STEM students will build our future. Take capitalism out of nuclear power regulation and power infrastructure technology, and safe nuclear will likely share a role and save us from the immediate catastrophic Global Warming scenario short sighted billionaire owned GOP has dissuaded the world from taking action since the 50s-70s when then-STEM educated scientists sounded initial alerts of greenhouse warming.

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