It's open and shut, but that isn't stopping the Obama Administration and its EPA from continuing the anti-science approach to energy conservation:
...subsidizing blending ethanol into gasoline is fiscally indefensible. If the current subsidy is extended for five years, the Federal Treasury would pay oil companies at least $31 billion to use 69 billion gallons of corn ethanol that the Federal Renewable Fuels Standard already requires them to use. We cannot afford to pay industry for following the law. Even Al Gore has admitted he was wrong to support ethanol subsidies.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration seems bent on carving out a special niche for ethanol, with the Environmental Protection Agency moving forward with an initiative to increase the amount of ethanol blended in fuels from 10% to 15%. Coming from Illinois, a major corn-producing state, Obama's position is not surprising and is consistent with his position as a senator when he was one of five signers of a letter to President George W. Bush urging him not to repeal the tariff on foreign ethanol.
While ethanol subsidies and tariffs are supposed to lead to energy independence and reduce gas prices, numerous studies have demonstrated that the program does little for gas prices while raising corn prices and potentially harming the environment. In fact, ethanol is a story of rent-seeking that transcends party lines, providing $6 billion in benefits to an industry that has been created by the government.
To his credit, Hugh Hewitt is calling out Republicans for their support of ethanol. The linked interview is also notable for Fred Barnes' impeccable performance as a hack GOP apologist... and even he can't bring himself to stand up for ethanol!