The American government continues to provide unnecessary, unwise subsidies to special interests. Those related to the production of ethanol for fuel are among the worst.
The historical mission of the US department of agriculture (USDA) has been to promote American agriculture. Presumably, that is the justification, however tenuous, for a grant and loan guarantee programme to promote the installation of "ethanol blender", or "flexible fuel", pumps at petrol stations. The Obama administration intends to install 10,000 flexible fuel pumps nationwide within five years. "Flex-fuel pumps will give Americans a choice to purchase domestically produced renewable transportation fuels," secretary of agriculture Tom Vilsack said on 11 April.