Take Action

Home | Faculty & Research Overview | Research

Research Details

Should the Ethanol Blender's Credit Be Eliminated?


In December 2010, one U.S. legislative action was largely overlooked in the popular press: the one-year extension of the 45-cent-per-gallon Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), commonly known as the "blender's credit." Both proponents and opponents of the blender's credit liked to cite data to support their positions. Proponents pointed out the number of jobs created by new ethanol plants, while opponents cited unfavorable energy balances from the use of ethanol and the overall budgetary impact of the blender's credit. What was less clear—but potentially much more important than the selective data cited by advocates and critics of ethanol—was the overall impact of the blender's credit on the U.S. economy. In particular, to what extent did the ethanol subsidy—by influencing the allocation of resources to the ethanol market—act as a drag on efficiency in the U.S. economy? 

This case presents a history of ethanol in the U.S. and an overview of the market for ethanol-based motor fuel, including data on demand and supply fundamentals. It also discusses the broader U.S. energy market, as well as the U.S. market for corn. The case reviews other policy interventions besides the ethanol tax credit that have an impact on the market for ethanol-based motor fuel, such as tariffs and mandates. Finally, it surveys the ways other countries around the world, such as Brazil, have supported the use of ethanol-based fuel.




David Besanko, Melissa Ulan

Date Published



Besanko, David, and Melissa Ulan. Should the Ethanol Blender's Credit Be Eliminated?. Case 5-111-001 (KEL523).


Explore leading research and ideas

Find articles, podcast episodes, and videos that spark ideas in lifelong learners, and inspire those looking to advance in their careers.
learn more


Review Courses & Schedules

Access information about specific courses and their schedules by viewing the interactive course scheduler tool.


Discover the path to your goals

Whether you choose our Full-Time, Part-Time or Executive MBA program, you’ll enjoy the same unparalleled education, exceptional faculty and distinctive culture.
learn more

Take Action