Let me disabuse you of a notion. Cheap gasoline isn’t going to “hurt” renewables. No renewable is really standing on its own. It is directly subsidized unlike drilling for oil or even refining…Depletion Allowance is not a “subsidy” for big oil. It is simple depreciation. Grandma pays taxes on her mineral rights and the only deduction she gets is the small amount off the taxable amount. Besides the federal and state taxes, she also pays severance tax, ad valorem taxes (in places like Colorado mineral rights are assessed at 12 x the rate a house in that state is taxed) and to top that, a conservation tax often is applied.
Expensive gasoline is a tax on everyone even if you don’t drive. And a carbon tax will only add to that misery. And again, it has no real impact upon either solar nor on the Bird-chopping eco-crucifixes dotting the high plains.
And I listen to the Ag radio blather about how ethanol is better for the environment. Sorry, but it takes just as much energy and emits just as much CO2 overall to plow, plant, grow, harvest, transport, and then process ethanol. Only by omitting the total cost of growing crops specifically for ethanol production can you argue that it’s any big win for the environment. Plowing ever more ground up is not an environmentally friendly use of food and feedstock.
“Biofuel production and processing practices can also release GHGs. Fertilizer application releases nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas. Most biorefineries operate using fossil fuels. Some research suggests that GHG emissions resulting from biofuel production and use, including those from indirect land use change, may be higher than those generated by fossil fuels, depending on the time horizon of the analysis” (Melillo et al. 2009, Mosnier et al. 2013).