In the midst of all the political chaos in Washington, normal business has to keep grinding on. One item on the President’s schedule today is a meeting to discuss ethanol mandates and the Renewable Fuel Standard. Thus far the White House has proven reluctant to act on the need to curb government mandated ethanol blending requirements for gasoline, despite the damage the program does to consumers and the broader U.S. energy industry. (Not to mention to equipment such as small engines and marine motors which are damaged by higher ethanol blend fuels.)
In anticipation of this meeting, several groups are pushing new awareness campaigns in an effort to get this critical message across. The American Energy Alliance features one of these stories this week. They’re not just looking to reduce the mandates, but eliminate the RFS entirely.
Today, the American Energy Alliance launched a multi-state digital ad initiative urging Washington to repeal the failed Renewable Fuel Standard as special interests seek more handouts within this broken and outdated big government policy.
“For more than a decade – as our nation’s energy outlook has positively transformed thanks to free market competition and private sector ingenuity, not government’s heavy hand – American consumers, family farmers, and refiners have suffered under this economically destructive policy,” said AEA president Thomas Pyle.
As the White House holds yet another meeting this week with lawmakers over so-called RFS “fixes,” AEA urges the Trump administration and Congress to swiftly and fully repeal this harmful mandate.
Here’s the ad that AEA has running in multiple markets. It drives home the message forcefully.
Another coalition, composed of 18 organizations including the Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, National Taxpayers Union, American Motorcyclist Association and North American Meat Institute, have similarly petitioned the EPA (read their letter to Scott Pruitt here) to do away with the RFS completely. As part of their pitch, they point out the hypocrisy of corn producing states, particularly Iowa, in demanding higher fuel blending standards when they use the least ethanol themselves. (Smarter Fuel Future, emphasis in original)
Iowa—the number one ethanol producer and corn grower in the United States—reaps arguably the greatest benefits from the Renewable Fuel Standard program, but on average, there is less ethanol in the motor fuels that Iowans buy [at their local retailers] than what consumers buy in the rest of the country as a whole.
In 2016, fuel ethanol accounted for just 9.2 percent of the volume of total gasoline and fuel ethanol sales in Iowa.
While urging for more aggressive biofuel mandate volumes and year-round sales of higher ethanol-blend fuels, Iowa isn’t carrying its own weight in terms of RFS consumption. If state level demand in Iowa is yielding lower sales than in the rest of the country—and data from the Iowa Department of Revenue assessing 90 percent of actual retail fuel sales suggests that it is—it would be wrong to increase the RFS burden in other states simply so that Iowa and the biofuel lobby can continue benefiting.
This is a politically tricky spot for President Trump no matter how you look at it. He made a promise on the campaign trail to support the RFS, largely to please the GOP in Iowa during the primary. But his conservative base has been calling for changes to this destructive policy for some time now and consumers feel the pinch at both the gas station and their mechanic’s shop. A reasoned explanation for shifting position on this policy wouldn’t do significant damage politically and could prove to be a great benefit to the nation as a whole. Here’s hoping that today’s meeting brings about some positive results.