- - Thursday, February 11, 2016


Ever since the Iowa caucuses, the oil industry’s spinmeisters have ramped up their misinformation campaign regarding ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) (“Renewable Fuel Standard deceit,” Web, Feb. 8). Even though their efforts have been redoubled, hired guns such as George David Banks continue to spout the same anti-ethanol rhetoric that those of us in the biofuels industry have heard time and time again.

Mr. Banks’ claim that ethanol use has caused American consumers to dig a little deeper into their pockets at the grocery store is belied by the fact that record corn production has resulted in a sharp drop in the price of corn. Corn prices are lower today than they were in 2007, when the amended RFS was passed. Moreover, a U.S. Department of Agriculture analysis concluded that only 17 cents of every dollar spent on food pays for the raw farm commodities and ingredients in the food. The other 83 cents pays for processing, transportation, labor, packaging and other costs. By adding a lower-cost fuel to available supply, ethanol means lower fuel costs for all consumers.

Despite Mr. Banks’ claim to the contrary, our nation still imports a tremendous amount of energy from foreign sources. In 2014, 47 percent of the crude oil processed in the United States was imported. Domestically produced biofuels such as ethanol help reduce the need for oil imports. The ethanol produced in 2014 displaced an amount of gasoline refined from 512 million barrels of crude oil. That’s slightly more than the amount of oil imported annually from Saudi Arabia.

Ethanol has been proven to be a potent weapon in reducing greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. Data by the Department of Energy indicate that ethanol produced today reduces GHG emissions by 34 percent when compared to fossil fuels. In 2014 the use of ethanol in gasoline reduced GHG emissions from the transportation sector by an astounding 39.6 million tons. That’s the equivalent of removing more than 8 million cars from the road for an entire year.

Oil-industry apologists like Mr. Banks continue to claim that Iowa voters didn’t care much about the Renewable Fuel Standard. Yet they fail to acknowledge that more than 85 percent of the votes cast in that state were in support of candidates who championed the RFS. How we as a nation decide on our energy policy doesn’t affect just one segment of the population, or one region of the country; it affects us all.


President and CEO

Renewable Fuels Association


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