Group Fights Big Oil's Attacks On Ethanol, Biodiesel

Group Fights Big Oil's Attacks On Ethanol, Biodiesel

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association says petroleum industry's claim that Renewable Fuels Standard isn't working isn't true.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association is fighting back once again, having to defend ethanol and biodiesel. The American Petroleum Institute issued a call last week for Congress to fully repeal the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, saying the RFS isn't working. "That is another one in a long line of false claims by the petroleum industry," says Monte Shaw, executive director of the IRFA. "The RFS has been vital in expanding consumer access to renewable fuels nationwide."

DEFENDING BIOFUELS: Oil interests announced last week they are suing the federal government over the biodiesel mandate set by the federal Renewable Fuels Standard. Also, the petroleum industry has stepped up its attacks on the E15 ethanol blend, and has renewed its claim that the RFS isn't working. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association is fighting back, defending ethanol and biodiesel.

The American Petroleum Institute also announced last week that it is suing the Environmental Protection Agency for increasing the amount of biodiesel required for use in the nation's trucks next year to a level the API describes as "overzealous and unworkable."

The American Petroleum Institute claims the RFS is not working and should be repealed. "In reality, just the opposite is true," says Shaw. "The RFS is forcing open the door of the federal petroleum mandate to finally allow renewable fuels access to the market. The reason API is so concerned now is that the E15 ethanol blend is poised to become widely available. Without the RFS, Big Oil can continue to hide behind its century of subsidies and the federal petroleum mandate to ignore lower cost ethanol blends like E15." E15 is a gasoline blend containing 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline, compared to the traditional E10 blend of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline.

Petroleum industry prefers its monopoly, but that's the wrong choice for America's future

Shaw adds, "2013 will be a key year in deciding the future of fuel choice for Americans.  Do we continue forward with more fueling options for consumers and more competition in the marketplace? Or do we turn back the clock to when Big Oil uses federal tax and fuel policy to maintain its monopoly at the expense of consumer choice, American jobs, and energy security? Clearly the API prefers its monopoly, but that is the wrong choice for America's future."~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

The IRFA is also disappointed by the American Automotive Association's recent statements in opposition to the use of E15 ethanol. "As a soon-to-be ex-AAA member, I'm disappointed the AAA has agreed to be a tool for Big Oil," says Shaw. "And that is the main point. If you dig below the surface of any of these attacks on the RFS or E15 your shovel will come out covered in oil. The irony is that AAA is best known for reporting gas prices; prices that are, according to Iowa State University economists, a dollar lower due to E10."

It should be pointed out that both Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation have approved E15 for use in their new vehicles.

IRFA also responds to National Council of Chain Restaurants' RFS study

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association also reacted strongly to the National Council of Chain Restaurants, or NCCR, severely flawed study of the Renewable Fuel Standard that was released last week. The NCCR's study claims that the manufacturing of ethanol from corn and biodiesel from soybeans is driving up the cost of food and hurting the restaurant industry. IRFA's Monte Shaw responded to that accusation by saying, "It's eating out that is costing more, not renewable fuels."

Shaw adds, "Many others are already pointing out the numerous, debilitating flaws in the NCCR's so-called study. But the fact remains, if NCCR were truly concerned about the cost of food in America, they would have simple advice: eat at home. As a husband and father of two, I know firsthand the added cost of eating out compared to a good home-cooked meal. Now, my family enjoys eating out on occasion just like everyone else and we will continue to do so regardless of NCCR's silly statements. However, the facts are clear: both home-cooked and prepared food in America is relatively cheap by any standard. And part of what keeps our food cheap is holding down energy costs (such as the costs of food processing and transportation) through the increased use of ethanol and biodiesel."

IRFA urges Iowa delegation to reinstate the biodiesel tax incentive and level the energy playing field

Also last week, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association sent letters to all members of the Iowa Congressional delegation urging them to level the energy playing field and reinstate the biodiesel tax incentive. The letters point out that Big Oil continues to enjoy a century of subsidies, thus the oil industry is seeking to preserve the "federal petroleum mandate."~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

The letters stated: "The biodiesel industry's recent progress is to be applauded, particularly in such a weak economy, but it should not cloud the fact that biodiesel remains a young and vulnerable industry. As the petroleum industry fights to preserve the tax advantages it has enjoyed continuously for the past century, the biodiesel industry has seen its growth stall since the tax incentive expired on Dec. 31, 2011. As a result, U.S. biodiesel production will likely be down from last year and the growth in Iowa biodiesel production will likely be less than expected." 

The letters continued, "The projected decrease in U.S. biodiesel production in 2012 demonstrates that if the petroleum industry maintains its century-old tax advantages and the biodiesel tax incentive is not reinstated, then the RFS volumes will most likely be the ceiling for U.S. biodiesel production and use, not the floor. Now, as much as ever, the biodiesel industry needs stability and a level energy playing field to continue growing." The IRFA sent the letters to Iowa's U.S. Senators Tom Harkin and Charles Grassley, and to Iowa's U.S. Representatives Dave Loebsack, Leonard Boswell, Steve King and Tom Latham.

Iowa is the leader in renewable fuels production. Iowa has 13 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce 320 million gallons annually. In addition, Iowa has 41 ethanol refineries capable of producing nearly 3.7 billion gallons annually and one new facility under construction. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association was formed in 2002 to represent the state's liquid renewable fuels industry. The trade group fosters the development and growth of the renewable fuels industry in Iowa through education, promotion, legislation and infrastructure development. For more information, visit the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association website.

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