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What Others Say

A diverse group of individuals and organizations from a variety of interests―and both ends of the political spectrum―have raised concerns about the RFS and government-imposed ethanol mandates. This includes research organizations, academic institutions and numerous business, taxpayer, hunger, agricultural, free-market, religious, environmental and public interest groups.

Here is a snapshot of conversation around the RFS and biofuels from the government, business, media, academic and NGO communities:

Government

  • “Such (higher ethanol) blends reduce a vehicle's fuel economy (i.e., fewer miles per gallon) and may cause older automobiles to experience higher emissions of pollutants and catalyst temperatures.”Government Accountability Office
  • “What I've said is my top priority is making sure people are able to get enough to eat. If it turns out we need to make changes in our ethanol policy to help people get something to eat, that has got to be the step we take.”President Barack Obama
  • “Americans need a fuel that will get more miles per gallon and extend the lives of their cars. But if the Environmental Protection Agency is successful, we soon will be fueling with a higher blend of ethanol. The increased ethanol blend will harm vehicle engines, lower fuel efficiency and void warranties. It also will destroy the engines in many boats, lawn mowers and tractors.” Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) 
  • "Now we know that biofuels, intended to promote energy independence and combat climate change, are frequently energy inefficient.  We need to look closely at the impact on food prices and the environment of different production methods and to ensure we are more selective in our support.” Former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown
     
  • "By requiring refiners to produce a product that consumers can’t use and don’t want, it is only logical that this constriction of the market will increase fuel prices, causing economic damage," Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.)
     
  • "It [is], a crime against humanity to divert arable land to the production of crops which are then burned for fuel." Jean ZieglerUnited Nations

Business

  • "Ethanol use does little to prevent global warming and environmental deterioration, and clear-headed policy reforms could be urgently carried out, if American politics would permit it." Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize-winning economist
  • “Increasing ethanol in gasoline could cause serious engine damage and as a result, auto manufacturers have stated that they will not warranty engines of their vehicles if gasoline containing more than 10 percent ethanol is used. This leaves consumers at risk of having to pay costly repair bills.”American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers
  • “Washington has propped up ethanol through subsidies, sweetheart tax deals, mandates and other schemes. The EPA shouldn't encourage this dash for cash even further by using its authority to expand E15’s usage.” – Pete Sepp, National Taxpayers Union
     
  • "Intelligence won out in [the ethanol subsidies] case. [It took] an IQ of 80' to realize it was a bad idea" Bill Gates, Microsoft
     
  • “The EPA is now on a very, very bad course to cause a major spike in gasoline prices based upon a program that was silly in the first place—the whole idea of turning food into fuel...The price of [RIN credits] has gone from a nickel per gallon to a dollar per gallon…but since this Frankenstein monster keeps getting larger, what will happen is these RINs keeping going up in price, either forcing the price of gasoline to skyrocket for consumers or forcing the refiners to send all of their product overseas, decreasing supply, also skyrocketing the price of gasoline.” Dan Dicker, MercBloc LLC

Media

  • “If we're serious about cutting wasteful spending and reining in government, the abolition of subsidies for ethanol production and the ending of mandates for its use would be a good place to start.” Investor’s Business Daily editorial
  • “Congress subsidized a product that didn't exist, mandated its purchase though it still didn't exist, is punishing oil companies for not buying the product that doesn't exist, and is now doubling down on the subsidies in the hope that someday it might exist. We'd call this the march of folly, but that's unfair to fools.”Wall Street Journal editorial
     
  • "You don’t have to be an economist to understand why the ethanol sector is driving food prices higher. This year, about 4.3 billion bushels of corn will be converted into motor fuel. That means that nearly 37 percent of this year’s corn crop will be diverted into ethanol production...But what makes the ethanol charade even more perverse is that the entire rationale for ethanol has evaporated. For decades, the bogeyman of foreign oil has provided a handy canard that the ethanol industry could use to justify its subsidies and mandates. No longer. Foreign energy is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the United States." Slate editorial 
     
  • "Where the effects of bad policy are clearest, however, is in the rise of demon ethanol and other biofuels. The subsidized conversion of crops into fuel was supposed to promote energy independence and help limit global warming. But this promise was, as Time magazine bluntly put it, a 'scam.'" New York Times editorial 
     
  • "Ethanol is one of the only products in history that Congress subsidizes and mandates at the same time." Wall Street Journal editorial
     
  • "The fix here is obvious. The EPA has the authority to revise the ethanol requirements, and if it did so tomorrow the price of gas would quickly fall by about five to 10 cents a gallon. If EPA won't act, Congress can and should suspend the ethanol blending mandate to give motorists a break." Wall Street Journal editorial

Academic

  • “The U.S. biofuels program is a huge blow to the world food supply.”Jeffrey Sachs, Director of The Earth Institute, Columbia University
  • “Policies to increase biofuels production and use retard the developing world’s progress against reducing poverty levels and would exacerbate their burden of death and disease.” Journal of American Physicians
     
  • "In short, expansive renewable fuel mandates are a bad bet for consumers, doing little for energy security while risking food security, harming the environment and raising costs throughout the economy." John DeCicco, Energy Institute and School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan

NGO

  • “Ethanol production has been subsidized for more than 30 years, and the cost to taxpayers is sharply growing. Over the next five years, biofuels businessmen could line their pockets with nearly $40 billion from U.S. taxpayers. The industry doesn’t need these tax credits. Federal regulations have handed the companies a guaranteed market due to consumption. If these businesses can’t make a profit on their own, maybe they shouldn’t be in business.” Erich Pica, Friends of the Earth
     
  • “The average Guatemalan is now hungrier because of biofuel development” -- Katja Winkler, a researcher at Idear, a Guatemalan nonprofit organization that studies rural issues
     
  • “Corn ethanol has not only been a disaster for consumers, the hungry and for most farmers, it has also been a disaster for the environment. We have lost more wetlands and grasslands in the last four years than we have in the last 40 years.” Scott Faber, Environmental Working Group
     
  • "Ethanol helps make smog worse, and it doesn’t significantly improve America’s energy security." Dan Becker, The Sierra Club
     
  • "Biofuels worsen global warming at every stage." Friends of the Earth

Agriculture

  • "[The Renewable Fuel Standard] has been devastating to us financially." Lucas DenizDeniz Dairy, Petaluma, California
     
  • "The cost of corn to feed cattle is a huge party of why dairy farms have closed." Michael MarshWestern United Dairymen
     
  • "If Congress does not find a way to fix this policy, it will continue to hurt small farms like mine.” – Jim Wood, Palmetto Creek Farms