A group of corn state senators decided to take political hostages over the EPA’s recent proposal to make modest reductions to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) biodiesel mandate, and it appears those strong-arm tactics have been rewarded. Led by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the corn state senate contingent threatened to block President Trump’s EPA nominees if the agency didn’t abandon its minor RFS reforms. Today, the agency capitulated. The biodiesel mandate – which doesn’t impact corn ethanol in any way – will not be reformed and consumers will pay higher prices because of it.
The narrow reductions EPA proposed earlier this month would have been a positive step forward for two reasons:
The biodiesel mandate forces higher prices on consumers: Biodiesel fuel is considerably more expensive and less energy dense per gallon than standard diesel – about $1.30 more expensive per gallon. As the mandate volume goes up, so do total costs to consumers.
- The biodiesel mandate has made the U.S. more dependent on foreign fuel: Because the mandate is growing faster than domestic production, the United States has turned to imports to meet biodiesel standards. Last year, we imported more biodiesel than at any point in history, and today 30 percent of the RFS biodiesel mandate is satisfied with fuel from other countries.
We have seen in the past that corn state senators will do whatever it takes to protect their precious ethanol mandates, but we cannot allow this obstruction to continue at the expense of consumers and smart energy policy.
It’s time to take a stand. While the President and EPA caved to the corn state bullying, Congress still has ultimate control of the RFS. Contact your legislator today and tell them to fix what’s blatantly broken: promote energy independence and protect consumers by reducing the biodiesel mandate.