Friday RFS Roundup – 5/16

May 16, 2014

While we wait for the final 2014 ethanol mandate to be set by the EPA, their counterparts at the Energy Information Administration (EIA) released the 2014 Annual Energy Outlook. A funny thing – the government report projects that the demand for ethanol will continue to be significantly lower than what the government mandate requires. Curious.

In other news, despite ethanol proponent’s decade-long insistence that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) would eventually stimulate the production of advanced biofuels, the mandate continues to be met almost entirely by corn ethanol. As higher demand for corn drives up the cost of animal feed, the Consumer Price Index, released this week, confirmed prices of meat, poultry & eggs are up 6.4% over last year.

More from this week:

  • Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Food versus Fuel: Increased food costs are having a dramatic effect on consumers, particularly in New York City. While national food prices are rising because of the RFS, New York City has also witnessed massive food stamp cuts, which took away $30 – $50 in food assistance per family every month. The author writes that this combination is wreaking havoc across NYC and putting nearly one million families at risk.

    In Short: “This outdated policy puts food growth in direct competition with fuel production and it’s clear who the winner has been. With more than 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop now earmarked for ethanol production, food producers are struggling to secure adequate and affordable supplies of the commodity that accounts for up to 70 percent of the grains fed to animals. This is no easy feat as corn prices have spiked 275 percent since the RFS was implemented — a crippling consequence that has forced more than 60,000 pork, poultry and beef operations shut since 2007. Feed represents the largest single cost in raising chickens, turkeys, cows and hogs and when the price of raising livestock and poultry grows, shoppers pay more for poultry, meat and dairy at the grocery store. Not to mention that by 2012, 88 percent of corn (maize) and 94 percent of soy grown in the United States were genetically modified, according to the US Department of Agriculture, putting our families health further at risk.”

  • NH Journal, Increased Cost of Groceries Can be Blamed on Renewable Fuel Standard: Written by a mother of two, this first-hand account of the RFS’ effects on consumer prices shows the reality of this failed policy. As the U.S. economy is still in recovery mode, policies like the RFS are hindering economic growth and harming the middle class.

    In Short: “So much of our food that we eat comes from corn such as cereals, baked goods, salad dressings, snacks and much more. I also learned that farmers use corn as one of their main sources of food for their animals, including cows, pigs and chickens. The government is demanding that a huge portion of the U.S. corn crop go towards making renewable fuels, which raises animal feed and food prices.”

  • NBC Nightly News, Ethanol demand causes rising food prices: In this nightly special, NBC contributor Scott Cohn details the policy’s ripple effect from rising fuel prices to Americans’ dinner tables.

    In Short: “’It is very frustrating…There’s a triple down effect, and consumers get hit the hardest.’”